First off, let me say that the amount I just got ripped off for is – to me – pocket change. I am not writing this out of anger about the money but to warn others.
There’s a gal who works Tilac named TT (not her real name). She doesn’t dance or even really work there but she hangs out and “helps.” I’ve known her for about 8 months. She’s always good for conversation and claims to have been married to an American for 8 years and a Brit for 1 and says she’s lived in both counties so her English is dead-on.
I always buy her a drink when I stop in and if we chat much that could turn into two, three, or more drinks depending on the conversation. Just to be clear, I have zero sexual attraction towards her. It’s just refreshing to be able to sit on Soi Cowboy and not speak in broken English and to hear a point of view about the world from someone who doesn’t think the world ends at the Thai border.
Last night was similar. We chatted outside and I made sure her Sang Som and cola never ran dry.
Near closing time an Brit starts inserting himself in our conversation from time to time and eventually sits with us and joins in. It’s obvious she knows him but she knows most of the regulars so it doesn’t seem anything unusual.
When she suggested the three of us hit Soi 22 and try to find a bar that was still open (cops shut down Cowboy at 1am) it seemed like a fellow booze-hound talking than any sort of romantic invite so I agreed.
When I mentioned I was going to Soi 22 with TT to one of the waitresses who I’ve known for 5 or 6 years she looked at me very strangely and asked “are you sure?” It struck me as odd at the time but I didn’t know what I was supposed to be sure about so I dismissed it thinking she might be acting a little jealous because I hadn’t kept her glass as full as I would normally.
With the recent police crackdown most of the bars were closed but we found a place still serving and ordered a round. TT said she wanted to show me something cool and said she needed a 1000 baht note. I gave it to her knowing she was going to do some lame origami and figured my worst-case scenario was getting back a badly crumpled 1000 baht note.
I know some might say I was stupid to do this but I’ve known this girl for quite awhile and I not only know where she works but where she lives.
The police were being especially vigilant and the owner asked everyone to go outside. So everyone cleared the bar and we sat outside but could keep ordering as much as we wanted.
TT had turned my 1000 baht note into a ring and was showing it off to everyone. After an appropriate time had passed I tried to politely ask for it back but she jokingly refused. When the joke became old I became stronger in my request for the note back and she finally agreed and slipped an origami ring on my finger.
The only problem was that when I looked at the ring it was made from a 100 baht note and not the 1000 baht I gave her.
Around this time she suggested we head back up to Soi Cowboy because there was an after-hours party going on. The Brit declined and said he was heading home. He left alone.
About 20 minutes later TT asked me if I wanted to go but I told her that first she had to give me my 1000 baht back. She joked around some more and then said she had to go to the toilet.
I waited there for about 10 min before checking out the toilets and discovering that not only was there not anybody in there but that it had another entrance/exit one row of bars over.
I figured she pissed off to the after-hours party and stormed up Soi 22 trying to decide whether to write it off as a loss and confront her the next time at the Tilac or to crash the party and demand my 1000 baht back. Fortunately I only had to walk two blocks before I saw her sitting in a bar with the Brit.
I walked up to her and demanded my 1000 baht. She claimed she didn’t have it and she had given it to some Thai girl with curly hair who said she had slept with me before. Seeing as how I had never even met any of the girls at the last bar I wasn’t buying it and called her a liar in front of the people she was with.
One lady came to her defense and said she’s known TT and her husband (pointing at the Brit) for years and she’s an honest person. Now the fact that this random guy who I’ve been chatting with a good portion of the night and has been pretending to be just some random Tilac bar customer turns out to be her husband should raise some suspicions.
Her defender told me that she owns a bar and that if I came in tomorrow night she would buy me a drink. I said, “She stole 1000 baht and you will give me a 100 baht drink? Thank you for the offer but I want my 1000 baht back and I’ll buy 10 drinks.”
TT said she could prove her story to me so we marched up Soi 22. She kept trying to grab my arm and my hand but I pulled away and told her “Don’t even try it.” Of course that sparked a typical bar girl response that if I was going to be like that that she wouldn’t come. I told her to shut the fuck up and led her back to the bar.
When we got back to the bar they had braved up and had gone back inside not fearing any further police visits. Two of the girls from the bar were leaving and she told her story to them in Thai.
Neither girl could remember a curly haired Thai other than one specific girl who worked there and they offered to take us to her since she was still in the bar. Suddenly her story changed from Thai to a farang girl with curly hair. I was content keeping silent and listening to her dig herself a hole because I could understand enough Thai and read the body language to mean that even they weren’t buying her story.
They kept asking her questions trying to clarify things that didn’t make sense and her responses became more and more agitated. When she finished I asked one simple question, “If this curly haired girl approached you in the toilet then why didn’t you come out and tell me?”
She said she did come out but I was already gone. Both Thai girls scrunched their noses in confusion/disbelief because they knew I had waited there for 10 or 15 min and they never saw her return from the bathroom.
When she had ditched me I stood right near the exit of the bathroom waiting and several of the bar staff kept asking me why I was standing alone. They told me to come over and join the group but I declined. It was starting to make sense to them why I stayed where I did. And it was even more obvious she had never come out that bathroom exit as there was no way she could have exited without running into me.
When she saw that the Thais weren’t buying it she said that she was afraid and she left the other way because she was concerned the curly haired girl might do something to her.
Only problem was that both Thais said that the only farang lady was with 3 guys and they all left together and nobody could remember the falang going to the toilet. That’s because she didn’t. The falang lady and her 3 friends left a good 15 or 20 minutes before she had pulled the “I have to go to the bathroom” trick.
