Tales from a Barfly
Regular readers may recall the tale in my blog of 8th June, (‘Stop Press – Lottery win destroys the business of two bars in one night!’) ,in which I described the incident with the drunken, brawling bar girl next door, and how she kicked one of my customer’s cars and was subsequently arrested and spent the night in jail.
You can find the whole story at the link below:
Here is a small excerpt of what I wrote at the time:
“It transpired that the girl had picked a fight with the wrong farang. He had a name-card wallet full of the phone numbers of senior police in Bangkok .
The local police had just wanted the girl to pay for the damage to the car, but the angry German wanted her to spend the night in jail.
The police weren’t keen to do this until Mr ‘BMW’ called one of his Bangkok police friends who then spoke to the local cops on his mobile phone. They all suddenly jumped to attention in mid phone call….
So the cops then told brawling girl she was under arrest and would be taken to spend a night in the poky.”
About two weeks after that incident, the gentleman in question returned to our bar and thanked me for paying for his drinks and then presented me with a beautifully illustrated book, entitled: “The confidant of kings.”
The book was jam-packed full of intimate photographs of the King of Thailand and his Brother, the Late King Rama VIII, together with their Swiss Tutor, during their formative years when they grew up in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The front cover had a photograph of the Swiss Tutor, Mr Cleon Seraidaris, with his arms around the former and current king when they were boys, living in Lausanne.
The gentleman at the bar informed me, that Cleon Seraidaris was none other than his own grandfather….
He told me that his father, (Cleon’s son), had written the book which had recently been published – at the King’s request.
I think you can imagine the kind influence such a person may have in Thailand and explains why he had a wallet full of Bangkok police generals’ name cards.
Indeed, he had a badge on his car that entitled him t drive anywhere in Thailand at whatever time of the day or night – regardless of curfews or other restrictions for us lesser mortals. He also showed me some fascinating ‘palace photos’ on his mobile phone.
So the drunken, brawling bar girl had no idea whose car she had chosen to kick on that ill-fated night.
For those interested, here is link to a Bangkok Post article announcing the book’s recent publication:
One of my never ending dilemmas is to tread the fine dividing line between letting ‘drunken a-holes’ spend their money in my bar and banning them in order to let my remaining customers enjoy a quiet drink, free from the ramblings of alcoholic ‘dick-heads’, who have long since lost the art of having anything half-way intelligent to say.
I have already banned “Singha John” – not only because of his violent temper tantrums, but also because he is a hopeless alcoholic who never has anything meaningful to say.
In the manner of so many alcoholics, he has reached the stage in his alcoholic degeneration when all he has to offer his fellow sots is a couple of utterly boring stories that he repeats over and over again ad infinitum– week in week out – to anyone who is close enough and unfortunate enough to be within hearing range.
He never once considers the fact that he may just have told this self -same story many times before and often to the same audience – often only an hour previously – such is his state of mental decline….
And he is by no means the only one.
The result of this is that many choose not to drink in a bar where the likes of Singha John are not only boring everyone to death but may also become the target of one his drunken rages if they unwittingly happen to say something that offends him.
There’s another guy – I will call him Will – who used to come to my bar on most days. The day I opened, Will gave me a long story about how he runs up credit tabs around the lake, and pays at the end of the month when his pension money arrives.
Somewhat foolishly, I agreed to let him have a 2,000 Baht (40 pounds) monthly credit limit and immediately regretted having agreed to it, even though Noo’s aunt assured me that he always pays his bills.
It wasn’t that I was worried I might lose the money – I’m prepared to take a 40 quid risk – it was simply that whenever Will came in for a drink, he would invariably butt into a conversation that was already in progress.
This didn’t go down well with my other customers and on more than one occasion, several of them immediately paid their bills and left. They just didn’t want to drink with a rude, drunken, unshaven slob who broke into their discussions without so much as a ‘by your leave’.
