A video has gone viral on Taiwanese and Thai social media showing a famous Taiwanese news anchor in an argument at a hair salon in Bangkok’s Siam Square after she refused to pay THB250 ($7.50) because staff had used cold water to wash her hair.
In the 10-minute long video posted by Jax Phoenix, owner of the Phoenix at One salon and a Thai social media star, Taiwanese news anchor Huang “Vivi” Ruowei (黃若薇) and her friend are seen arguing with Jax. At one point, Jax slaps Vivi’s phone from her hands as she tries to record the dispute. The video now has more than 8 million views, 78,000 shares and 22,000 comments.
Afterward, Vivi explained in a Facebook post that when she and her friend had booked the service, it was THB250 per person, but when they arrived, the price went up to THB350 ($10.50). In addition, the air conditioning wasn’t working and her hair was washed with cold water, Vivi said. Neither of the women were happy about the service, so they refused to pay.
According to a staff member at the salon, Vivi’s friend had asked the staff to stop washing her hair the moment she found out that the water was cold, so only Vivi needed to pay THB350 for the service. The salon then gave her a discount, charging her only THB250. Still, she refused to pay.
Vivi claimed that the salon owner had threatened to lock them up inside the shop until they paid; however, this seems to have been a bit of miscommunication due to the language barrier.
According to a translation from Coconuts Bangkok, in the video, Jax said to her staff in Thai: “Alright, so let’s lock them out and turn off all the lights, if they would not leave. Get out, all of you!.. We did everything for them. We gave them a discount. If they won’t leave, they can stay here. It’s raining and Bangkok is flooding. I’m gonna go. See you tomorrow, bitches.”
It also appears that Jax believed the two customers to have been from mainland China. On Facebook, she captioned the video: “A common problem for Thai people!!! Chinese customer doesn’t want to pay.” And, in the video she rants: “Your country is horrible! Call your prime minister. Call your president! I’ll talk to your president about your nasty habit. When I’m in your country, I never behave like this.”
Vivi’s non-apology attracted mostly negative comments from Taiwanese netizens with many calling on her to return to the salon and apologize for losing her temper as a guest in someone else’s country. Quickly, Vivi responded to say that she would do just that.
The next day Vivi and her friend went back to the salon to apologize for the misunderstanding, and, in front of a giant media scrum, gave Jax a stuffed animal. Jax also apologized and said that she would improve her salon’s service.
Two Chinese-language teachers in Thailand, Jer and Bo, published a video online, explaining the conflict in both Thai and Chinese. Jer, a Taiwanese, explains that in Taiwan, a customer can refuse to pay if he is not happy about the service, and it was the difference in culture that resulted in this conflict.
But in a comment below the video, a Taiwanese netizen pointed out that although customer service is highly respected in Taiwan, you don’t just get to leaving without paying.
Coincidentally, this incident happens to come just as Taiwan is seeking visa-free entry for its tourists in Thailand.
By Alex Tang
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