09 December 2008

Amsterdam Saturday

*x-mas_queens, originally uploaded by rbrtdotbiz.

We arrived at the Bijenkorf in Amsterdam at the same time as these fabulous ladies were turning up in three separate horse drawn carriages, if you can believe that. We would have been late if we'd tried to plan it, but since we were there on a mission, we were right on time for the madness. Our rare and daring trip was to return our espresso machine. We love it, but it's recently developed a rust spot that I'm hoping they will fix so the machine doesn't slowly fall apart. But there's a real story to tell here.

Our first dilemma was deciding whether to go by train or car to the store. We had to move the espresso machine (weighs 12 kg) and Peanut (current weight 6kg+) and ourselves. With the car it's easy to move stuff and bodies, plus you can park at the Bijenkorf. Costs an arm and a leg, but you can park there. Unfortunately, driving into downtown Amsterdam is a miserable experience and probably worse with a crying baby. With the train, you have to move all the stuff, but no driving hassles, the tram stops in front of the Bijenkorf, and it is a bit nicer for ye olde environment. We opted for the train. So, that's F with the espresso machine, nicely packed up in its original box, on the back of his bicycle walking next to me and the stroller to the train station in Haarlem. One train to Amsterdam central and a tram to the Bijenkorf.

When we arrived, the entrance to the store was mobbed. It was confusing at first, but then we figured out that there were these lovely ladies arriving. Unfortunately, we've 18kg of stuff and baby to deal with and however lovely they are, we'd rather just get into the store. F was much more mobile than me and made pretty good time, although he apparently did get caught in the photographic cross-fire at one point. I got told off a couple times for daring to move (off the street, towards the door), wrestled with a tiny revolving door, and made it inside, hoping to find F. Once we found each other, our goal was to find the elevator and get upstairs to customer service.

Needless to say, on the first Saturday of December, department stores are packed. It was a challenge to move forward at all, but we managed with a bit of patience and a couple nice loud "excuse mes". We stopped to ask a store employee where the elevator was when the bottom fell out of the box - and the espresso machine, too. There we stood with our stroller and empty box and espresso machine and parts all over the floor, just steaming with frustration. Suddenly, the rust spot that prompted this whole trip seemed immaterial. The fall broke a piece off of the plastic reservoir and bent part of the metal casing so that the back flap would not close anymore.

We picked up the machine and box separately and made our way through the crowds to the elevator and up to customer service where we told our story. Clearly, the fall and resulting damage were not covered by the factory guarantee that would hopefully cover the rust damage. We argued that had there not been any rust damage, the machine would have never left our house and therefore never been able to fall and, lucky for us, they agreed. If the company does not cover the damage, then the Bijenkorf is going to pay for the repairs.

So there you have it. The story of how our weekend intersected with three lovely models and why we love stores with good customer service!


  1. wow! well done!
    amsterdam+baby+12kg of coffee machine, all in one go?! amazing...
    btw: are you aware that little peanuts have a tendency to learn really quickly to operate espresso machines?! after that, you'll have to BEG your little barista for coffee...and since they are easily distracted, your caffeine fix might take a while! if that happens, give me a call: I have a list of tricks you can try!

  2. who in the world are the xmas queens and did they show up just to foil you?? what were they thinking?!

    but amazing story of derring-do. where did the machine rust? now i'm getting worried for mine at home!

  3. Manu - thanks! I have to admit that we're already wondering if the car might be a better option for picking the thing up. As for Peanut and the espresso machine - is this something that comes before or after walking? I'm totally hooked on my coffee since getting that machine, so it could be a problem!

    Myyear: it was on the machine housing at the edge of the seam where the water tray slides in. Does that make sense?

  4. Well, I think MFSJ started after she learnt to walk...but I forgot when we got the machine!
    Now our barista makes coffee for us...the picture you see here is more than a year old!


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