Boycott

Back in April I wrote a blog post about a certain button shop in Amsterdam and the not very pleasant visit I had there. I was polite at that time and didn’t name names. This time I’m not so polite. I’ve really had it with that woman and her so-called “shop“. It’s not a shop at all. It’s her very high cost space where she hangs out and entertains friends. Selling things is just something she does when she feels it’s ok to lower her standards and talk to other people.

Yesterday I finished knitting my iPhone pouch (photos coming this weekend) and needed 1 lousy button for the little flap on top. I know, I know, I already swore I’d never go back to this “shop” again, but they do have a very large selection and I thought, well, ok, one more chance to find the perfect button.

It’s Thursday night which means late night shopping in the center of Amsterdam. I left work at 5:45 and arrived in front of this “shop” at 6:05pm. The doors were wide open and the sign said “Open” so I locked up my bike and walked in. Ms Button Woman said “Mevrouw, wij zijn dicht.” (Lady, we’re closed.) I said (in Dutch) “But your doors are open!” She said “That’s just to get some fresh air in here.” I said “Is it not possible to buy just one small button?” And she just looked at me. Just looked. No smile. No comment. Just.  Looked.  So I said “Dus niet” and walked out. I repeat, this is not a shop. It’s a social club or button museum, but never get the idea that it’s a shop.

15 seconds after I walked out, while I was busy unlocking my bike to leave, two other women walked in and were quickly escorted out of the building while Ms Button Woman quickly closed her doors and turned the sign to “Closed”. Yeah, you betcha, “closed” is right. Even when it’s open.

I told DB that the next time I even mention the possibility of going to this “shop” that he has my permission to HIT ME.  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s high time we find together a real shop that sells a nice variety of buttons in Amsterdam.  Haarlem.  Even Utrecht.  Even farther if needed.  Anywhere except the Knopenwinkel in Amsterdam.

20 Comments

  1. Fight the power! Fight the power! That’s one of the great things about being a guy. If I need a button, I just go into the button box in the closet and find something that will work. I’m not picky Of course now I want to go buy a button or two there just to see if I get a better reception. You need a control group.

  2. Doesn’t the fabric market in Utrecht sell buttons? Saturday mornings 8 am – 13 pm. Within walking distance of the station.
    (charming shop lady. Not.)

  3. Oh, Dutch service! Of all the many reasons I have chosen to make this charming small country my home, that is NOT one of them. I hope you can find an appropriate replacement so you can chant, “Nanny nanny boo boo!” outside her (closed) door.

  4. Thanks for the heads up – I had that shop on my list of places to go next time I’m in Amsterdam. I’ll definitely cross it off in solidarity. I’m surprised she manages to stay in business if that is her attitude. Funny, I know what you mean about customer service in NL but up here they tend to overserve – meaning they spend 45 minutes with everyone who comes in with a piddling question. When I want to purchase something I have to wait around for ages while the timewasters go on (and on and on and on) then leave without buying a thing.

  5. That sucks! My Mister and I wont tolerate bad customer service. We experienced severe rudeness on a recent hotel stay, wrote a very detailed letter and received a prompt reply as well as a refund for our first nights stay!! Result! If I receive good customer service in a shop I make a point of thanking them for it although it should come ‘as standard’ it rarely does! May I suggest online shopping for your button needs..I use Ebay and MCA Direct.

  6. I had a great time in Amsterdam, full of lovely, helpful people until I went to a certain button shop. I could have been invisible. Social conversation was more important for the owner and little interest was shown when a friend wanted to match a colour. I am sure there are more friendlier places to buy buttons. Don’t go there!

