The right price…and then the White price.

Skin Tax.

This is the term often used by expats all over the world to describe the instant increase in price for goods and services based on the fact that you are a white man living in a brown man’s world. Or a yellow man living in a black man’s world. Or a blue man living in a red man’s world. Basically….it is when you go shopping as a foreigner and don’t know what you are doing and you walk away with a sore rectum because you got royally reamed .

Prime example ; Most white expats ( WEs) expect to pay around 1000r-1500r per KW of electricity. We Compoundites pay 720 because we have Khmer wives and they did the talking.

As I consider the logistics and associated costs of outfitting the house in The Hamptons ( I think this is what I will call it if I rent it – The Hamptons ), the first item I have investigated is beds. I want to be about to sleep about 6 – 8 in comfort. My initial idea was to have simple 2m long / 70cm wide / 50 cm high rattan oblong settees which would be used as couches around the edges of the living room during the day and then just swivelled out and covered with mosquito nets at night. A bit communal but hey, we will be well exhausted from all that fun so who cares about walls ! Rattan ( with 10cm top quality foam cushions as mattresses ) came in at a whopping $130 each. Screw that.

Simple Khmer Day bed

Simple Khmer Day bed

Then I decided that the simple khmer day beds ( see photo above ) that they place under the houses in the provinces custom made to the  2m long / 70cm wide / 50 cm measurements would have to be cheap right ! I knew of one place near Toul Sleng museum that made them so I went there on my own and after a discussion with the lady that worked there I was quoted $40 for one. When I said I might want 6-8, the price came down to $38 and I still havent got the cushion on it yet. I told her I would make some measurements and would be back….not. When I told my wife this price, she laughed and said..more like $15 !

That afternoon I was on a mission and headed down to Takmeo and the very first shop I went into was owned by a very nice man who was eating lunch with his family on the floor of the shop. As is often the case, I was asked to have lunch with them ( “nyum bai ?”) but after kindly mentioning I had to get moving, we got down to business. Again I explained my requirements and with hardly a heartbeat or time to calculate how much he could fleece me for he gave me his price…….$12. That’s a 200% saving on the Phnom Penh price and I haven’t even haggled with him on 6-units yet. I am thinking $10 each. I much prefer the sound of $60 for 6 bed bases than $228 don’t you !

Even if I pay $20 for the “mattresses”, the beds will have cost $30 each and that’s it. All done and dealt for beds AND couches !

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1 Response to The right price…and then the White price.

  1. Paul says:

    I bet you could get backs added on two or three sides, then load ’em with cushions like the old Elsewhere.

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