I can cross something else off my corona list: shopping by appointment (winkelen op afspraak).
Yesterday I decided on a whim to check what the availability was for shopping appointments at C&A (English Wikipedia), a clothing store. Here in the Netherlands you are currently required to book an appointment at non-essential stores. You must book the appointment at least four hours in advance to prevent “fun shopping”, as the Dutch like to call it. The store can only accept 1 customer per 25 m2, with the maximum capped at 50 customers inside. The store chooses how long the appointment can last, but they are required to offer slots in at least 10 minutes.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had availability the next day (today). I was also surprised to see C&A was offering 30 minute time slots. On the one hand it seemed like a very long time, on the other hand 10 minutes didn’t seem like enough. Oddly they asked how many people would be coming, which is strange since the government rules say you should come alone. On the other hand, I’m sure people would just book separate appointments for the same time slot in that case… I asked Marco if he was interested in going. Since he was also in need of some new clothes, I put down 2 people.
Of course there is the fear that it will be really crowded, but oddly enough when we arrived the next day there really wasn’t a line outside. There was one older gentleman who entered right before us, but it turns out he did not have an appointment so they turned him away. I showed my email to the security guard and we were allowed in. We were both required to have separate bags. And the bags were kind of weird looking, with lots of times on them, crossed out in marker. Almost like they used that system in the beginning and then gave up after a few days:
The store was fairly empty thanks to the one customer per 25m2 rule. There were maybe 6-8 customers per floor? It almost felt like personal shopping. It was also easy to keep enough distance, so that was nice.
I managed to find almost everything I was looking for. A new jacket, 3 t-shirts and even a plain hoodie. It’s nice and warm. The only thing I didn’t find was a new pair of jeans. However I’m short and small, so sometimes finding that combination can be a pain in a country which favors tall people. Hmm. Marco got everything on his list, so that was nice.
I’m glad I went. Non-essential stores have been closed since mid-December (thanks to Black Friday and Christmas shopping insanity) so we definitely needed to buy a few new things.