11 things Dutch shopkeepers will say to you

dutch cheeseYou thought going shopping was a great way to practise your Dutch on the natives? Indeed it is. But here are a few key phrases you really do need to watch out for.

Wil hij (of zij) misschien een plakje worst?
If the butcher likes you, possibly because you have just paid a fortune for a piece of meat, and you have a child with you, he will ask ‘would he (or she) like a piece of sausage?’ They invariably ask the parent, not the child who has no say in the matter. Some butchers have been known to offer sausage to dogs… who never say no.

Hoekje of plat?
You are now at the cheese shop. The cheese man wants to know if you want your piece of  cheese wedge-shaped or flat. Why is unclear. Possibly wedge people have big fridges with plenty of room while poorer people have to stack stuff. Or want to cut it into cubes.

Anders nog iets?
Anything else?

Mag het ietsje meer zijn?
Do you mind if it’s a bit more? This is usually a rhetorical question because the assistant has scooped too many olives into the plastic pot or cut too big a piece of cheese. You are free to object if you dare.

Met vijf maakt tien
Good shopkeepers don’t thrust your change into your hand.  They count it out. Their concluding phrase might be ‘and five makes ten’ (or any other amounts of course)

Gaat het zo mee?
This literally means ‘is it going with (you) like that?’ – a somewhat obscure way of saying ‘do you want a bag’.

Met staart? Uitjes en zuur erbij?
We’re at the fish stall  buying herring. Would you like the tail with that? the fishmonger will ask. You need the tail to dangle the herring over your mouth if you want to eat it that way.

Purists poo poo uitjes and zuur, this is why the fishmonger always ask you if you want them. Onions are onions but the pickle is only referred to by its taste: zuur or sour.

Meenemen of opeten?
Are you taking this home or eating it (here). The Dutch omit the ‘here’ which always suggests that when you take it home you will immediately throw it in the bin, and frankly if you buy a frikandel that is exactly what you should do.

Met of zonder?
Do you want your French fries with or without mayonnaise. With, please.

Papier of plastic?
You are at the health food shop for a change. You are buying a piece of spelt bread with chia seeds and the person at the bread section asks ‘would you like paper or plastic’ to put your loaf in. In that split second you have to consider which is better for the environment. Eh….

Fijne dagen!/Prettig weekend!
Fijne dagen (enjoyable days) is what shopkeepers wish harassed Christmas shoppers. Your prettig or fijn weekend, starts on Friday morning.

This article was first published on website Netherlands by Numbers

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