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Evil Penevil

Resolving Everday Disputes in LOS

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Through the years, I've witnessed a number of everyday disputes between farang and Thais in Pattaya. Most of them ended badly for the farang because he or she chose the wrong approach in handling the situation. I try to give some tips that may help inexperienced visitors to Thailand find the right way.

I know some members don't like reading long posts, so I'll begin with the summary:

Any time you are faced with a potential conflict, don't get angry, keep calm instead. Smile or at least have a neutral facial expression. Never make threatening gestures or start to yell. If you're not getting anywhere in resolving the situation with words, apologize and pay some small money if you must. Rack up minor losses to experience.  I know it is irritating to pay for something for which you feel you're being unfairly charged,  but a few hundred baht for a lady drink you don't recall ordering is still a better option than a trip to the Soi 9 cop shop, the hospital or the morgue.

I'm not sure a tough stance and angry words are an effective way of resolving a dispute anywhere in the world, but it's the worst approach in Thailand. Adapt your strategy to your circumstances and you sure as hell aren't in Kansas anymore, ToTo.

This isn't new or original advice. A lot of it has been passed on to tourists since the days of the Vietnam War. It seems, though, that a lot of visitors nowadays haven't heard, or at least taken stock, of this advice.  By everyday disputes, I mean complaints and conflicts which arise in bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, on the baht bus, etc. over price or service. They involve casual encounters between Thais and tourists. I'm excluding disputes between business partners or couples in a committed relationship as well as arguments among foreigners in Thailand. Those aren't everyday disputes.

Here's a perfect example of what not to do, taken from a thread on another board. Four farang passengers get very angry because the buzzer didn't work on a baht bus and it went 60 or 70 meters more than they wanted before stopping.

Quote

One of them is talking tough and screaming:  #$*&@ Don't Pay Him!  #@$%.  Two guys pay him but the other two start walking north without giving up their precious 10 baht, cursing into the wind and throwing out their chests.

Presumably, the outraged baht-bus riders acted that way because they thought they were right. You know, the whole, "It's not the money; it's the principle," spiel. That's absurd. Matters of principle center on freedom of expression, conscience or thought. Testifying for the prosecution at the trial of Mexican drug lord who's holding your only child hostage is a matter of principle; refusing to give a songthaew driver 10 baht, isn't.

Far too often the justification for treating Thais with contempt is murkier and stems from ethnic discrimination or even raw racism. Quite simply, some tourists are convinced that not only are Thais their inferior but are also out to cheat non-Thais whenever they can. They believe they are standing up to Thais by acting in a rude or abusive manner.

Nothing could be further from the truth, but there aren't any words which will dissuade visitors or long-term farang residents with that mindset.  "Never try to teach a pig to sing" Robert Heinlein once wrote. "It wastes your time, and it annoys the pig."  However, visitors who don't have such a swinish attitude but lack experience in Pattaya can find the standard advice on conflict resolution in Thailand to be very useful.

The main points to keep in mind if you feel you're being charged too much or getting poor service:

1) Don't lose your temper. Whatever happens, don't start shouting or make aggressive gestures. It's not a matter of giving in to your Thai opponent; it's just a matter of using the most effective tactics to resolve the situation in the best possible way.

2) Be aware that many disputes are the result of poor communication caused by language and cultural differences rather than a deliberate attempt to cheat you. Keep your cool, even when your frustration mounts. Yelling won't help anything. Just keep saying, "I'm sorry, I don't understand,"  and try to explain your side of the matter in simple language.

3) Don't sweat the small stuff. Ten or 20 twenty baht isn't worth wasting time and energy over, much less raising your blood pressure.

4) Don't cause a Thai to lose face in any situation. It's futile to demand a solution that will result in a Thai opponent losing face. The best approach will be one that involves no loss of face for either party. Don't insist on an apology as this always involves a loss of face for a Thai. A Thai will apologize if he or she truly feels sorry.  However, demanding an apology as a public act of contrition is a Western concept and it doesn't work in Asia.

5) Whenever possible, avoid arguments with Thai men. The risk of escalation due to a loss of face is too high. If you notice a Thai man is getting agitated, start thinking of an immediate exit strategy. Drop whatever demands you had and walk away ASAP. Farang virtually never win physical confrontations because Thai men can almost always count on help from other Thais.
A U.S. Army vet who had served in Thailand in the late 1960s told me the following 45 years ago: Never fight a Thai male because "if one can't take you, two will; if two can't take you, five will; if five can't take you, they'll get guns and shoot you."

6) If you run into a dispute in a bar in Pattaya, ask immediately to speak with the farang manager if there is one. Thai service staff seldom have the authority to resolve a dispute to the customer's satisfaction. Should no manager be on site, either forget the whole thing or come back to the bar when the manager is there. However, never try to leave a bar without settling the bill or reaching agreement on how the bill will be settled.

7) As much as is humanly possible, avoid involving the Thai police in an everyday dispute. If you are the victim of a serious crime, that's a different thing. But it can become far more trouble than you expected if you try to summon the BiB for a dispute over a few hundred baht.


Evil

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As soon as possible you should post the details on social media, internet forum etc. Your side of the story only of course.

