|Normally, the child corral is packed full, but when you arrive as the store opens, you get to miss some of the dramatic pleas.|
Don't worry, it's nothing sinister. Albert Heijn, one of the Dutch grocery chains we frequent, periodically has gimmicky give-aways that especially attract children. Back in autumn, for every €5 spent in the store, Albert Heijn gave away collector's animal cards and had a whole bunch of related junk. That's when we first saw the corrals for children. Kids will line up outside the store and beg for extras of the give away item; and the more grey in your hair, the louder the children yell to you, the logic being that you don't have children of your own to bring the junk home to. To contain the children and limit the pestering of the customers, the store will lay some stocking carts on their sides to create an area to keep the kids within a reasonable distance of the doors.
Currently, for every €15 Albert Heijn is giving away keukenminis - tiny plastic kitchen utensils and foods, so the corral has reappeared. The sign in the picture above essentially says, "Beggers of keukenminis, get in the box." It's actually much more polite in Dutch, but basically means the same thing. This may not happen everywhere in the Netherlands, but it's down the street from us, and totally funny to me.