16
Jan
10

Why this blog exists?

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…


29 Responses to “Why this blog exists?”


  1. 1 Bram
    February 2, 2010 at 10:21

    Hi,

    I hate the AH too (who doesn’t these days) and like your blog🙂
    However, i’d like to provide some comments.

    First of all, it’s not only Amsterdam that’s a victim of AH gone bad. Unfortunately, they’re everywhere in the Netherlands…

    Secondly, i’d like to make some suggestions. There are alternatives if you look around.
    There are some really nice markets in Amsterdam with good quality food, like the Noordermarkt on Saturday.
    You can also save money and go to the Dirk (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=dirk+van+den+broek&sll=52.37518,4.885483&sspn=0.076502,0.222988&ie=UTF8&hq=dirk+van+den+broek&hnear=&z=13), Marqt -really good food- (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=marqt&sll=52.387518,4.821453&sspn=0.01912,0.055747&ie=UTF8&hq=marqt&hnear=&ll=52.375704,4.904194&spn=0.076501,0.222988&z=13), the Jumbo or Super de Boer.

    Ok ok, I admit that they’re not as widespread as the Albert Heijn, but hey… just give it a try!
    /B

  2. 2 Deborah Blench
    February 2, 2010 at 11:22

    Nice blog, and I couldn’t agree more. I live in Amsterdam Oost, and shop (as little as possible) in a better, but still dire, alternative to AH called Dekkamarkt. The people who work there are worse than useless, they run out of stuff for months on end, and always stock the shelves on Saturdays when the shop’s at it’s busiest. Super frustrating. You’re not alone, but neither are AH unfortunately.

  3. 3 Manuel Dahm
    February 2, 2010 at 12:22

    Why on earth do you go to AH then, to enjoy the ranting? I live in the center and never go there. I go to markets, local small shops or the Natuurwinkel. I dont get why people continue to go to Supermarkets when they annoy you. They annoyed me and I almost never go now. Maybe once a month.
    Support your local small shops, the bakers, the butchers, the veggie-mans…make friends with them and get things down to a human level. Thats what I hated about supermarkets – nobody working there identifies himself with anything related to the products, the customer experience or whatsoever. And how should they? They get paid shit, treated shit, and then people let them feel they are shit.
    I can safely say that my local turkish veggie man has become a friend over the years and knows more about my life then some of my friends🙂

    • February 2, 2010 at 12:38

      Simple, I’m working long office hours and simply have no time to visit small niched stores for my grocery shopping. I totally agree that it’s a free choice and no one is forcing me to support (by being a customer) the AH chain, but after all the available alternatives are very limited after 18:00…

      • 5 Pooh
        February 9, 2010 at 12:25

        Most Dirk’s are open until 20:00 or 21:00. Dirk is not a small niched store, but a chain of supermarkets with better prices and better service than AH. I don’t think anybody in Amsterdam lives more than 15 minutes cycling from a Dirk.

  4. 6 Manuel Dahm
    February 2, 2010 at 12:42

    That’s true indeed. I found that also very annoying when I worked full time. You could consider having you send a basket of products from the Natuurwinkel, AH is so expensive its almost no difference to the biological products.

  5. 7 Sarah
    February 2, 2010 at 13:14

    I’m feeling the pain with you.

    Have you ever stumbled upon a recipe which you’d really like to make, carefully jotted down all the things you’ll need, and then in that rushed 10 minutes in between work (for those unlucky enough to finisih work after 6pm) and your dinner guests arriving, you pull your hair out in the aisles of AH as you find yourself in a real-life Ready Steady Cook situation having to re-invent the recipe with whatever happens to be left on the shelves?

    Heel frustrerend!

    If I happen to be around on Saturdays I try to hit the Albert Cuypmarkt early and see what I can pick up in the nearby Dirk. I also import stuff that otherwise takes me months to lay my hands on in AH by filling the suitcase in the UK.

    It will not be a job that will lure me back to Blighty, but will more likely be the clean wide aisles of M&S and Waitrose, or even Tesco and Sainsury’s. Perhaps they could reconsider those international expansion plans and open up in NL.

  6. 8 Manuel Dahm
    February 2, 2010 at 14:59

    Some really important issues to worry about😛

  7. February 2, 2010 at 16:15

    hey mate, like the sentiments and we would love to interview you on amsterdam’s english breakfast radio show. keen?

