Tales From a Barfly
Readers of last week’s blog may recall the drunken girl from the next bar along, who along with many other transgressions, had kicked one of my customer’s cars and had to be hauled off to the poky to dry out.
The owner of the bar subsequently advised me that she had transferred the girl to her second bar, but unfortunately that proved short –lived and she was soon back next door, plying her trade in her own inimitable, screaming manner.
That was no concern of mine, and as long as she didn’t interfere with my customers and my property again then she could do as she liked. I took the owner’s word that any more ‘incidents’ would result in her dismissal.
It was only after the event, at around 2 a.m. last Wednesday that I learned from Noo that on the previous Monday afternoon, (during my absence), the girl had once more been causing trouble. Apparently she had ordered whisky from Mobi’s – don’t ask me why she didn’t order from her own bar – and Noo agreed to sell it to her!
This took place despite my explicit instructions on NOT sell her any more drinks, and also not to even talk to her.
I don’t know how many drinks she bought, but there was little doubt she was getting drunk on Mobi’s whisky when, a while later, she asked Lek for a glass of wine. This time Lek refused, telling her that she would have to ask me – Mobi – if she wanted to buy any wine. A short argument ensued but she eventually left to return to her bar and her customers.
Then she came back again, asking to buy a Carlsberg beer for one of her customers as her own bar didn’t have any in stock. This would have been fine, except for the fact that the girl then demanded a ‘commission’ for buying the beer from us!
Lek refused point blank and another argument ensued. The bar owner eventually came over and intervened and a potential altercation was nipped in the bud.
This all took place on Monday, but I didn’t hear about it until 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, whereupon I exploded in anger. Noo had gone against all my instructions and I was fuming. In the end I calmed down and realised that a strong slice of Thai culture was at play here.
Noo had felt unable to refuse the request from this girl as she was older than her and she had to respect her as her ‘better’. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how things often work in feudal Thailand, where western concepts of business/personal relationships simply do not always apply.
I felt bad about getting so angry and we made it up in the morning and I talked everything through, as best as I could, but at the same time I was obliged to accept there was an insoluble clash of cultures on this issue.
But whereas Noo found it difficult to say ‘no’ to a request from her so-called elder, a 68 year old Englishman certainly can say whatever he wishes. It was ironic that on the Wednesday afternoon, before I was told about the Monday afternoon incident, that the brawling girl had approached me and apologised for her previous bad behaviour!
I told her that her apology was accepted whereupon she asked me if I was still angry with her. I told her ‘no’, whereupon she let out a drunken scream that was so loud that I almost fell over in shock.
Then last night, it all started again.
She had been screaming and drinking for several hours when out of the blue, she walked into Mobi’s, interrupted me in the middle of a conversation with one of my best customers and asked for permission to ‘bar fine’ one of my girls!
The employee in question used to worked at the bar next door as their cashier, (before she was removed by the new owner), and was an old friend of the trouble-maker. I refused point blank, telling her that only male customers of my bar can ‘bar fine’ the girls. She refused to take ‘no’ for an answer and refused to move, continuing to insist that I let her take the girl out.
I kept my cool and repeated to her that she couldn’t take the girl out. Eventually, I called Noo, and the drunken girl went away to talk to her.
Five minutes later, the drunken girl was escorted back to her bar by the girl she had wanted to bar fine. I feared the worst but fortunately, my girl came back to Mobis’s a few minutes later – alone.
Suddenly there was an almighty shriek as drunken bar girl ran out into the road and ran past my bar chasing two farangs who happened to be walking by. That was the last I saw of her – thank God!
But somehow, I don’t think we have seen the conclusion of this business.
It can only end badly.