Nieuws - 16 februari 2011

More than a little football card

'19.10 euros, alstublieft. Wil jij voetbalplaatjes?' said the cashier. 'No', answered the man ahead of me, without hesitation.

My field trip to AH, with the mini-demonstration
In no second I asked, 'Sorry but may I have your voetbalplaatjes? Coz I want...'
'Sure!' my words were cut halfway by the simultaneous reply from that man and the cashier.
'Oh! Thanks so much! And happy Valentine's Day!' I was so happy that I even forgot to continue explaining why I need the cards.
Anyway, I got what I want and that was the only gift I got on the Valentine's Day. But my story had nothing to do with V-Day since V-Day had nothing to do with me. It was about the latest vogue in Holland: voetbalplaatjes.
Let's go back to two weeks ago, when I was having dinner at the Frits',
Cato: Derek, do you have some voetbalplaatjes?
D: Ja, I did! I got two tickets when I went to AH! Something about the Eredivisie. Does it mean I can use them to watch Eredivisie with my friend?
Gerard: Ar..Ha...Mr. Derek, those cards are called voetalplaatjes (football cards), not voetalkaartjes, it's only for children, for fun. Shame on you.
Everybody exploded into laugh. The only comfort at the moment was that I learned the difference between 'plaatje' and 'kaartje'. Now I really gotcha.
I decided to make a 'field trip' at AH.
It was a sunny afternoon. Four kids outside the entrance, standing in a row behind the barrier, kept asking the same question every time people came in and out, 'do you have the football cards?' At first glance it just looked like a mini-demonstration. For the bad quality of food? I hope so since the food there is below par recently. Anyway, it is a bit mindboggling to me because I never saw any supermarket do promotion in such a way in China.
At first I stood aside, watching them vying for the little cards. They looked happy and enjoyed themselves. Then I came up and talked to them. They are all around 15 years old, every day after school they would be there on time. 'For what?' I asked. 'Just for fun', answered one of them. Wow, again, a typical Dutch answer I always hear, but this time it was from a 14-year-old boy. Impressive!
I'm sure eventually they gain more than fun. It is a special lesson out of class? Forget about the commercial intention of AH, this promotion teaches the children how to fight for a single crumb of bread with so many competitors. They have to overcome the cold weather, their shyness, the disappointment of sometime going home empty-handed. They learn how to negotiate and when to cooperate, when to contend.
Ar ha, no wonder Dutch are so good at trading. By the way, you know how I dealt with the V-Day's gift? I gave them to Cato as her grandchildren keep asking her for the cards.
Ar ha, such a lovely day. ^_^
Video of the week
A stand-up comedy about AH and 'zakje'.