AH in The Hague (post from a reader)

It’s the same story here in The Hague.

AH is far too dominant. You have to travel to another part of the city in order to find an alternative. Now if AH had a wide selection of products and good customer service, that wouldn’t be such a problem. But as it is, it’s simply terrible. The personnel is rude and incompetent, the floors on the produce section are dirty and present a serious risk of slipping, primarily they sell their own brand, which is of poor quality, but is packaged to look almost exactly alike the A-brand products… which are usually sold out. Unilever even sued them for trademark violations, but inexplicably lost the case on 9 of the 11 counts, although the judge did rule that AH acted on the very edge of what is permissible. And that perfectly sums up AH. Their way of doing business borders on illegality and immorality.

Personally I avoid them whenever I can. I do make the effort to travel for miles to reach an alternative. But for a lot of people that’s simply not an option. A few years ago it was actually better, when we had the Konmar as an alternative. Of course when they closed up shop, it was AH that took over their stores. A move that should never have been approved by the competition authority, but alas in their ‘investigation’ they considered the likes of Lidl and Aldi as viable alternatives to AH. I would assume they also consider an apple to be a viable alternative to an orange. AH apples and oranges of course. 😉


23 Responses to “AH in The Hague (post from a reader)”

  1. February 10, 2010 at 12:44

    i rlly hate ah, i hate it

  2. 2 McKillem
    February 10, 2010 at 20:03

    Can someone explain to me the practical purpose of doing this website in English?
    Albert Hein is dutch and pretty much not know at all outside the Netherlands so doing it in English seems rather futile to me.

    • 3 Thierry
      February 13, 2010 at 13:07

      Practical purpose of writing in english???
      So not only Dutch people can participate/complain, Doaa!!! Has The Netherlands only Dutch speaker eager to steam out? No, also plenty of expat here.
      I am myself an expat and until I saw this website I thought naively that people were not so aware of the “so low quality” of those AH. I live in Amsterdam and do my shopping in AH because of lack of good alternatives…? Naaturlijk wel.
      I appreciated to read all the comments, really could relate to every anecdotes as if it was me (and it was me at some points) makes me feel less alone…but what could we really do to change that?

  3. February 10, 2010 at 22:01

    I can try: lots of people here read English. Even the trolls who spout off 3-page replies in Nederlands to a website in English that is “just a waste of time” can obviously read the posts and seem to be affected by them, so the site seems to be doing a fair job of communicating its message.

  4. 6 Robert
    February 14, 2010 at 08:12

    It’s almost deplorable if you call Konmar as an alternative. Why are the Konmar’s closed anyway?
    There are 127 supermarktets in Den Haag and you have to travel to the other side of Den Haag for an alternative supermarktet, strange…

    I admid in the big city’s you can not find the best Albert Heijns ~with the exception of~ but that is the same for the other supermarktets in the big cities like rotterdam, den haag and amsterdam. It´s just difficult to find good staff.

    It´s just so simple with a lack of foundations, compare them with other. Selling their own brand, of course! The results are great ~regarding to consumer tests~. Just be proud of a dutch company with international allure.

    • 7 Erp
      February 16, 2010 at 17:56

      ‘Why are the Konmar’s closed anyway?’

      Because nobody shops there…

    • 8 Ilah
      April 1, 2010 at 14:51

      Komar closed because it was bought out by AH. They also bought out C1000. You’ve got to love those guys up at the Unilever Towers. Apparently it’s three of them there controlling all that you eat here in NL. Diversity at its best 😛

    • 9 Ilah
      April 1, 2010 at 16:17

      “Just be proud of a dutch company with international allure.”

      Missed that bit! International allure? What? Of the tiny amount of international products that do manage to get into the Dutch market, most are of the worst quality and discarded by the natives, think “Grand Italia”. AH or any other supermarket chain is closed into NL borders, even the Belgians get the concept of a half descent supermarket. I certainly have never had the misfortune to come across Dutch products outside of NL, except the odd bit of cheese and some carrots. I heard after the Panorama program, Dutch chicken sales plummeted in the UK. You know the program showing the factory in Rotterdam pumping chicken fillets up with a water suspension using cow and pig collagen, illegal in the EU. They stripped the DNA from the collagen to get around the rules. Proud Dutch! Uuummmmm yummmmy 😡