The comments should be 50/50 stand your ground vs fuk'n arsehole.

If the breakup of the comments is other than 50/50 then the action with the least support is the correct one.

 

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43 minutes ago, Thai Spice said:

This is valid in any 3rd world country. Nothing specific to Pattaya / Thailand.

Yes, that's true.  It would say it's a pretty good approach to solving conflicts anywhere in the world, although there is a higher tolerance for gestures, angry facial expressions, loud voices, etc.  in some countries than others.  However, I don't think "the angry act" is particularly effective anywhere when it comes to trivial disputes.

The above advice may not be specific to Thailand. but this board is about Thailand and a person who has never visited LOS may not have heard it.  From what I've observed,  many farang in Pattaya haven't.

Evil

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2 hours ago, Thai Spice said:

This is valid in any 3rd world country. Nothing specific to Pattaya / Thailand.

 

With my English accent it was valid in Scotland if I wanted to avoid a Glasgow kiss. 🤣

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Seems like the American in the following picture and article could have helped by this thread.  More details emerge in case of American Tourist chased by angry mob after restaurant dispute in Phuket

1575448919_1-org.jpg

Of course it would be good to have his side of the story, but if the article is substantially correct, then he is a right fool. From the article:

"Officially, Phuket Police have declined to comment on the story stating that both primary parties involved were fined 500 baht for assault and were arrested after the incident. They stated the matter is closed.

Witnesses however reported to Khaosod News and other media that the situation was at a seafood restaurant where Mr. Connelly wanted a custom order that was not a regular menu item. The Burmese waiter, who was the other primary party involved, told the American tourist the item wasn’t available.

A language barrier and frustration set in and according to witnesses the American tourist became rude and abrasive. Multiple parties said the American attacked the waiter first after refusal to get a manager and take his order and after he was asked to leave.

At this point, the American who was significantly larger than the Burmese man began to overpower the smaller waiter and other staff joined in as they were afraid the American would seriously hurt the waiter. It took a dozen people to control the American before he fled on foot in the footage seen above.

It was not mentioned what he was trying to order."

Evil

Edited by Evil Penevil

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21 minutes ago, Evil Penevil said:

situation was at a seafood restaurant where Mr. Connelly wanted a custom order that was not a regular menu item. The Burmese waiter, who was the other primary party involved, told the American tourist the item wasn’t available.

Never try and change a set menu. It can only end in frustration or worse.

 

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20 minutes ago, misteregg said:

Maybe he wanted to swap his black pudding for extra bacon.

It doesn't haven't to be that complex. I once observed a couple of compatriots who couldn't understand (ya can pick the newbies) why they couldn't have boiled potato (the mash which came with the lamb chops)  inplace of the fried potato (chips) which came with the steak they fancied.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, fygjam said:

Never try and change a set menu. It can only end in frustration or worse.

Good advice!   In both Thailand and China, I've witnessed attempts to  "customize" a menu item end badly or even disasterously. The one exception might be if you're a well-known regular customer and you speak the local language fluently.

32 minutes ago, misteregg said:

Maybe he wanted to swap his black pudding for extra bacon.

😄 I did once witness a farang guy almost get into a  fight with wait staff over substituting French fries for rice.  He thought it would be free, but the restaurant charged him 40 baht.  It was really painful to watch that confrontation.  The farang was yelling his head  off in a crowded restaurant over a 40-baht misunderstanding.

Evil

Edited by Evil Penevil

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On 11/14/2019 at 4:38 PM, Jambo said:

With my English accent it was valid in Scotland if I wanted to avoid a Glasgow kiss. 🤣

Yea you do talk sometimes like you have a mouthful of shit ! :default_biggrin:

 

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On 11/14/2019 at 2:54 PM, Evil Penevil said:

The above advice may not be specific to Thailand. but this board is about Thailand and a person who has never visited LOS may not have heard it.  From what I've observed,  many farang in Pattaya haven't.

I think the problem is Evil that most expats who have been around in Thailand for a good while understand the necessary approach to a dispute its TOURISTS that bring their own countries approach and of course it does'nt work here TIT.

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9 hours ago, Pumpuynarak said:

I think the problem is Evil that most expats who have been around in Thailand for a good while understand the necessary approach to a dispute its TOURISTS that bring their own countries approach and of course it does'nt work here TIT.

Tourists have no concept of how fast things can get out of control in Thailand.  One second it's a shouting match,  the next it's a physical confrontation. They don't have a sense of cooling the situation down because they don't realize it has gotten "hot."

Evil

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14 hours ago, Evil Penevil said:

Tourists have no concept of how fast things can get out of control in Thailand.  One second it's a shouting match,  the next it's a physical confrontation. They don't have a sense of cooling the situation down because they don't realize it has gotten "hot."

Evil

Well it says "tourist" on my visa everytime I visit and I certainly do so......... 🤔🤔🤔

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1 hour ago, roomark said:

Well it says "tourist" on my visa everytime I visit and I certainly do so......... 🤔🤔🤔

But does it say "Experienced Tourist" ? lol

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5 hours ago, Pumpuynarak said:

But does it say "Experienced Tourist" ? lol

Fleeced tourist 🤣🤣🤣

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