  8. February 2, 2010 at 22:01

    Recently living there for 3 months, I couldn’t believe that, with as much business as this place does, they do not accept credit cards. And God forbid, if I went there after work, there was NEVER any bread. NEVER.

  9. 12 LJK
    February 4, 2010 at 15:39

    Do you accept submissions? I hate basically all grocery stores in NL (I’m in Limburg) and am actually always taking cell phone pictures to show my husband how bad it is since he never goes to the shops!

  10. February 9, 2010 at 12:21

    I’d like to second (or third) the idea of really going out of your way to support your local independent grocer/toko/market. I know that with “professional” hours it’s not always possible, but, really…the only way to negatively affect AH is to not shop there.

  11. 15 Anoniem
    February 9, 2010 at 12:27

    Je moet niet zo zeiken. In het oosten van het land zien de AH supermarkten er namelijk supergoed uit. Kun je maar weer eens nagaan wat voor kut stad Amsterdam is.😉

  12. February 9, 2010 at 12:31

    What a nonsense. I live in Amsterdam East, and I actually go out of my way to visit the AH instead of other supermarkets. I see the problems mentioned here in other supermarkets as well, but usually even worse.

  13. February 9, 2010 at 12:40

    Eh, the Albert Heijn’s in the center of Amsterdam are crap… but what do you expect with the amount of traffic they get. That’s the center of Amsterdam for ya, chaotic, pricy, crowded and usually not very clean😉

    Most AHs outside of the center of Amsterdam are fine. The bread thing is a problem though.

  14. 18 Kristof
    February 9, 2010 at 12:46

    Schat,

    Schrijf nou gewoon in het Nederlands. Dat Engels van je is niks. Losstaand van het onnuttige verhaal – waar ik toch maar even naar ben komen kijken – is je beheersing van het Engels ronduit beschamend.

    En waar ik woon, in het centrum van het land, is alles koek en ei bij de Albert Heijn. Het personeel is vriendelijk en soms zelfs ronduit charmant, alles is altijd netjes bijgevuld en de winkel is altijd schoon.

    Doei!

  15. 19 x
    February 9, 2010 at 12:47

    Arme jongen! Als ik jou was zou ik eerst gaan huilen. Dan aanklagen. Dan verliezen. En dan weer gaan huilen.

  16. 20 Kristof
    February 9, 2010 at 12:53

    Ik schrijf “schat” maar ik bedoel natuurlijk “Martin”

  17. 21 Geert Jan
    February 9, 2010 at 13:08

    I think you are a little bit of a whiner. I have lived in Rotterdam Centre for the past few years, and I just have to say that the AH was the best option there to buy your food, yes you pay a little extra but the quality is better than the Bas for example.

    Nowadays I live in Barcelona, and every time I walk through the supermarket here (Carrefour, Las Ramblas), I wish I were back in the Netherlands to go to an Albert Heijn. No whole wheat bread, only 1 kg minced meat packages (kinda much if you wanna cook for one or two persons), no reasonably healthy quick meals (kook&stoom) if you are in a hurry, and the lines for the checkout are really, really slow and long. There are some better supermarkets (basement of El Corte Ingles), but they are also significantly more expensive. For my taste, Albert Heijn has struck the right balance between quality and affordability. So my only message to you is: please, see everything a little bit more in perspective, and if you really can’t stand it, nobody will stop you to begin your own supermarket😉

    And about the meat: if you don’t like it at AH, you probably won’t like it at any supermarket. So just don’t buy your meat in a supermarket then. Pretty simple huh?