  5. 10 Albert
    February 14, 2010 at 14:28

    Just go to DIRK, always a filled store

  6. 12 ExSuper
    February 14, 2010 at 14:41

    As a former employee of Dirk Van Den Broek (i know, not AH but still) id like to express another point of view.
    For the people that dont understand the business model of a supermarket…
    Besides the parttime(schoolgoing) people working there (not all are bad of course), most of the staff at supermarkets are very hard workers who really want to offer a good shopping experience.
    Unfortunately its upper management that constantly decides to cut working hours. For me it was THE reason to quit the supermarket business and try my luck elsewhere. The frustration of working so hard and not able to offer a decent experience for my customers was just too much.
    Recently i spoke to a few ex coworkers and they told me that in 2 years its gotten even worse.
    What im trying to say here…its not that the staff doesnt want to. Its just that most people working at supermarkets are so sick and tired of the working conditions. It doesnt help to complain instore. They also know that things arent perfect. Best is to forward your complaint to uppermanagement.

    I also some some pics of a AH on sunday with lots of empty shelfs etc. They use this day to make their shifts in presentation. So its only natural that on sunday its looks a bit or even more) shabby.

  7. 13 petra72
    February 15, 2010 at 13:01

    This sounds all too familiar. I used to live in The Hague too and back there I had the ‘choice’ of 4 different AH stores at walking distance and no alternatives around. Very sad, and expensive too. Everytime I went shopping at AH I felt screwed afterwards. 30 euro for a basket that’s not even full is just madness! I now shop at Lidl, and every week I have a cart full of good quality food for only 50 euros. Also, I’d kill to have more Dirk van den Broeken, since they offer great service and good prices.

    • 14 Erp
      February 16, 2010 at 17:54

      Dirk van den Broek is a good supermarket. Nothing stands in their way to open a shop next to a AH supermarket. Unless, rent is extremely expensive in a town like The Hague (and on wanted locations). I guess no other supermarket is interested in it…

      Funny actually; whenever I have foreign visitors over, they always insist on going to a AH supermarket cause they dislike the others…

  8. 15 Djuud
    February 19, 2010 at 17:50

    Obviously fired in the past as a “vakkenvuller” 😛
    get a job..

  9. 16 Menno
    March 1, 2010 at 19:16

    Some more pictures. I love them.

    Send more!!!!!!!!

  10. 17 Eva
    March 12, 2010 at 18:20


  11. 18 Henk
    March 15, 2010 at 16:35

    The pictures you make are in the evening ofcourse its empty then. Its not like America where there are only products that can lie there for 30 days. Go in the morning you will find fresh products.

  12. 19 F
    March 15, 2010 at 16:37

    I don’t see anyone complaining about the card system! Why the hell do you need a card to get your discount. That’s something I don’t understand, and also can’t bare it’s still here…

    • 20 jerry
      March 16, 2010 at 07:10

      I do totally agree on this. The stupid bonus/airmiles card and the zegeltjes. Waste of time (zegeltjes zijn op) kan bonus kaart niet vinden. BTW Love your site, for the real thing may I suggest the AlbertHein at the Bijlmer. man oh man..

    March 15, 2010 at 17:49



  14. 22 Matt
    March 19, 2010 at 19:07

    Some people here have complained that the blog is in English. However, please consider that there are a lot of expats who live in Holland and are forced to shop at AH for lack of an alternative. This discussion (also) being in English makes this whole discussion much more accessible. So thanks. And for the guy who suggested to go shopping in the morning: I would believe that many people have a job. Mine doesn’t allow me to go grocery shopping before 8 pm — usually there is nothing fresh left where I live (Den Haag). I also had to giggle about the comment on the American supermarkets. Obviously, the poster has never been to one — the choice (an unknown word at AH) of fresh (yet another great unknown) produce for instance is simply overwhelming. And no, I have never seen empty shelves and dirty aisles like here. If you want to get an idea what actual service and quality looks like, check this out: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/. They have supermarkets all over the US and I have never ever seen anything like I have seen here, even in the busiest New York locations.

  15. 23 Johanna
    March 21, 2010 at 22:49

    I rather to wait every week for the market thant shop in this awfull supermarkets and as somebosy said with a client service of S***, I wonder, why dont they learns from the American supermarkets???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

February 2010
« Jan   Mar »

%d bloggers like this: