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Life in Chiang Mai


Service is often overlooked

By Heather Allen
It would seem that another Life in Chiang Mai column has fallen my way so let me start this column off by encouraging our dear readers to stop hesitating! If you have a story you want to tell, do not worry that you are not a professional writer! Everyone has a story to tell, one they tell visiting friends or family or people interested in Thailand or Chiang Mai. So, write in to the editor and get your story out there. Email [email protected] with your article in a word document.
One of my favorite things of Chiang Mai has to be the friendly service and help I often receive. And while I have certainly had my share of poor service here in Thailand I must confess that my home country is not particularly famous for excellence of service so I do not have high expectations.
A great example comes out of the meal at Steak House I reviewed, the service was excellent. We had a very charming young waiter who was working very hard to ensure that he said everything exactly correctly. My friend and I both agreed that while it may have taken him a wee bit longer, it was a very charming thing to see.
Perhaps I exude “helpless female” or perhaps there is more chivalry in Thailand than most expect but I rarely fill up the air in my own tyres. (I drove a scooter). I stop to fill them up myself but most times, someone kindly offers to do it for me. Usually it is a man, both younger and older but sometimes it’s a girl too. Always a Thai person who offered the help, however.
Once I mailed an important letter EMS overseas. Fortunately there is a box for one’s mobile as I received a phone call from the Post Office the next day asking if I had mailed this letter. More than a bit confused, I said, yes I did. They wanted to find out what country I was sending it to since I had forgotten to write my country on the form. They promptly filled it out and sent my letter on its way. I was astonished as certainly my home country’s postal service would never make this effort, they would have simply sent it back to me and then charged me a second time to send it again.
I went to a shop looking for something specific; she did not have what I was looking for so called around until she found a shop that had it. She then drew me a map to get there. She offered to send some staff to take me there and while certainly more than kind, totally unnecessary and really too much for me to ask considering I was not actually purchasing anything.
I can certainly come up with instances of terrible service, the order that gets forgotten, the incredibly slow cashier who can’t do maths, the cashier who serves the queue jumper first. However, in general, the service in Chiang Mai is quite good, especially when compared to the often surly service one receives in Bangkok. I make infrequent trips to Bangkok, and they are infrequent not just because of the traffic but also, I confess, the people. They are certainly far less friendly and polite than people in Chiang Mai and now, with the onset of the cool weather season, it makes for another great reason to live in Chiang Mai.

The Chiang Mai Mail is publishing a series of articles on residents’ experiences of life in Chiang Mai. If you would like to contribute please email [email protected]


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Service is often overlooked