And you have to keep in mind that this little lass has been working the bar scene off and on since she was 19. She’s now in her mid 30’s and has a mouth on her like a sailor. If a two meter tall lady built like a body builder demanded a 1000 baht from her in the bathroom people in Chiang Mai would hear her screaming bloody murder. She’s small but she’s scrappy and says whatever she wants to whoever she wants so the whole idea that she timidly handed over 1000 baht and ran out the back exit trying to avoid a confrontation is such a ludicrous proposal that anybody who has known her for more than 10 minutes wouldn’t even be able to imagine such a thing.
Thais never turn on Thais when a farang is involved but you could tell that they weren’t buying her story. They both saw her showing off the 1000 baht ring, they saw me standing outside the toilet, and they knew the farang gal never went near the toilet. Not one single aspect of her story made any sense if you were there.
I turned to TT and asked “Are you done telling your lie? So, I ask you for my 1000 baht back five different times and you don’t give it to me. But you go into the bathroom and give it to some woman who says I’ve slept with her? Why didn’t she ask me? How did she know where you got the money from? How did she know your husband didn’t give you the 1000 baht? Look at you right now fighting with me but you gave her 1000 baht and ran away to a different bar without saying anything? I don’t believe it. They don’t believe it.”
I turned to the two Thai staff and said, “I’ve been very calm. You know the things I’ve said are true. First it was a Thai lady with curly hair and then it was a farang lady. Then she comes out of toilet this way and now she go the other way. She changes her own story because she is a liar. She is not my girlfriend. If someone asks you for 1000 baht in toilet because your friend go with her before do you give it? Do you run away and hide in another bar after you pay? If she is telling the truth why worry? But if she stole . . . then she has a reason to hide. If she is telling the truth then she should say she is sorry for giving away my money. But she’s not sorry. She only gets angry because nobody believes her bullshit story.”
I walked to the nearest taxi, looked at TT and said, “I hope you enjoy the 1000 baht you stupid cunt.”
She stood there on the sidewalk screaming “Fuck you you mother fucker”
Before I could get around to post this, a friend rang me and asked if I wanted to meet up and watch him shoot pool in his pool league. We met up at Larry’s Dive on Soi 22 and grabbed some tacos and beers.
Out of the corner of my eye I see someone who looked like the Brit from last night walk past. My friend asks if I want to chase him down and I tell him “Nah, I’m not mad. I just think it’s pathetic. I’ve known this girl long enough that if she just asked me for the 1000 baht I would have given it to her with no expectation of ever being repaid. But to steal it and lie . . . it almost makes me feel bad to know that such sad, pathetic fucks like that are out there.”
After a few beers we head to the venue for pool. Guess who is there and playing on the opposing team? Yep, the Brit from last night.
After the match we do a little bar hopping and I was telling last night’s tale to a friend when the bar owner said, “Oh, was that XXXXX?” I’m like WTF?!? How did he know that that was the guy’s name? (I only remembered his name from when they put his name on the whiteboard at the pool tournament)
The owner explained that all the bar owners know about this guy. According to him, XXXX is a deadbeat with no job and he pimps out his girlfriend to get by. According to the bar owner he’s also well known for being a scam artist.
He also told us that what XXXX is mainly known for is running up a big bar tab and then trying to get people to bet whether or not he can set his dick on fire for 10 seconds. Yes, I just said that he sets his dick on fire!!!! He offers the bar a backend on the bets and hopes to get enough action to cover his tab.
After that news I happened to walk by the bar we were at last night and one of the ladies who had attempted to arbitrate our dispute was standing outside. I went over and apologized for getting her involved but before I could get out a full apology she stopped me and said, “No problem. We know that girl is a liar. Everybody saw you asking for the money and she wouldn’t give it. Everybody saw her go into the bathroom and not come back. There is no girl in the bathroom. We know. You are okay. Mai ben rai.”
I wanted to give TT the benefit of the doubt before hearing all this confirmatory information. Of course, I didn’t give her the benefit of the doubt but I wanted to because I couldn’t fathom why she would commit such a petty crime. I mean, I bought her at least 5 drinks that night at Tilac so that’s 500 baht. And I paid for the first round at the afterhours place which was another 200 and change if you exclude my own drink. In just one night that’s 700 baht I willingly gave to her and her bf/hubby. Why screw up that kind of easy money for a measly 1000 baht? And I’ve freely bought her similar numbers of drinks countless other nights as well.
I mean, if she was going to rip me off for a large amount of money then the risk-reward ratio makes sense. But for 1000 baht? Just how desperate do you have to be to dig so low?
And it seems so much more pathetic when you think about the planning that went into it. The Brit pretending to be just another customer. She made two origami rings for doing the switch on me. Him pretending to go home so when she disappeared out the back that he would be long gone and I wouldn’t put 2+2 together. Planning their meet-up a few blocks away.
This isn’t a crime of opportunity. It’s not like I left my wallet sitting on the bar and she helped herself to a little cash or she shorted me on the change when I paid my bill. This was a full-blown con. For a measly 1000 baht!!
I meant what I told my friend; I would have happily just given her the money had she asked. The whole scamming thing was so unnecessary.
In all the time I’ve lived in or been coming to Thailand I’ve managed to avoid most scams. Sure, an extra drink added here or there or being overcharged but nothing egregious. Nothing stolen from my room. No picked pockets. No gem scams. No sick water buffalo payments. No impromptu police fines. Nothing.
So I’ll write this off as a lesson learned and move on.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Names have been removed or altered as this is just one person’s side of the story.