Every European and World Championship, with the participation of the Dutch team, it is a period of positive stress in the Netherlands for all soccer fans of the Dutch soccer team. Everyone wants to be home in time before the match starts and shopping is done beforehand.

Dutch roads are invariably full of traffic jams when the match starts early. Everyone wants to be home on time, so it’s safe to say that the Netherlands comes to a complete standstill as far as work is concerned a few hours before the match. Refrigerators are filled and crates of beer are piled up in the storeroom or shed. Entire streets in our country are decorated orange and on the corner of many streets a tent is set up to watch the game together. Pubs are full with a large screen on the ceiling and the tap is kept open for the match.

Not everyone has the time to prepare everything at home and then it is nice when the preparations are done by a roommate. So too for our soccer fan who drove his SRV wagon around town to provide his customers with groceries. 

The SRV originated in 1966 from the cooperation of a number of wholesalers who supplied mainly the milk trade throughout the Netherlands. The SRV formula was discontinued in 1995. The Marketing Center for Milk Retail (MCM BV) then came up with the “Springer & Partners” formula. In 2019, there were still about 100 mobile stores in the Netherlands.

The SRV formula

It was a top day for sales for the small SRV entrepreneur. Crates of beer were piled high on the back of his wagon and they sold well that day. Most housewives chose to purchase beer from him because it was delivered right to their door. They could almost set their watch by the time he drove down the street, foreshadowed by a bell he hung on the side of the wagon. That saved the housewives one or more unsteady rides with a full crate of beer on the back of the bike and because he also delivered cheese, sausage, chips, shot nuts and related products. He had to ride back to his warehouse several times to replenish his stock.

He was very anxious to complete his lap before the race. He had started his round extra early and returned home in time to prepare everything for the competition. But, as with all small business owners, that plan fell apart. That day became a race with time for him.

At home he had chilled the beer and filled his refrigerator with all the goodies packed, he just had to cut up the cheese and sausage. The night before, he had done all the shopping in his own SRV truck. Help was on the way that day, his daughter was home that morning and had heard her father come home several times to replenish his supplies. At that moment, she decided to help her father prepare for his soccer night.

The living room was cleaned, his easy chair was set up in front of the television, with a small table next to it for snacks and drinks. She watered the flowers in the room and then walked to the kitchen to prepare two plates full of appetizers. After a while everything was ready and the plates were placed neatly covered in the refrigerator next to the bottles of beer.

By the end of the afternoon, his round was over. With the last customer, he was also almost through his beer, cheese, sausage and nuts supply. He would have to replenish those the next morning, but for now he would hurry home and watch soccer. 

Arriving home, he found his lovely chair in a living room decorated with orange garlands. Meanwhile, his daughter had left for work and on the small table he found a letter saying ‘You will find everything inside the refrigerator. Have fun!’ 

Gratefully he grabbed the plates and some beer from the fridge and brought everything the small table in the living room. Just a little longer and the game would begin. June 21, 1988 and everything was ready for the semi-final between the Netherlands and Germany. 

He turned on the television, suddenly a bright flash, a loud bang and a white cloud of smoke rose from the back of the television cabinet toward the ceiling. Bewildered by what had happened, he sat down in his chair. His evening of semifinals had just gone up in smoke. 

On the other side of his chair was a small table with the telephone. A short moment later the phone rang at our house. My father picked up and was told by the soccer fan, “My television has exploded! I need your help!

He was lucky, I had my driver’s license and was able to provide him with another set so he could go watch the game. I quickly drove to the store and called the customer to inquire about his desire. He told me that he really wanted a new device. ‘Not a complicated set with remote control, as big as I have now and you don’t have to set all the channels. As long as I can watch soccer tonight’.

The device was put in the car and delivered to the customer by me. The soccer fan remained in his seat from the moment the new device was in the cabinet, plugged in and turned on. In the meantime, the match had started. The old device was put in the car and taken away by me. ‘We’ll call tomorrow to find out what happened to the device’. I was waved off contentedly with the message ‘You’ll figure it out huh? Thanks man!

The next day, Jaap had found the cause and upon inquiry with our soccer fan, his diagnosis was correct. While taking care of the plants, the daughter had also watered the flower pots on the television cabinet. On the underside of one of the flower pots was a hole where the water was leaking back out from underneath. The saucer under the flower pot was filled so quickly and the water began to run over the edge through the back into the cabinet. Right above the high voltage area in the television. With the power on, over 25000 volts flashed through the unit. With a bang and cloud of white smoke, everything in the back of the unit shattered beyond repair.

The new device was sold, the channels were programmed the next day, and the shocked daughter was comforted. The evening’s damage was saved by a wonderful 2-1 win by the Netherlands over Germany. Much of the match I was not able to see for myself, but I heard sounds of victory until late in the evening in our city.

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