New Pensionado Discount Benefit in Panama - "Half Price Hookers"?
Friday, October 21 2011 @ 06:36 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
Worthy Of A Little Investigation: Of course you know I like anything that has to do with hookers, prostitutes, massage parlors, and sex for money in the Republic of Panama. I think prostitution should be legal just about anywhere. If two adults want to exchange sex for money behind closed doors, then have at it. And of course this sort of a topic gives me a great excuse to talk about the sex for money business in Panama. So, what's not to like? Yup, that does it. I'm going to do a full blown (pardon the pun) investigation on this one. I think I'll start with the whore houses and massage parlors and ask them, but I suspect I can predict the answer. They will say "hell no" Hold on, let me check...
Not The Answers I Expected: Ha! There's a loophole. For example if you look at the El Complaciente website, they just charge the girls a flat monthly rate to appear on their website. The guys call and they are passed off directly to the girls who then work their magic. The girls charge whatever they want as independents. And since they are operating on their own and they have no established business or licence, then they can charge whatever the market will bear. Good luck trying to force them to give you a 50% discount, just because your geezer meter is pegging. Probably not going to happen.
Slightly Different Business Model: I called the Oasis Club and spoke to the manager there. He said someone has just asked him that very same question yesterday, but he said "he asked in almost like a joke." Their business model is slightly different - they charge $40 bucks an hour at the door as a service charge, then the girls and the guys negotiate their own separate deal in the back. Of course the managers and owners have no idea what's happening back there, just a simple massage, right? I asked him if they would honor the 50% retiree discount at the door if someone asked for it, and he said he would be calling his lawyer to find out if they were legally required to or not. He said he knew about retiree discounts on airplane tickets, fast food, and medicine - but this was a new one. I specifically said the question is - does this fall into the same category of "entertainment" - such as going to the movies. I mean, what if my idea of "entertainment" is tossing kittens into a wood chipper? I bet the law is pretty specific, and I doubt it covers stiff peckers, lap dances, and hand-jobs.
So, What Does The Law Say (Specifically): The law says all Jubilados and Pensionados (regardless of Age) are also entitled to these benefits - "Discount of 50% of price charged for entrance to recreation and entertainment activities, such as movies, theaters, sports and other public productions." Here's a link to the translation of the law on Retiree Discounts and Benefits in Panama. I consulted with a lawyer friend of mine and he said he doesn't think the discount would apply, because "there's no way the people who wrote this law were thinking about whore houses, massage parlors, and prostitutes at the time" when the law was enacted. But then when he went back and read the text of the law in Spanish again, he sort of softened his position a little, saying "from a purely legal point of view, it would depend on the wording of the establishments operating permits and licenses - what did they apply for, and what are they doing?" Finally he said that anyone could always ask for the discount, "and if you are denied, you can always complain to the ACODECO." The ACODECO is the Consumer Protection Agency in Panama. This is where you go if you think any business is not property honoring the Jubilado discount as required by law. The words of the law itself - "recreation and entertainment activities" - leaves room for interpretation. And, a hot Colombian hooker might just slip in there somewhere.
Another Loophole - "Luxury Service" I called back to the manager of the Oasis club after he had a chance to check with his people. He said according to their interpretation of the law the 50% discount does not apply because they are a "luxury service" ("servicio de lujo"). And interestingly enough, he suggested that anyone who does not agree with their interpretation has every right in the world to go to ACODECO and ask them. They are the ones who interpret and break the ties when there's a question or a dispute. So, let me ask the ACODECO...
Customer Service, Can I Help You? I spoke to someone at the ACODECO specifically responsible for interpreting these kinds of questions and issues with regards to the law on retiree discounts. She knew the law by memory and could quote it chapter and verse. Basically, her answer agreed completely with what my lawyer friend told me - hookers and prostitutes are not included in the "spirit and intent" of the law. She said the law was intended to give retirees a discount for public events like at the movie theater, a sporting event, or some other kind of a public venue. She said "the back room of a massage parlor is a little more intimate." She also made reference to the "luxury services" angle as quoted by the manager of the Oasis club. The bottom line was clear - if you try to bring a complaint to the ACODECO against a hooker, prostitute, massage parlor, or other kind of sex services establishment in Panama to claim your 50% retiree discount - they're going to turn you down.
Making Those Social Security Dollars "Love You Long Time" Talk about trying to get a bang for your buck. But hey, why not? It's a legitimate question, right? And like I said, I don't think anyone has seriously asked me about this issue before, or if they have I've forgotten about it. Anyway, glad to be of assistance. So the bad news is you don't get your 50% discount. The good news is that the chicks are already good looking and relatively cheap anyway. Or, you could take your $100 bucks and blow it on dinner and a bottle of wine back in the states for a different kind of "date." Whatever. Best of luck.
Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.