Consumer Conundrums on Cold Days

The day started well as we left our lovely little apartment a bit later than usual and walked over to the charming shop-filled street, Haarlemmerdijk. It was stunningly cold with just enough wind to cause every face to be sporting red cheeks.

Apartment in Amsterdam

Coffee at Bagels & Beans in Amsterdam-Photo by Mark Harmes

A mere 45 minutes later we were striding into Bagels and Beans for a hot coffee and a bagel with yummy fillings for lunch.

Neighbourhood living — neighbourhood shopping — some of the joys of renting an apartment while travelling. So why was I faced with so many consumer dilemmas today when all that I wanted, in addition to groceries, was bodywash — plain old not-too-fruity-scented bodywash.

Choices of bodywash in Amsterdam shop.

What you are seeing in the pictures below represents a small fraction of the multiple aisles of bodywash that were available in one store here in Amsterdam. And I can understand the desire to use these kinds of products instead of soap when you shower because the air is cold and dry and your skin needs to be kept as moist as possible. But having said that, why do the companies that manufacture these products believe that we want run around smelling like a rather artificial fruit salad?

More shelves full of bodywash in Amsterdam

The brand names were familiar in many cases, but I don’t speak Dutch and I was left to interpret the fragrance by the illustrations or English-similar terms on the front of the package. There was nothing soft and light about any of them and the smells inside were certainly nothing that Mother Nature would have ever combined.

I finally succeeded in finding one product with very few additives, a subtle fragrance, and a name brand that I recognized from our health food store back in Australia — but my head was aching from simply reading and sniffing for half an hour and Mark was chuckling at the entire experience.

It was Mark’s turn to be boggled next when he decided to pop into the local hardware store and I quietly came up next to him to take a photo just as I heard him say aloud, “OK???” He was perusing the fasteners and deciding what was the European equivalent was to what he would have used for a task back home.

Hardware choices in Amsterdam

I will leave you with one more humorous photo from our shopping adventures. This was a wedding cake topper in the window of a bakery that we passed on Haarlemmerdijk. How many brides do you suppose have really had to ‘pick up’ the groom who was collapsing from the strain of nerves on their wedding day? Click to enlarge it so you can see just how funny it is as she picks up her prince. Enjoy!

Bride picks up the groom on a cake topper in Amsterdam

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©A Wanderful Life
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Unless noted, all photography by Deborah Harmes.

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