A couple of weeks back I wrote about the things I have learnt being married to a Dutchman. One of those lessons was this:
"If something is on offer at the supermarket we need it. This is a fact regardless of whether we actually do need it or not. If something free is offered (like buy one get one free, or an actual handout) then we take it, in fact we take lots. After all, Nederlanders houden van gratis."
I like to be able to back up what I write with evidence and what follows is a perfect example. The Dutch supermarket chain, Albert Heijn, teamed up with the Voedingscentrum for a campaign to reduce food wastage. So, with every purchase of rice or pasta shoppers were able to take home an eetmaatje, basically a plastic measuring beaker with the correct portion size of different types of pasta and rice for a certain number of people. It's a great idea and with the first purchase of a bag of pasta my husband bought an eetmaatje home. I use it every time I cook pasta or rice now - it's a very handy kitchen accessory indeed.
Second time he bought rice and pasta he bought home a further three eetmaatjes.
So now we have four eetmaatjes taking up space in a kitchen cupboard. I was happy with one. I can only use one at a time. One was enough. Genoeg. Plenty. But no, in the eyes of a Dutchman a free item is not one that should be left on a supermarket shelf, regardless of whether or not you actually need/can use/ want it. It's free. It is actually illegal to walk out of the shop without the free item when the free item is due to you. After all, free is free.
As far as I'm concerned this should be on the tombstone of every Dutch person:
Gratis? Don't mind if I do.......