Visiting nude saunas is fine, selling on King’s Day is not

Our regular columnist Molly Quell has made some bad decisions in her life. Setting up a stand on King’s Day may have been the worst. 

Months ago, it didn’t seem like a bad idea. It seemed like a fun lark.

I was wandering through the disorganised halls of a second hand shop with a friend and we stopped to admire a shelf of things that we both had a weakness for: cute little pots.

We loved them. Vintage shops were constantly stocked with every possible shape, size, texture and colour.

But one only needs so many cute little pots. And, frankly, we both had exceeded that amount a dozen-cute-little-pots ago. Yet the drive was there and an idea was born. What if we collected all the cute little pots we had, stuffed them full of another thing we had too much of but could stop getting more of – plants – and sold them on King’s Day?

We had no illusion that this was a money making venture. Our plan was to sell out and take the proceeds to the nearest bar. We just wanted to send some pots to a good home and have a nice time.

A few weeks ahead of the monarch’s birthday, my friend called to discuss the details. “What time should we get there?” she asked.

I started asking around to other friends who had previously slung their wares amidst all of the orange. “Early,” everyone said. “Very early.” “Extremely early.”

As a morning person by nature, I wasn’t too intimidated by the insistence that we had to be out before 6 am to secure a good spot. My friend, however, was aghast.

I was secretly pleased the whole plan was about to fall apart. I hadn’t even started making any plant clippings. But she’s stubborn and was determined to power through. We were committed.

A week ahead we started to look at the weather. It didn’t look good. It’s April in the Netherlands. Of course it didn’t look good. We checked compulsively even though it’s widely known that weather predictions more than five minutes into the future are useless in this country.

In order to get an early start, she stayed over the night before. I, as a very annoying morning person, wasn’t terribly upset at the 4:45 am alarm. My friend was substantially less pleased. “This was the worst idea we’ve ever had,” she muttered.

For the next few hours, I would agree with her.

Arrival and the initial setup went fine. Everyone was friendly and we got a great spot. We knew the weather was calling for a bit of rain but it didn’t seem too bad. And we had some umbrellas, hot tea and a positive outlook on life.

It didn’t last long.

The skies, already looking ominous, waited until we were finished setting up to impart upon yes what felt like years of pent up aggression.

It poured for two and half hours.

Now, fortunately, we managed to stay dry under our umbrellas and could stash our belongings under our table. We’d nabbed a slightly elevated spot, so while folks with their miscellaneous crap spread on the ground were desperately trying to keep their belongings from drifting out to sea, we stacked ours up on some plastic crates and had nary a worry.

Our secret weapon, it turned out, was what we decided to sell. All the plants got a good soak and were unscathed.

Of course, we did spend the rest of the day answering with obligatory laughter as every single person made a joke about how the plants were well watered.

We packed up in the afternoon with a few plants left, which we donated to the plant library around the corner. We had no idea how much money we made.

A lady with handmade baskets set up directly across from us and we immediately spent all the money we had for change on baskets. Then we bought tompouce.

It will come as no surprise that I will not be doing this again.

I’m glad I have ticked the box of selling crap on King’s Day. I’ve elevated my integration level even further. But the sauna was a much more pleasurable Dutch experience, if equally as damp.

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