Moments of Dutch (Or: Speaking the language)

Sorry for the lack of updates! Yesterday was April Fool’s Day, so Marco and I pulled a prank on the game that we help run. It lasted 24 hours so we logged in a lot. Most people were happy with the prank, although there were a few folks who were unhappy with how it turned out. Admittedly it was a bit serious sounding – ownership changes. But all in good fun…

Today was pretty interesting. I had a list of things to get from Albert Heijn, including tortilla wraps (we made fajitas for dinner), cookies for coffee, and coffee pads. The coffee was on sale – two bags of coffee pads for €4 instead of €6.40. But when I went into the line I was surprised that the total price was just over €9. After I left the line and was packing my items, I realized that I forgot to hand over my bonus card. Normally the cashiers prompt you for it.

So I had a dilemma – I could go back and ask the cashier what I could do, but I didn’t want to do it in English. I hate assuming that everyone knows English as it’s not always true. I also wasn’t sure what to do because I had answered “no” to whether or not I wanted a receipt so I had no proof. I usually just throw those away.

So after a few minutes I steeled myself up and went back to the line I had been in. Thankfully I only had to wait for one person to finish. I then managed to explain my predicament to the cashier in simple (simple) Dutch!

Ik heb een vraagje. Ik spreek een beetje Nederlands maar ik vergeet mijn bonuskaart en de koffie is voor aanbeiding. Ik zei “nee” voor een bonnetje. Wat kan ik doen? (may or may not be good Dutch)

I have a question. I speak a little Dutch but I forgot my bonus card and the coffee is on sale. I said “no” to a receipt. What can I do? … It wasn’t quite what I said at the time, but you get the idea. After a few more lines I had to switch back to English because I didn’t understand what she was saying, but thankfully she spoke English. She mentioned that I need to give my bonus card – I understand that.  I think she thought I was blaming her for the trouble – far from it!

She explained (in English) that I could try at the customer service desk, so I thanked her and went there. Again I only had to wait for one person ahead of me in the line. I spoke in Dutch again, and actually only had a few lines in English. I even said my Dutch wasn’t that good but I was trying, and she smiled and said I was. She said her English wasn’t that good either but she was trying as well. (I am sort of paraphrasing the conversation but it was 90% Dutch.)

It went pretty well – she asked who my cashier was and pulled up my transaction. She confirmed that it was mine and then gave me some euros back (in coins). I was somewhat embarrassed about the situation in general but quite glad that if I am desperate I can survive on my own if needed. I was also glad I didn’t let the language barrier stand in my way if I wanted something.

Of course, sometimes when you’re happy about something, something else happens to shake you up a bit. 😉 When I was walking home, I stepped on a tiny branch and heard it snap. I took one more step, slightly distracted. I tripped and managed to fall. I didn’t trip over anything in particular – I just didn’t pick up my feet enough I guess!

A gentleman that had been passing by me stopped and asked if I was okay. I started talking in English as I stood up, quite embarrassed   Considering I had just been proud to speak a bit of Dutch at Albert Heijn, it’s amazing to consider that in times of distress, all you have left is your native language. It is all you can remember in the heat of the moment. Though I did utter a quick Dag! (goodbye) before I turned to quickly walk home.

It wasn’t that bad of a fall, in the end. My left knee was scrapped up, but nothing a band-aid can’t fix. My right pinky is definitely sore but I can stretch it fully if needed. It hurts slightly when I curl it up too far. I figure a good night’s rest will help a lot.

So… just some of my language observations on a day I thought would be much more quiet than it ended up being. But it was overall a good day.

Categories: Everyday purchases | Tags: | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Moments of Dutch (Or: Speaking the language)

  1. Sherry

    I hope your pinky and your knee is starting to feel better. I’m glad you went back for the discount. Here they will not start scanning until you hand over your card. They like to build a database of the things that you buy.

    • Thanks. Things are starting to turn a bit black and blue now, including my other knee. But the finger isn’t sprained I don’t think – just the area closest to the palm is a bit swollen and blue.

      I did go back to Albert Heijn (to treat myself to some lemon sorbet on sale and see how sour that is). I remembered my bonus card this time!

  2. Marco

    Here they don’t really care if you give it or not (they usually ask for it near the end) although they do use it for their database. IIRC if we register extra info to the bonus card, we can even see what we’ve bought and such in the apps they’ve made.

    I thought it was really cool that you went back though. I’m the type of person that shrugs and considers it my loss, their extra gain/profit. But for you, did it in (mostly) Dutch. How awesome is that?! 🙂 You rule!

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