  7. I, too, had gone to the Knopenwinkel in July, 2009, as we were visiting THE city for my sister’s birthday and staying directly across the canal from the bad ass button cartel. I visited at least twice, perhaps three times during my visit. You know, I was absolutely fine with the owners lack of attention, and I felt confident that if I required assistance I certainly could have received whatever I needed with enough patience. On my 2nd (or 3rd) visit I realized the appropriate manner to obtain and purchase the beautiful buttons. The lovely “dragon lady” was very matter of fact, and you know, I actually appreciated her lack of pretense. She is very intense and can seem intimidating; though in reality she’s quite clairvoyant and giving! I left the shop with my beautiful buttons AND a button bracelet that she bestowed upon me as a gift. a sweet treat. My only regret is that I gave my buttons away as presents and now I haven’t any for myself and I am thousands of miles away! Go to her shop! It’s fantastic! … though you must love buttons!

  8. Two years after the op, same experience. This lady is incredibly rude, and doesn’t appear interested in helping you out.

  9. I hate those kind of people. I won’t be poping into her shop any time soon. Customer service is so important. I definately support your boycott.
    I’ve actually found an internet shop which sells button’s & is really easy to use….as well as cheap! They haven’t got the biggest selection in the world but just maybe the button that your looking for is in their selection. Try http://www.megafournituren.nl

  10. I also had this shop on my list for my next trip to Amsterdam – so disappointing to discover that others didn’t have a good experience there. 😦 The photos of the shop look so good too. I am tempted to try it myself anyway, as the lure of buttons is just too much. I’ve lived in the Netherlands for several years, so ‘forthright’ (I’m being diplomatic here 😉 ) manners don’t phase me much any more. I haven’t found a similar button shop (just buttons, not general haberdashery) near me (Noord Brabant). Although Smitjes in Eindhoven does have a lot of nice buttons, the shop is tiny and a bit cramped. I prefer my buttons to be free-range, not battery-farmed. 😀

  11. Ook ik ben in die winkel geweest samen met mijn moeder.
    Nog nooit ben ik zo onbeschoft behandeld als door dat wijf want een ander woord heb ik daar niet voor.
    Dat soort mensen zou niet in een winkel moeten staan.
    Ik kan iedereen sterk afraden om daar te kopen, ik heb er gewoon geen woorden voor en heb zelden meegemaakt dat iemand zo tegen andere mensen doet.
    Het is een DRAAK !!!!!

    Afz Anette en moeder

  12. Ik was vandaag in de betreffende knopenwinkel op de Herengracht en ook ik moet bevestigen dat de verkoopster onbeschoft, niet klantgericht en rondweg bot was. Geen aanrader dus. So dont go to this shop! Unless you are into SM or something and like to be treated as garbage…

    groetjes Loek

  13. How noble of you to protect the world from the terrible lady of the Knopenwinkel. How dare you judge a person you know nothing about. Who do you think your are. You have the nerve to complain about a shopkeeper when you walk in after closing hours to spend 45 minutes looking for one lousy button and you think that will make her day. I happen to know the lady is suffering from a disease that causes so much pain she sometimes can hardly stand on her feet. She spends all her free time taking care of two dying friends and has done many times before. Sometimes she has to drag herself to the shop to entertain hundreds of tourist who love to come into her shop and touch everything and not buy anything. I would love to see you with a big smile after a day like that. If you are looking for buttons or other beautiful products, like jewellery, bags, scarfs, paintings etc., the Knopenwinkel is the place to be. If you want to be treated like a queen, stay at home. Thank you.

    1. Well, I have known this shop owner since about twenty years (I used to visit her store in the Wolvenstraat as well) and she has always been the way most customers describe her: very unfriendly and sometimes even rude. This seems to be a matter of personality rather than of physical or other circumstances. My advice to her would be: run the business but have another, nicer, person deal with the customers.

  14. Nederlandse winkels hebben zich te houden aan de opgegeven openingstijden, anders krijgen ze een boete. Misschien is het goed om eerst eens de regels van een land te leren voor je kritiek levert.

  15. What nonsense! My friends and I have shopped at the Knopenwinkel for years, and have never experienced — nor observed — anything even close to what you report. Thea is a wonderful lady. She is friendly and helpful. But she is also a human being. Who knows, perhaps you caught her at a really bad moment. That is no reason to bad-mouth somebody.

    What if someone were to judge you merely on the basis of this one post on your site?

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