I’m living in central Amsterdam and love this city, the atmosphere and the people. There is one thing though that is simply not bearable, the Dutch / Amsterdam supermarket almost-monopoly run by the Albert Heijn chain.

Here are some examples why:

  • Stores are filthy
  • Normal day-to-day items are often out of stock
  • Staff don’t respect the consumer
  • Albert Heijn does everything they can to force you to buy their own (bad pricy) products
  • There’s almost always some sort of chaos in the store, products all over the place, staff running around, long lines to the cash register etc.
  • There is a very limited choice of goods and groceries (compared to other supermarket chains) available
  • etc.

Unfortunately people who live in Amsterdam are forced to go the Alber Heijn due to that there are no or very few alternatives. We don’t have any other grocery stores in the area.

Moving forward I’ll start posting what I experience in the Albert Heijn stores. The content I’ll post here won’t be altered with, just daily observations…

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7 Responses to “About”


  1. 1 Just another consumer
    February 9, 2010 at 12:23

    WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!! What’s your fucking problem?!?!? Just go to a different super market!!!!!!

  2. 2 Former AH employee
    February 9, 2010 at 14:28

    I used to work at a AH as a general manager (bedrijfsleider) and i can tell you that your frustations are the same for much of the staff. You have to understand that AH has completely removed the human element from their logistical chain and everything is ruled by a gawd awefull computer system that is supposed to be the one of the best in the world but has so many insanely retarded flaws i wouldnt even know where to start.

    The entire system is set up so that the logistical supply line restocks the store based on turnover/sale on average (e.g. 100k a week sales means 12 yars of peanutbutter) and on items sold specificly (if you would sell more peanutbutter the system would order more but for it to sell there actually has to be stock to begin with).

    So if a store is out of juice in the morning every damn day it means there is a incompetent team leader who doesnt order extra and the same goes for bread in the evening (most AH’s have a bake-off oven so when they are out all the time with that the manager should definetly be fired), if there would actually be a person who orders a item extra for just 3 to 5 days the logistical system will pick up on it after that.

    The way that AH treats its staff is as a old school teacher would treat 12 year olds and getting anything done is like pulling teeth. So before you start knocking the entire AH chain you might first focus on the supermarket manager he can change things altho it will not be easy for him aswell.
    Also complaining to the head office via the main site does indeed help. We would allways get a copy of a complaint and they are tracked so that if there are to many of them the regional manager will step in. Its one of the few organizations where complaining does help. just be reasonable about it work floor staff are not your dogs they are human aswell.

    Good luck with the site. I agree it is really a problem despite Ah denying most of it.

  3. 3 Daniel
    February 9, 2010 at 17:21

    I also worked in AH stores in Holland(dep. Fresh self-service) and i can agree that the staff is also fed up with some of these complaints. If customers asks u 20 times a evening if you still got bread and you have to sell them a ‘No’ you know its not good for business.

    But somethings can’t be changed, even if you try really hard. I remembered we ordered extra stuff becouse we knew it would get busy. So some stuff (like milk, some veggie’s and so) we would order double (so instead of 1 car full of banana’s, we would order 2) and suprisingly we would sell it as well. It worked almost every time. But the disadvantage was that we only order so much as we could keep in our cold storage. So somethimes we would sell all our stuff, even if we ordered double and still sometimes you have to sell ‘no’

    Our store was sometimes quite chaotic and/or maybe sometimes even a bit dirty. But if you’re selling the amount of stuff we sold it was the best we could do,and i guess it goes like this with most AH’s. Ofcourse you want every self to be shiny, every mirror to shine and all the shelfs to be full. But due to lack of storage space and personel (where is this not a problem) you’re happy if you fill everything so you’re not selling a ‘No’.

    What im trying to say is that when things get busy, shit hits the fan. We sold more than 2 full trucks a day and we could not store more in our storage. Its not that we did not want to sell more, but we did not had the space in our storage.

    Last things:

    ”Albert Heijn does everything they can to force you to buy their own (bad pricy) products”

    This happens on TV 4 times an hour, 24 hours a day! You wanna ban commercials as well? (You got my vote!)

    ”There is a very limited choice of goods and groceries (compared to other supermarket chains) available”

    LOL, AH has more products then any other store in the Netherlands. I have trouble finding stuff in other stores, some store’s don’t have all products (German stores starting with A) but the AH (XL) has it all.

  4. February 11, 2010 at 18:37

    Thanks for your blog!
    I recognize this… no choice of others stores in Amsterdam Centre.
    Our shop, Nieuwmarkt, is definitely the worst in Amsterdam.
    But, Sarphatistraat is second worst in my opinion.
    Keep the pictures coming!

  5. 5 Jo
    February 13, 2010 at 17:31

    Heerlijk zure Hollandse moppersite. En in ‘t Engels, gericht op de toerist neem ik aan ;-)
    Zoals voor mij al is geadviseerd, ga naar een andere (super)markt voor je spullen. De groenteboer zal je dankbaar zijn.

    groeten,
    Jo

  6. 6 DP
    April 16, 2010 at 22:05

    Very interesting blog. I am from the UK and visited Amsterdam for the first time this year. The only negative thing I have to say about Amsterdam is that there’s so few supermarkets. I had always believed that the UK was a bad place to buy food, but in a UK city of similar size there would be a lot more on offer in terms of supermarkets, and in those supermarkets, a better range.

    My impression of Albert Heijn wasn’t all bad. The staff were helpful, the prices more or less the same as what I am used to paying, although I did notice that beer is a lot cheaper in the Netherlands. But the range of products in AH supermarkets (I visited three) wasn’t impressive. It was like travelling in time back to the mid 1990s to a UK Co-op or Somerfield supermarket. Also, what’s with the no plastic rule? A chain that size should be able to take Mastercard payments.

    I wasn’t impressed by the quality of one AH own-brand product in particular. The AH spaghetti is a weird dark colour (because it’s not an authentic Italian type of pasta, it’s a mix of soft wheat and durum wheat. Even Lidl sells the real thing).

    Anyway, an interesting blog – I’ll keep reading. Hopefully things will improve.

    Cheers

    DP

  7. 7 S. McTavish
    June 1, 2010 at 18:44

    Hi,

    it’s really nice you’ve created this blog.

    I’ve hated Albert Heijn since the first week in Amsterdam (I am a foreign student).

    There are a lot of annoying things going on in the shop, the one not mentioned here is the CHILD LABOR. Isn’t that prohibited? I have not seen that anywhere else in the civilized world!

    McT


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