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Intercultural Challenges
Prince of Songkla University
Hat Yai
7.017995, 100.495682
Topic Coming familiar with dual pricing!

I did my exchange semester in Thailand and the five months spent there was probably the best experience so far. During my exchange, I sometimes found myself in difficult situations when it comes to every-day life. The reason for this was very often communication problems between me and a Thai because I did not speak Thai apart from basics and every Thai person did not speak English. Also some cultural differences were a reason for this.

It had been around two months of my exchange semester in Phuket when we went out to eat like we did every day. We decided to try a new restaurant with other exchange students. The place was quite basic Thai restaurant. We usually ate at places where locals also eat because those have usually most delicious food. This restaurant was also like that.  The food was really good and when we were about to pay our meals, the check we received had totally different prices than in the menu. We told about this to the waitress who didn’t really speak English that well and she was really confused. We were staying calm and even tried to draw something on the paper. They were still not able to understand the problem so we had to call our local friend who then explained the situation on phone to the waitress. After this the waitress brought two menus to the table and we found out that the menu we ordered from was for locals and more expensive prices were from the menu for foreigners. The waitress was just smiling as all Thai people do no matter the situation. At this point, one of the German students was losing his temper and he tried to make them understand that we should be able to pay the amount which was on the menu we ordered from. Soon we realized together that this wasn’t going anywhere and we didn’t want to put the waitress in a difficult situation or to make her to lose her face because she was probably just doing as told. We paid the check where the price was two times more expensive.

Later at our Intercultural Communication lecture we came familiar with dual pricing. It happens a lot in Thailand, especially where is lot of tourists. It means that a restaurant or other shops have more expensive prices for foreigners. This happens because people think that everyone from western countries have lot of money. It was dual pricing what we faced at this restaurant and it felt unfair. After this we were more aware of this but you can’t do anything about it. I personally understand why Thai people are doing this and their motives but people like students or foreigners who have been living in Thailand for a long time can get offended.

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