The possibility to shop by appointment creates “a lot of hassle” at bookstore chains Bruna and AKO. In practice, about 150 branches can now have many more customers at the same time than the maximum of two prescribed by the government. This is because those stores also have service points for PostNL and ING.
There are also customers who have ordered something via the webshop and come to collect it at the door. It happens that people try to enter without an appointment.
“All this creates a lot of confusion and hassle,” says a spokesman for parent company Audax. “We have to check at the door, also because people come without an appointment. And in practice the ten-minute rule is difficult or impossible to control.”
According to the government website, postal parcels or products for repair and maintenance may be delivered to the store in addition to the two customers present there for remote shopping. The shopkeeper must then provide good signage. These people are not allowed to buy anything else in addition to their postal business, because an appointment must be made in good time.
Store staff and customers are happy that people can visit the stores by appointment again, according to Audax, but the group thinks it is a “drop in the ocean” from an economic point of view. Audax has been arguing for some time for its stores to be labeled as essential, so that they can open completely again.
“In our opinion newspapers, magazines and books are part of the basic needs. This is the case almost everywhere abroad. The Netherlands is an exception to this.”