The daily struggles…

It’s not an easy life this bar thing but sometimes there a few shining moments when u least expect them. Fixing the water with McGyver may be memorable but not exactly fun – I still owe u all that post, but amid the craziness of Bangkok, the normal biz operations and the fabric of characters that make up the day to day – things continue to remain interesting. Last night happened to give birth to another scene worth mentioning.

When we first opened the Mango we needed girls and frankly we did not have a clue in the world as to how to get them. We were told just to put up signs saying u needed girls. Well – every bar puts up signs and every bar always needs girls. We resorted to plenty of guerrilla tactics, some I won’t mention here but just use your imagination. When we did open we only had a few girls but that seemed to match our other target demographic – customers and we had only a few of them also.

So imagine my surprise one day when in walks a gorgeous little Thai girl with an ample bosom, spunky attitude and a healthy command of the English language. My Thai was non-existent at this point but it did not matter. I said can I help u? She said she wanted a job. I said u are hired. Wow – that was quick she laughed. Cool. Then she asked what is it I needed her to do. Of course I was too busy looking at her breasts to think much about the job anyway but that happens to us a lot which was the whole point of choosing the new career path to being with.

So I gave her a tour of the bar, talked about the gig and the compensation. We concluded the tour on the top floor of the Mango which also is our storeroom, girl’s locker room, and mission control. She then proceeded to ask if there was a uniform. I said yes – we have some tank-tops with our logo. Let me get them for u. So I grabbed 2 and went back to hand them to her. She was already out of her own shirt and had taken off her bra. I was just standing there thanking God for providing me with the opportunity to employ such a forward thinking employee. I stood for a sec, took in the view and then realized I still had not handed her the tank-top. Once I had handed it to her, which I was quickly regretting, she pulled it over her breasts – it was tight(we designed it that way) and it looked great. This should tell u a little something about the genesis for the name – Big Mango. She asked how she looked and of course I said fine. Perfect came to mind.

Well I quickly went to the second floor to visit the bathroom so I could splash some cold water on my face. As u can imagine I was thinking carnal thoughts about my new employee and my inner demons were waging a battle that I was looking set to lose. After the bathroom break I went downstairs to call my business partner to say today was our lucky day. The silly signs we posted around Nana actually netted a prize. I explained what went down, including the little casting couch episode, and we laughed together. I thought to myself that although I used to make a bigger paycheck life was never this much fun working my old gig in Hong Kong.

During that phone call though we decided we needed to solidify an idea that had come to us earlier. We knew that owners touching their own employees would be a bad way to run a business. It may sound good on paper but it is bad. I once went to a bar in Angeles City where the wretched looking, washed out owner come over to our table to explain that he has slept with all his staff to ensure that they were good in bed. Thanks for telling me – I mean warning me. As u can imagine I quickly paid my bill and carried on at the next bar. Point is we knew fraternizing with our own staff would be a recipe for disaster but given that it was going to be easier said then done we decided there needed to be an extra deterrent so to speak. So that day we agreed that if one of us ever got involved with an employee than that person would have to pay the other guy 10,000 USD. It is always about money folks. There was further clarification to all of this. U can see a girl prior to her start date even if she was already hired. Great rule that has come in handy a few times – just think of the various recruiting scenarios. Also girls are fair game after they choose to no longer be employed by us. Everyone clear?

So that brings me to the next part of the story since this was all just a little background info for u. One of the great things about going into the pub business in Thailand regards the draught beer deals that u can sign with the various beer companies. When u sign up to sell beer in Thailand the equipment, marketing material, beer glasses and pretties come with the deal. This is unlike most parts of the world where the bar will have to invest money for equipment, marketing materials and pretties are almost non-existent. Pretties are the girls that show up at your bar wearing a particular outfit and sell their company’s beer. For a bar they are like an extra service girl that u get for free. To be very clear – the bar does not employ her. Hopefully u can see already why this point is very important.

