Friday, October 6, 2017

Marks & Spencer leaves the continent

Image via AD

I know, I know. It is old news that M&S is leaving The Hague. We heard they were closing down about a year ago but then it didn't happen and I kept secretly hoping their departure would be postponed forever.

Marks & Spencer opened in The Hague at the beginning of 2014, around the same time that our daughter Yu was born. I remember my parents coming back from the center on those first postpartum days  with tubs of their lemon curd yoghurt. I didn't know it would become such an important place for us, one of our safe places in the city. They had the loveliest cafĂ©, full of light, a view to the city, and a giant Escher painting. They served the nicest tea, cakes and of course scones with jam and clotted cream. Whenever we went for lunch there we always had their Tikka Masala chicken, with bread and mango chutney. Not only that but they had the most perfect -and private- changing room together with a giant breastfeeding seat.

Photo by Niki from Life in The Hague

I have memories of so many coffee dates with friends there: Yu and one of her best friends M. learning to crawl and then racing down the ramp that led to the tables by the windows. Getting lunch with my mom just a couple of months ago, heavily pregnant and dead tired from walking the city, having smoothies with a friend that has now moved to Scotland. Searching the aisles for their Empress Grey tea (often out of stock), so loved by many. Buying jelly fruits, chocolate and even an amazing penguin-party-at-the-igloo cake for Christmas.

Last Wednesday I was walking the center and I saw they were having a clearance sale. As in, everything should go, and then they leave. It was so sad to enter the building, find the 2nd floor was already empty and most of the stuff was gone. No baby clothing left (aside from a pack of 5 bodies and some summer hats), not one sad box of tea (all tea! gone!), just some random things around. I asked a manager if they were really doing that bad, but he said the decision was made to close down all European Marks & Spencer shops, not just the Dutch ones.

It feels so sad. I know I am not alone in the feeling. I know it's just a shop, but it feels a part of our early days is going.  Are there places in your city that make you feel like home and bring you back to happy times?

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