In Asia, business transactions are not conducted in the office. Deals are made at karaoke bars, or “Room Salons” as they are known in Korea. The office is where the transactions are done and the paperwork is handled, but all talks and decisions are done at night with whisky and some of the strangest customs. Every day of the week, I had to go through this. I suppose I drank half a bottle of alcoholic drinks every day. I’d gained 15 pounds in a month and looked like a big, unhealthy worm. It was, however, the only way to be a part of the arrangement. You were excluded if you did not participate. According to one individual, if I didn’t engage, others would be uncomfortable, and they would even think I was arrogant. I had no option because my employment depended on closing these sales. You can find many room salons in 강남
- After a few days of getting to know my new coworkers in Korea, I developed a good relationship with them, and they gradually submerged me in the evening rituals. Korean “room salons” is similar to karaoke bars with a twist. A room salon is similar to a conference center, with two to three extremely big meeting rooms (for 12-16 people), five to ten medium rooms (6-10 people), and one or two smaller rooms (2-4 people).
- Each meeting area features couches along the walls and a huge table in the centre where food and wine are served. Unlike karaoke bars with machines, room salons in 강남 feature one-band bands that bring a large computer and speaker equipment, as well as an electric guitar and, on occasion, a full drum set. The genuine enjoyment comes when you are invited to be a “team player” when they are comfortable with you.