Then one evening he was very drunk and as he made his way out of Mobi’s, he became involved in a fight with a girl in the adjacent bar. He had a bottle in his hand and it was fortunate that a customer from the adjacent bar broke up the fight and ‘bear-hugged’ Will off my premises before anyone got hurt.
The next time I saw Will I told him that if he started another fight in my bar it would be the last time he could drink there. We almost came to blows when he insisted that he didn’t start the fight and that he had taken the bottle from the girt who wanted to do him some damage. I told him I didn’t care who started it – the fracas occurred in my bar, and that’s the last time I will let it happen.
He was still on his final warning, when, near to the end of the month he had exhausted his line of credit. He came into the bar one evening while I was chatting with some customers and he leant across the bar to order a drink. I politely told him that he couldn’t order a drink as he had reached his agreed credit limit.
He turned to me and said: ‘Thanks for embarrassing me in front of your customers,’ and walked out.
He has never been back since, except – surprisingly – to pay his bill. He thinks I am upset that I have lost his business but nothing could be further from the truth. I am only too happy to see him bothering the folks in the bar next door, and occasionally having shouting matches with the girls there.
If he ever tries to come into Mobi’s again – which I doubt – I will tell him he is not welcome. I reckon he will lose me a lot more business than he generates.
Finally there are the ‘high-rollers’. Of course I am happy when a big spender comes in and starts ‘ringing the bell’ and spends loadsa money.
What bar owner wouldn’t be happy?
But even with such people, there is a limit.
For starters, I will not tolerate unwelcome and inappropriate mauling of the female staff. Just because these ‘guests’ are spending lots of money, it doesn’t give them the right to treat women like animals and I will not stand for it and they can take their custom elsewhere.
I will also not tolerate abusive and offensive behaviour, to the point where the perpetrator is upsetting other customers in the bar.
Last month, I went to the bar late one afternoon and a punter was there, having some fun with a couple of the girls. He was drunk and a bit wild, but the girls didn’t seem bothered so I left them to it. About 10 minutes later he started shouting that he was not going to pay his bill!
The bill was around 300 baht, I sat there considering my next move. I had no idea why the a-hole was refusing to pay his bill except that he was clearly pissed.
I thought this was going to be my very first physical altercation as there was no way I would allow a punter to leave without paying his bill. I turned to Noo behind the bar and she told me that the guy had already spent over 4,000 baht and had settled his bill two times already.
That put a slightly different complexion on things. 4000 baht is not an inconsiderable amount of money so I took a pragmatic view and left the two ladies to it to sort out the unpaid bill as best they could. I had already made a decent amount of money out of him and I wasn’t about to argue too much over 6 quid.
He finally left without paying so we kept the bill for his next visit.
Sure enough, a week later, he turned up again and the girls presented him with his unpaid bill. He started to make a big fuss so I intervened and explained what had happened on his previous visit.
He apologised and claimed he had no memory of the unpaid bill and must have been very drunk. I told him that he indeed he was – very drunk. He complained that the girls had ‘unfairly’ confronted him as soon as he had arrived, and after a brief discussion I agreed to waive the bill.
I assumed he had come for another long drinking session and my sense of greed outweighed my common sense. He bought a few drinks but didn’t stay long. I was left wondering whether I had done the right thing by letting him off paying the old bill.
Since then, he has been back again, twice I think, and has spent a fair bit of money – but not nearly as much as he spent on that first session.
Frankly, he is a bit of an A-H and I have now been told that he has a bad reputation around the lake and some bars have banned him.
So was I right or wrong to waive that bill?
I am still learning… after all, it is only my second month in the bar business. I think it will take a while to know exactly what stance to take in such circumstances, and each case will be a little different.
My vision is to build up a bar clientèle of reasonably well–behaved guests from all walks of life, who enjoy having pleasant chats with like-minded people and listen to some pleasant music. If that means having to ban all the a-holes and hopeless alcoholics who live around the Lake – then so be it.
There’s plenty of other bars around to cater for their ‘low life’ behaviour.