by Dogpatch Press Staff
Welcome to Dutch furry guest writer Jack Newhorse.
Albert Heijn is the biggest supermarket chain in The Netherlands, a country of 17 million people in northwestern Europe. Its hamster mascot is often seen in video ads and in the weekly circular. And for those who don’t mind seeing a (toy) hamster being ripped to shreds, it’s even available as a squeaky dog toy.
The Dutch word for hoarding is hamstering (“hamsteren”): The mascots were created for promotions that encourage consumers to stock up. You don’t “squirrel it away” there, you hamster it away!
But the “AH” hamsters were forced back into their burrows when the wordplay that brought them to life became grim. As hoarding led to depleted shelves in the first weeks of COVID-19, the grocery’s “hamsterweken” (hamster week) sales seemed inappropriate. Within a few days, the hamsters were gone.