  18. 22 AHHater
    February 9, 2010 at 13:09

    If you think that other AH’s are fine then you must have a pretty low standard.😦

    If you think Amsterdam is bad, go to the AH’s in Westwijk area of Amstelveen.
    You won’t believe your eyes over there. the amount of filth and rotten products is amazing,
    ranging from squashed fruit to rotten meat. Filth is all over the floorspace, not noticed so easily with all those carts with inventory all over the place.
    Since AH only employs kids to fill up the supermarket, it looks more like a playground, where kids are openly discussing how drunk they were last weekend and how stoned they will get next weekend.
    The more mature employees are plain trailertrash who rather don’t see you back as customer if you have a complaint or remark.
    And of course no fresh bread after 18:00 even though the store is open until 22:00.
    Actually 21:30 because then they close most of the doors in an attempt to scare of customers to visit the store before closing time.
    Since there is no alternative to AH in Amstelveen in many areas, customers are really treated like trash and the head office of AH couldn’t care less. With enough money to spend on marketing and commercials, they apparently are very successful at making the masses believe they are shopping at an A-class supermarket. The weird part is that Dutch people have gone completely blind on this point. Just 10 more years and one can only but AH-brand products overt here, without the masses noticing all the normal brands have disappeared.

    It’s really amazing how AH managed to fall so fast from an A-class supermarket to a filthy shithole in their attempt to maximize their profits.

    • February 9, 2010 at 22:50

      Beste AH Hater,

      We wonen in NEDERLAND het gaat gaat over een NEDERLANDSE supermarkt dus praat NEDERLANDS

      ”You won’t believe your eyes over there. the amount of filth and rotten products is amazing, ranging from squashed fruit to rotten meat. Filth is all over the floorspace, not noticed so easily with all those carts with inventory all over the place.”

      Als je er naar op zoek gaat zoals jij graag in je trieste bestaan doet, vind je inderdaad veel producten die niet meer in goede staat zijn. Toch wordt alles elke ochtend en avond gecontroleerd, en waar nodig uit de schappen gehaald. Dat medewerkers af en toe wel eens iets over het hoofd zien lijkt me logisch

      ”Since AH only employs kids to fill up the supermarket, it looks more like a playground, where kids are openly discussing how drunk they were last weekend and how stoned they will get next weekend.”

      Jahoor, in andere supermarkten werken enkel volwassenen die veel beter presteren dan AH-medewerkers. Kinderen werken hard en zijn over het algemeen veel meer gemotiveerd dan een volwassen vakkenvuller, en doen altijd hun best. Waar volwassenen het over hun gezin en familie hebben, praten kinderen graag over hun uitgaansleven.

      Als ze hun werk niet goed genoeg doen, niet netjes vullen of zich op welke manier dan ook niet aan de regels houden worden ze gewoon net als bij elk ander bedrijf ontslagen.

      ”The more mature employees are plain trailertrash who rather don’t see you back as customer if you have a complaint or remark.”

      Dit is de slechts geformuleerde Engelse zin die ik ooit heb gezien. Dan inhoudelijk: ga eens naar de informatiebalie (bij de sigaretten), en de medewerkers zullen met respect je klachten ontvangen en behandelen.

      ”And of course no fresh bread after 18:00 even though the store is open until 22:00.”

      Brood komt overdag binnen en aangezien je niet de enige op deze wereld bent kan het zijn dat andere mensen je voor zijn met brood kopen. Moet je maar eerder komen! Bakkers zijn immers ook niet de hele dag geopend, die gaan al vroeg in de middag dicht. Of denk je soms dat brood s’ avonds laat nog geleverd en even snel gebakken wordt?!

      ”Actually 21:30 because then they close most of the doors in an attempt to scare of customers to visit the store before closing time.”

      Hahaha wat een bullshit! Aangezien er nog al veel moet gebeuren voordat de winkel kan sluiten wordt er al rond 21.30 begonnen aan de opruimingswerkzaamheden, zonder de klant daarbij te hinderen. Het wordt juist rustiger, omdat alle medewerkers dan aan het opruimen zijn. Pas om 21.50 wordt je (vriendelijk) verzocht je naar de kassa te begeven.

      ”Since there is no alternative to AH in Amstelveen in many areas, customers are really treated like trash and the head office of AH couldn’t care less. With enough money to spend on marketing and commercials, they apparently are very successful at making the masses believe they are shopping at an A-class supermarket.”

      Goed, jij vind AH Westwijk, AH Rembrandhof, AH Groenhof, AH Maalderij, AH Westelijk Halfrond en AH Bourgondische laan in Amstelveen niks. Allemaal prima winkels, huilie. Verder heb je nog C1000, Dirk v/d Broek, Lidl, Jumbo en Aldi in Amstelveen. Door de goede marketing worden de Albert Heijn filialen alleen maar aantrekkelijker, maar als jij dat niet zo vind: Rot dan lekker op en haal je boodschappen ergens anders in Amstelveen, maar zadel anderen a.u.b niet op met je stomme huilieverhalen die op bullshit gebaseerd zijn.

