Typically Dutch

The Dutch have a reputation for being straightforward, bordering on rude, in their interactions with other people. I had a prime example of this in an encounter yesterday.

My Lenovo wireless keyboard and mouse has been giving trouble over the past month or two. The keyboard and mouse become unresponsive at random intervals – and no, it’s not because the batteries are dead. When this happens, the only thing that will cure it is a reboot of the PC. The fault definitely seems to lie in the Lenovo devices, since plugging in a spare mouse and keyboard will immediately work without the need of a reboot. My spare keyboard has one non-working key, and was the reason why I swapped it for the Lenovo keyboard in the first place.

At any rate, when the Lenovo keyboard and mouse froze again yesterday, I thought enough was enough, and resolved to get a replacement keyboard (I already had a spare mouse). I jumped in the car and sped off to the local computer shop in town. Unfortunately, this being a Saturday, the shop closes at 16:00 – as I saw, with a sinking feeling, on the door as I opened it at 15:59.

“Am I too late to buy something?” I asked. “I’ve just cashed up – what do you want?” came the reply. “I need a new keyboard, because my old one has just died”, I said. “I can’t help, I’ve cashed up”, came the rejoinder. No “Sorry”, no sympathy for my plight, just “I can’t help, I’ve cashed up”. I knew that he wouldn’t help, but could he not have softened the blow with a simple “sorry”? That’s so typically Dutch…

Oh well, his loss – I ordered a new keyboard from CoolBlue, and it will be delivered today (on a Sunday!)…

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, Society. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Typically Dutch

  1. alfiecarlisle says:

    Interesting post Geoff – opened my eyes certainly as on a visit to the Netherlands last year I went back to UK praising the kindness and politeness of all whom I came into contact with! Perhaps the long weekend I was in Amsterdam for wasn’t long enough for a truly fair test…

  2. Keith says:

    Geoff very interesting indeed. Made me think of a story about my Great Grandfather surname Van Vliet; he’d have a whistle to call or straighten up his kids

  3. Hert says:

    Haha… but at least he was honest: if he would’ve been really sorry then he could have reopened his register or make a note to book the sale the next morning. Actually I prefer the blunt: no, I won’t help you over a “I’m so sorry for you but I can’t help you” (knowing that he can). That’s what we Dutch call “huichelen” (being a hypocrite).

    At CoolBlue you’re better off. They have a honest “customer first” attitude and if needed they can also deliver the same day.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      There you go, Hert – that’s the thing, I wouldn’t say that he was being a hypocrite. I quite understand that it’s a hassle to reopen the register, and the idea to book the sale to the following day evidently didn’t occur to either of us. But a simple “sorry” in my eyes is far from hypocritical, just softening the blow and being polite. However, the Dutch are direct, and I still haven’t got used to it after 30 years here…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.