I’m visiting HQ in Minneapolis with a Dutch physician who is a longstanding friend: it’s been fun contrasting US and Netherlands social and cultural artifacts all week.
A big opportunity came after dinner last night, he asked if we could stop somewhere to pick up a disposable razor.
‘No problem: in the US, there’s only one place to go for that sort of thing and I know where there’s one, right by the hotel…
Trust me, it’s like Blokkers.
The Dutch do have discount stores, and large AH No 5 stores, but I’ve never found anything of the type and scale of Target. It makes me wonder if there isn’t an opportunity to bring the first Sooper Target to the Netherlands?
I pointed out the wonders of American consumerism unheard-of back home: the mile-long aisle of baking supplies, the 34 (empty) cashier lanes, the easy availability of all types of stylish reading glasses and (synthetic) butter-drenched microwave popcorn.
The razor aisle was intimidating: it took some searching to find men’s razors among the women’s, electrics, trimmers, and gels.
And, even when we had a selection, we got (inevitably) diverted on our way to the (34) check-outs.
…which, in turn, necessitated backtracking to return the original selection to it’s home. I suspect the Dutch stay thin by repeatedly dashing across the store to replace items when they find it cheaper on an end-aisle display. ‘No use pointing out that an American would have simply dropped the one he was holding to pick up the one he wanted.
I asked a saleswoman where I could find a bottle of wine: she looked confused. “I don’t think we sell it…maybe back in the fruit drinks?”
My friend looked smug: despite all the excess, we still couldn’t stock life’s core comforts.
or, at least, not in Minnesota before Noon on Sunday or to Children Under the Age of 21.