Albert Heijn raises security concerns after refusing Zwarte Piet ban

Albert Heijn is concerned about the security of their staff after the supermarket refused to ban Zwarte Piet. A strict Zwarte Piet manual has therefore been sent to all 850 Albert Heijn branches in the country with instructions on how to deal with difficult situations regarding the controversial character.

"It may be that customers of your store can not see our position. Indicate that we are sincerely sorry that cultural practices surrounding the beloved Sinterklaas festival can also be hurtful", the manual reads according to the Telegraaf.

Employees are instructed to keep calm and immediately call in security if a Zwarte Piet discussion escalates in the store. They should also avoid joining the discussion on either side and arguing with customers. Talking to reporters about Zwarte Piet incidents is out of the question.

There are also detailed instructions on what to do about customers who do become angry. "You may indicate that it is indeed a complicated political discussion and that we hope the consultation between the politicians and interest groups will come up with a future-proof interpretation of the Sinterklaas festival."

Zwarte Piet related incidents must also immediately be reported to headquarters, and exactly as the form instructs. "By making reports in the above mentioned manner, we can monitor the national sentiment."

The document finally gives Albert Heijn employees strict rules on how Zwarte Piet should be depicted in the store. "Note that this is not a caricature, but a fun, enthusiastic, contemporary Piet."