Sunday, February 18, 2007


How do you negociate when people walk away from you as soon as you say your price?

It happen not once, not twice but all the time. I came to the point that I start doubting about my own breath, wondering if I had some fuelling pimp on my face that make people scared of watching me in the eyes, or maybe that I have 2 heads, one small and the other almost normal.

But I had the confirmation at the custom office that I have no problem at all. They film you during the entire stamp process and certainly put it on if you behave badly in their country. Maybe it's the way I talk, my accent, but even there I still thing that I communicate more easily with non-english people than with native english mother tongue (Have you ever seen an English Tongue?)

I tried to apply the new skills that I learn during my negociation classes at school, working on the the relationship, building the bridge to be able to cross the main substance on it. But NO, they walk away.
They just walk away.

Taxi driver with his kid waiting at the Taxi stop bench.

Here is the breaf dialogue that usually happen when I am in Thailand talking price:
Me: " That's pretty good, what is it?"
Them: "How much do offer me for it?"
Me : "Wait a minute, I don't know if I want to buy it. What is it called?"
Them: "10,000 Bath" (US$200)
Me: "This is expensive!"
Them: "Ok then 9,900 Bath" (US$199)
Me: "This is still expensive! What about 90 Bath"
Them: "-?!"

This is the exact time that they walk away from me, no talk, no look, just their back going away.
I am left with my hands in the air and my mouth wide open. Sort of giant poulp.

View from the Hotel Swimming Pool
overlooking the bay.

Ok I admit that I started way too low, but that the game afterall.

I start very low so that we can talk for a long time, just to exchange some ideas along the way, like what is it like to live in this island, or what color is the most important in the city, vital stuff. I was thinking that negociating any price is part of the cultural experience that one might have in any foreign land (home country maybe as well). But how can you negociate when no one is in front of you .... very frutrating for me. They tactic is working very well. The price is fixed and no one can change it.

Pankace motorbike street vendor.
My fav banana-coconut-pancake.

I became paranoid to the point that I was avoiding talking price at all cost !
I still don't understand how you could do walk in a price negociation, you could be unhappy, yield at someone, laught but walk away ... this is very rude for me. So I start doing the same thing to see if I would trigger the same thing in people mind. As soos as they start talking money, I walk away.

Phuket, white sand, tanned tourist and blue sea

I felt very bad, walking away from people without smiling and turning my back to them. I could not do it for long. I use then another tactic, I gave up. I just pay what ever they were asking me to pay. It turns out to be quite an expensive trip, but I felt better. In retrospect, I think that the problem was not me going to bargain reclusoin land but because tourism kills the local habits of negociating. Too much tourist kills locals.

I had finally my Paid Taid on the beach
for my last lunch overlooking the beautiful sea

Speaking of tourist, I went down on Saturday night to "Funland" Patong Beach where you can see what Thailand is also famous for. I am not talking here about its cuisine or its white sand beach. Watching tourist bar full of testosterone ready to explose over any Thai Girl or Thai Ladyboy made me wander how damaging that would be for future generation. What to do?

What I want to keep in mind is rather my Red Lobster, Green Oysters and Black Chili Crab on the terrasse restaurant in Patong Beach rather than the Ladyboy Lobster, Professional Oysters and Green German Crab at the bar later on at night.

Recommendation in case of
Tsunami emergency.
BTW, there is no high ground around.

Phuket was devasted 2 years ago by the Tsunami. Maybe not as badly as Indonesia, but the 4 waves that came at 8 AM are still in people minds and people talk. Some saying it could have been worse because it was a Sunday and school were closed, it was early in the morning and people were still sleeping. Could have been worse if it was happening during the afternoon or at night when tourist are all alert, brave and drunk to fight the Thai-land.