So last night one of our main beer companies provided us with our regular pretty girl for Saturday night. However this was a new girl to our bar although she had been working for said beer company for a few months. Let me just say, I don’t have a pic yet, that she is a stunner. No reason to describe her per say but her body coupled with the short dress, her tall boots and her magnetic personality forced all of our customers and male staff to grant her some attention. I mention the magnetic personality because this girl has a degree in Psychology, is working on a minor in English and is also preparing to take her Master’s entrance exams. Selling beer is her part time job. Welcome to Thailand folks.

A couple buddies had come into the pub and of coursed ordered their beer from her knowing that it meant they could get a little face time with her. She was quite the salesgirl and would promptly ask people for a beer almost before they were finished with their current beer. No one seemed to mind though. I am not sure who came up with the idea but somehow a deal was struck that for each beer my friends ordered they would get one digit of her phone number. I think she figured with only 2 guys drinking that she probably would not be forced to give up the entire sequence. However about 30 minutes into the quest more of my friends came to the pub with explicit instructions of which beer to order so that we could get all the digits. With about 8 of us ordering now it was all but certain that she was going to be giving up her entire phone number. Brand allegiance seems to fall quickly to the wayside when a girl’s phone number is up for grabs.

Once my friend had acquired all the digits, she stuck to her bargain, he tested the number and verified that it was legit. The whole thing was cracking us up because a normal afternoon in Bkk turned into a drinking quest in order to acquire the digits of a girl’s phone. In all honesty I could have rang her boss and demanded the number but how much fun would that be? As I mentioned earlier, the pretty girls supplied by the beer companies are not employees of ours, therefore according to our rule book they are technically fair game but once again it is probably not good business. For our friends though a little “pretty” hunting is fair game.

To top it all off our manager, a Thai female, realized once she was closing the books for the day that although we sold as many pints of beer as we usually do – a certain brand sold about 4 times what it normally does. This came at the cost of one of our other beers who did not send any pretties. Pretty simple marketing really. So she decided that as part of our own marketing strategies that we should buy cheap SIM cards for our pretty girls so they can play the “phone number” game each time they work since she sold more beer that day than she normally does. We may be onto something here. But at the end of the day u can see that running bars in Thailand is just a little bit different than running them in other parts of the world. Sucks to be us… 🙂

4 thoughts on “The daily struggles…”

  1. keep-up the good work guys,
    There is not one day that goes buy I don’t read the Big Mango Blogs. And although I happen to live on one of the most beautiful places on this green planet, there is nothing I would not do to be in your shoes this very moment. I think you know me. I came very close to getting stilleto by the LB my last night at the 6/7 bar on 10/17/06. Right Nick? Hope to see you in the near future. ED

  2. Great story, & love the verification of the 10’000 USD. I had heard you had this in place, but in writing now. The loopholes are as good as the British Law loopholes.
    Whats the story on the Asia After Dark shooting?

  3. As a part time Barrister and pervayor of the truth, I must advise you that under subsection 2 paragraph 16, legally entitled “What you can and cannot Rut!” of the 10000 USD contract, Pretty Girls aka promotional girls may not be touched. The thinking behind this is that as the PG’s employer is payed by you for this service ultimately she is an employee of yours.
    Plus she’s extremely fit and way out of your league so F@ck off!

  4. Edwin, yes I do remember very vividly in fact. Definitely my good deed for the day. They would have gone after you real good and were fuming as the owner and I calmed them down. Luckily you ran like the wind. Good job Forrest and thanks for the kind words about the Blog.

    A, Asia After Dark is a pilot being shot in Thailand by Centaur Studio. You can get the full lowdown at It seems like a pretty fun show where the hosts (one of them being Angela May who is quite the looker and is the one in the Pic of the Day) explore Thailand and do some wacky stuff. Nothing racy as the name suggests but they don’t leave out the racy stuff as their visit to Nana Plaza indicates. They shot a few pieces around Nana plaza that night. Hopefully it will be bought and aired one day.

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