We won’t make any bones about this, Six and Sons on Haarlemmerdijk is our favourite store in Amsterdam. It’s a pleasure to browse it without aim, a joy to give a gift from its beautiful range of products, and a complete delight when you decide that actually, you deserve a treat just for yourself.
And a treat it is. Because there is absolutely nothing in this store that you’ll ever need, just bags and bags of things that you really, really want in your life.
You will already own something it stocks. Let’s say it’s something very functional and everyday like a wallet or dishtowel, but Six and Sons shows you another wallet or dishtowel that is unequivocally Better Than Yours.
Maybe the wallet or dishtowel you already have needs replacing for some reason. Maybe you weren’t super happy with it when you bought it, or perhaps it was a gift from that aunt who doesn’t share your taste but you use it because it’s just a wallet or dishtowel. It’s functional, it’s inoffensive.
Well in Six and Sons, the voice in your head – the one that likes nice things – might get louder. It says ‘well, now’s the time’, and gives you caveats to use so you can maybe-possibly-kinda justify replacing the wallet or dishtowel you really weren’t thinking about until you walked in. You already have one, but you just want this one. Anyway, it’s only a wallet or dishtowel; it won’t break the bank.
Then before you’ve finished that thought your eyes will have darted across to the perfectly merchandised dresser at something else; something you don’t already have a decent version of at all, something more luxurious than the wallet or dishtowel that you’re clutching and pretending not to think about.
Your horizons have been broadened by that lovely wallet or dishtowel and now there’s this good value picnic blanket, or maybe something made of enamel, or possibly a pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses that are speaking to you which are just at the top end of your imaginary sunglasses budget.
This is the point where you start having to make decisions, because you’re no longer looking at trinkets and souvenirs for about 30 units of your local currency. Now you’re looking at things which will appear in your friends’ photos at picnics. Really nice things that people will notice and compliment you about. Do you put stuff back? Or do find another way to justify having them in your life?
Well, you do need that wallet actually, but maybe you can give the dishtowel as a gift – it’s a pretty unique pattern slash better quality than usual, and it’s square! Then there’s that wedding coming up; why don’t you give that lovely picnic blanket to them? They won’t get that at home. And it’s really lovely.
So you picked up six things, two go back onto the shelf and you walk out having paid for four. Two of which are presents. Presents are things for other people so that means you’re a good person and you deserve those two items you bought just for yourself. Right? Right.
Don’t worry, we’ve been there and can assure you… you really did need that wallet, and the newlyweds will adore their new picnic blanket. You did well.