I saw a woman on the sidewalk with a sewing machine. I decided to try to live as Bangkok people do and dropped off a pair of slacks that needed hemming with one such seamstress.

Picked it up and paid a surprising 50THB (most sidewalk vendors selling any food or service charge 10THB for any one sale). Coworkers later told me it might be because I chose a seamstress on a rather high-class street.

I was disappointed about the quality. It looked like any home hemming job that my mother (but now I) could do, with dimpled seams all the way around. I commented on my reaction to a coworker.

His response: “You paid $1.50 to a girl with a sewing machine on her lap on the sidewalk. What did you expect?”