The Pay Day Effect

I wonder if the same phenomenon happens in other countries.  In Thailand, you can tell when its the month-end Friday by simply looking at the traffic jam on the streets and the number of people eating out in restaurants.  The streets are packed with cars, crawling as if they were old men and women walking.  Motorcycles zoom in and out through the cars as if they were bees buzzing around looking for pollen.

Cars and people fill up every nook and cranny.  The city is bustling with life and sounds.  It’s Bangkok.

The first indication that pay day has arrived is when you noticing long queues along the ATM machines.   If there is no queue, and its an ATM in an accessible spot, there is a good chance it’d be out of money.   If you happen to pass by one of the AEON machines, which is easy credit or personal loans for those who have limited funds, you’d be surprised at the queue at the snakes around outside the office as people wait in line to repay their debt.  I remember the first time I saw this, I didn’t realize what all the commotion was about, until a friend enlightened me.  Many in Thailand live from pay check to pay check.

During lunch hour, if you happen to work near the business district or other places where they have shopping streets for office workers,  you’d find all the office ladies out and about shopping for goods.  Clothes and dresses on sale, shoes, bags , earrings, house decorations, etc…

At the supermarket (though this usually happens on the weekend following pay day), you’d notice families out to do their monthly shopping.  Especially at large mega marts like Tesco, you’d find families walking along, with huge trolleys of supplies for the month ahead.  Kids run around happily choosing things.

Another indication is the long queues which form outside restaurants.  The “family” restaurants which are suited for large family outings by the majority of the population.  The MK Suki, Sizzler, and Japanese chain restaurants are always favorites.  Food is everywhere in Bangkok and bangkokians love to it.  It’s one of their passions.It’s a funny cycle that repeats itself almost every month without fail.  The effect is strongest the first weekend after pay day and then the craziness that sweeps over Bangkok slowly dies down towards mid-month.   That’s when you start noticing most employees opting to eat out less.

Today, the effect was particularly strong as the 30th September is when those reaching retirement age retire.  For the next few days, people will be hosting farewell dinners, farewell events and the traffic will surely escalate.  It’s a weekend I decide to lay low and perhaps stay home reading “Eat, Pray, Love.”

I wonder, do they have the Pay Day Effect in other countries? Or is this a purely Thai phenomenon?

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