      ”The weird part is that Dutch people have gone completely blind on this point. Just 10 more years and one can only but AH-brand products overt here, without the masses noticing all the normal brands have disappeared.”

      Neehoor, in Nederland heb je wetten over monopolie, dus dat zal nooit zo ver komen. Nogmaals, als jij je boodschappen ergens anders wilt doen in de regio Amsterdam, dan heb je andere supermarkten voor het uitkiezen.

      ”It’s really amazing how AH managed to fall so fast from an A-class supermarket to a filthy shithole in their attempt to maximize their profits.”

      Vergelijk AH eens met één van je geweldige andere supermarkten, eens kijken wie er dan beter uit komt.

      Ongelovelijk. Wat ben jij een beroepszeiker zeg. Als je nog meer azijn te pissen hebt dan ga ik er graag weer op in, maar kom a.u.b eens met inhoudelijke argumenten in plaats van dat gejank. Of nog beter, steek je vuist in je anus en loop naar de hel.

      Met vriendelijk groeten,

      een trotse AH medewerker

  19. February 10, 2010 at 17:11

    Awesome evidence that AH medewerkers really are polite and helpful. Lots of great suggestions there. Maybe our friendly AH employee should helpfully suggest to the AH management that since we’re in NEDERLAND, maybe AH should use NEDERLANDS to name their fancy new product lines, such as AH Excellent.

  20. March 15, 2010 at 17:35

    OMG, the staff at my AH on the postjeweg screams at eachother in Arabic, I thought this was The Netherlands…. And they are really on the souk, because it is screams over your head, the whole place is full of trash and boxes and carts, however, the shelves do not have what you need. If you tell the staff that they are not working in a factory, but in an open supermarket, they look at you from under a head scarve like they see water burning. It’s horrible. I go to bakery to get bread, to the cheese store to get cheese, and for cleaning stuff I walk quickly with an iPod on my ears into the AH and after always having to wait an impossible amount of time at the cash register, I am exhausted and feel humiliated by the way our dutch good quality stuff is all turning into desert sand.

    • 26 Domi
      March 15, 2010 at 20:51

      I thought this was The Netherlands…

      Dat dacht ik, totdat ik deze site tegen kwam. Even een Nederlands gezegde: De pot verwijt de ketel dat hij zwart ziet……

  21. 27 anon
    April 8, 2010 at 04:41

    ummm, well the english isnt bad so i dont know why someones saying it is, lol. i work at AH and unfortunately with the management system of giving us ridiculously short amounts of time to perform each task we cant offer decent customer service or work as a team. we know we work in a supermarket and not a factory but its run like a sweat shop and we are only human. as for staff speaking arabic complain to the manager because it is forbidden for staff to speak anything except dutch within the workspace (even though AH give most their products english names😉 )

  22. June 7, 2010 at 20:27

    Ah the Dutch and their ability to discuss subjects in a reasonable manner on internet forums. I’ll miss when I leave The Netherlands (which is very shortly). But hey, I can always dip back into this blog for my weekly dose of nederlandstalig vitriol and xenophobia.

    My solution to the Dutch supermarket problem has been to shop at local organic food shops and at the Lidl and Dirk supermarkets. Whilst the Lidl and the Dirk are not particularly great shops they are cheap, which is, after all the main point of a supermarket. The organic food shops are more expensive but sell some truly delicious food.

    For those good Dutch citizens who think that there is nothing wrong with the Dutch supermarket experience, here is a puzzle. Why are Dutch grown tomatoes, spring onions and mushrooms sold in Norwegian supermarkets fresher and tastier than the Dutch grown tomatoes, spring onions and mushrooms sold in Dutch supermarkets?

  23. February 13, 2011 at 07:15

    Leuke site!. Er zijn nog weinig goede sites over dit onderwerp te vinden.
    Ben blij met jullie toevoeging!
    Ik kan helaas geen bookmark aanmaken naar ihatealbertheijn.wordpress.com in Firefox.😦 Weten jullie hoe dit komt?

    Groetjes Barbara


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