Wednesday, 30 March 2016

3/30/2016 04:28:00 am
About dual priced products for Foreigners and Thais

The exposure of a health food shop in Chiang Mai for selling honey at different prices to Thais and foreigners has caused controversy on social media.

350 Baht for Foreigners, 110 Baht for Thais.

Photos shot by a Twitter user, appear to show longan and passion fruit honey on sale at Chiang Mai’s Fora Bee health food store at different prices in western and Thai scripts.

The dual language signs promote a 250g tub of passion fruit honey priced at 350 baht in western script and at the lower price of 110 baht in Thai script, with the numbers in the latter themselves written in Thai numerals. A 500g bottle of longan honey is priced at 465 baht in western script, but just 145 baht in Thai. In both cases, the price displayed in western script is over 200% higher than that in Thai script.

465 Baht for Foreigners, 145 Baht for Thais

Opponents believe that the ‘deceptive’ practice of using Thai numerals is employed to disguise the higher price being charged to non Thais, while others claim that it ‘lower[s] the image of Thailand’ and shows that the store’s management are themselves ashamed enough of the practice to avoid displaying both prices using numerals that they believe non Thais will understand.

The original English language tweet highlighting the practice has been retweeted 64 times, in addition to a further 54 times on the dedicated @2pricethailand Twitter account to bring attention to dual-priced products and ‘give foreigners the ‘right to choose’’. But his follow up Thai language tweet has gone viral, managing over 9,600 tweets and causing the topic to spread to the popular Thai-language forum Pantip.

The Pantip post contains screenshots of reviews and posts left on the shop’s Facebook page by angered netizens. In the numerous posts, users asked the shop for the rationale behind their approach to double pricing, one suggesting that the outlet’s management believed ‘all foreigners are rich and non [sic] of them can read Thai’. Many vowed not to purchase the shop’s products, some suggested its owners should be ‘reported’ for the practice, and another added that they didn’t ‘think Thais would like it if it was the same when they went abroad’.

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One user uploaded an infographic with translations of Thai and western numerals, in order to help those unable to read Thai, while another netizen struck a more conciliatory tone, telling the shop’s management that ‘if you come to my country, we will not scam you, like you do with us’. The shop has yet to respond to the comments.

Conversely, those opposed to dual pricing in Thailand claim operators often use a form of visual profiling to determine a customer’s apparent ethnicity and nationality, along with the ability to speak Thai and, in cases involving pricing in Thai script, the ability to read Thai numerals.

Here’s some homework. Learn how to read Thai numerals so you will know the next time someone is trying to cheat you:

Though widely believed to be illegal under Thai law for constituting unjust discrimination on the basis of origin, race and language, dual pricing is a common practice in Thailand, particularly at state-run national parks and other public and private tourist attractions. It is a frequent topic of social media discussion among Thailand-based expats in particular, many of whom disagree with the practice.

But some believe that it is more justifiable for Thais and foreign residents to be charged a reduced admission fee for taxpayer-funded attractions provided that both groups are asked to produce proof of residency, while maintaining that cases involving private businesses such as the honey shop are more clear-cut and carry little apparent justification for dual pricing.

Chang Beer for foreigners 80 Baht, 69.50 Baht for Thais 
Some netizens have downplayed the situation, though, describing it as ‘not the biggest worry on the planet’ and sarcastically labelling it the ‘crime of the century’. Others poked fun at the shop and the incident, with one Thai Twitter user asking whether there are ‘really people who still believe foreigners can’t read Thai numbers?’, and another user suggesting that the situation presented an opportunity for profit for those prepared to ‘get [their] Thai friends to buy the honey and [then] refund it as a white guy’.

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