i AM the bargaining queen of bangkok ;)

One of the things that worried me about coming to Asia was having to learn to bargain. But alas, I quickly picked it up, and actually enjoyed it. It’s all a big game. Pretend to walk off, and you get a tap on the shoulder and a “Ok, Ok” and they make sure you’re aware that they won’t be making any money on this sale, although highly unlikely. And you’ve just clinched you’re deal. You walk away satisfied with your new set of chopsticks, with napkins included.

So fair enough, bargaining for souvenirs and fake Gucci handbags. But bargaining for a gym membership?!?!?!

Our membership at the Olympic Club run out today… and quite frankly we never went often enough, it was just an effort to wake up and make the trek. So, we’d been eyeing up the California Fitness at the end of our road for a few months. We know we’d go far more often, only having to walk 5 minutes to get to it.

Today we went to check it out. I’d already been warned by a colleague that we’d have to bargain. He pays 1,100 baht per month for his Gold Membership. Good ammunition. But BLOODY HELL it was a battle I tell you. A battle of wits.

A really nice girl showed us around and then her first offer given to us was a membership fee of 7000 baht plus 2,500 per month. Then it reduced to no membership fee, then girl number two came in and it went down to 1,499 per month. I still went on about my friend only paying 1,100 per month. So bitchy girl number 3 from hell waltzes in, fangs out and all and tells us that it’s the lowest they can go.

I ask if we can have some time to think… like an hour. The answer is an incredulous NO! It’s now or never. I HATE THESE KIND OF SALES TACTICS and almost walk out. After more aggressive talk, they give us a few moments alone. I get up to call the Olympic to find out their current offer (not bad, 24,000 baht for the two of us), during my absence, number 3 bitch troll from hell approaches ‘him’ and asks him what he thinks of the club and presents a new offer of 1,166 per month. And we accept.

Hard work, a lot of hard work that was. I need a nap after that.

11 Comments so far

  1. chris (unregistered) on March 6th, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

    I walked out of there 3 weeks ago because the things you have said. If the fee can go down that much, I guess it’s worth fighting for… but too bad I’m such a wimp at bargaining :(

    If only I knew I’d ask to tag along today :P

  2. him (unregistered) on March 6th, 2005 @ 5:30 pm

    go in, tell them you are our friend and tell them our “real” names – that seems to carry some weight, especially if you know we have just joined.

    In fact, if you tell them you are all of that, and that you want to leave the Olympic Gym then the’ll maybe even smile! (be sure to be ready to say you have lost your olympic member card though… they photocopied mine…)

  3. Baba (unregistered) on March 6th, 2005 @ 6:46 pm

    I don’t blame you for walking out. They have a crap sales technique… basically bullying you into joining. Although we got a decent joining rate, I will still forever look at them begrudgingly for the manner in which the whole thing had to be undertaken. And the thing is with you they lost a customer by being so aggressive. That to me isn’t sales and they’re giving themselves a bad image.

  4. chris (unregistered) on March 7th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    My friend told me to just bite my tongue and endure the process, as it is that much more convenient than my other choices. I’ll probaly (try to) do it some day when my mood is so so..

    A good way would be wasted talking to them, and on a bad day I wouldn’t last 2 minutes.

  5. Ben Harris (unregistered) on March 7th, 2005 @ 3:47 pm

    I once walked into the Silom branch and asked them how much it was to join and stuff. They kept insisting that they had to take me on a tour of the facilities, even though I kept telling them that I didn’t want a tour.

    It’s like, if you don’t follow their way their heads would explode because they can’t handle any variance. I remember at once stage I was saying “So you are refusing to tell me how much it costs?” and eventually got fed up and started to walk out before the “Ok, ok, ok” happened and they gave me a ridiculously high price to which I just laughed, said that price is a rip off and kept walking.

    Of the many stupid things about those places is, overcrowding, idiotic membership options that limit what time of the day you can go there (but aren’t cheaper), rude and aggressive staff, too much noise, etc.

    Just so you know, a friend of mine got platinum membership, which enables him to visit any branch he would like to, for 20,000 Baht (which is reasonably a little more than you guys paid).

    When I actually have money, I’ll be joining Olympic Fitness just to avoid the hassle of dealing with terrible sales staff – and it’s closer to my home.

  6. Lisaya Mani (unregistered) on March 12th, 2005 @ 11:27 pm

    Wow, that does sound like a lot of work. Dealing with Troll Lady sounds awful.

  7. Frank (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2005 @ 11:28 pm

    eheh, am I good at bargaining? I got platinum 1 year contract for 16800 (1400 a month) !

    Crazy the one who take a membership which doesn’t allow him to exercise at any club, knowing that they will open a lot more clubs, and that you don’t know where you’ll be living/working in the future.

    I hate California, but for sure, it’s the best (and I’d really like to fuck one of their sexy sale to revenge for the fight I had when bargaining ;-) ).

    At what time do you go to the club? Sukhumvit?

  8. Ben Harris (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2005 @ 10:45 am

    If you’re that desperate for sex, Soi Cowboy is right around the corner from the most recent branch they opened on Sukhumvit. I don’t understand why you think having sex with someone would be considered revenge…

    As for wanting to know when someone goes to a particular branch, let me just ring the alarm bells for the stalker alert :)

  9. him (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2005 @ 10:56 am

    I think frank is yoda… “crazy the one who take a membership” – can’t you just hear it? “much you have to learn, hmm, yesss, crazy the one who take a membership, hmm, yess… ways of the force understand you do not yes….

    Failing that, another great example of why western males get stereotyped over here.

    And please, no more stalkers.

  10. funny (unregistered) on October 11th, 2005 @ 10:50 pm

    Funny, you’ve never heard of a “revenge fuck?” Wow, what side of the planet are you from?

    I went there too during the beginning of the year, and just like everyone else… just asked the price and was given some bullshit about having to see the club before they give the price.

    The problem is it that they have some western guy in there as the manager, and he pushes that aggressive sales tatic approach. The shit might fly with Thai’s as they are not used to it, but for an American we’re all too used to it and tell them to pull the plug when we’ve heard enough.

    I think the manager used to manage a couple of GOGO bars down the street… he has the same mentality and absolutely the worst professionalism I have ever seen.

    I would recommend Fitness First over California anyday.

  11. Arthur (unregistered) on February 17th, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

    I used to go to the California Wow near Asoke. That place should be called California Jac Wow (Thai for masturbation). I every single time I went into the steam room I interrupted a hand-job or blow job session. One time I was in the steam room (which for some reason is always dark) and this guy is just walking around and I think “what is this fag up to?” I don’t make any eye contact with him and sure as shit he comes over to me, drops his towel and starts to wag his cock in my face.
    Another shitty thing about this place is that they kept screwing up my billing. They wouldn’t get the money out of my account until the middle of the month, therefore refusing me access to the gym but then would charge me the full months dues. This place sucks! I am kicking myself for leaving Fitness First. Oh… one more thing I hated about that place is the SHITTY techo music cranked to 10. It is so loud I couldnt even use my own MP3 player. This place caters to the gay man much like the “Balcony”.

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