Friday 20 March 2015

Knotty solution

When I first started going in pubs, I rapidly picked up the habit – possibly from my dad – of tying empty crisp packets into a little knot so they took up less space and so could easily be placed into an ashtray. Yes, kids, in those days every pub table had an ashtray.

A few years later, I remember doing this in a remote country pub in Sussex and the grumpy landlord saying “I bet you used to make model aeroplanes when you were younger”. Which I actually didn’t, but you understand the point. I still do it, and friends view me seizing on a stray crisp packet as a form of OCD. I never embraced folding the packets into little triangles, though.

I recently came across this article on How to Eat Crisps* and was rather gratified to read the following, which confirms my view:

In public, where you might not bin it immediately, fold the packet lengthways into a narrow strip and then tie a knot in it. People who fold the packet into a tight, precise triangle are psychopaths.
Apparently, the UK consumes more crisps than the rest of the EU put together. And, the question of what you do with your rubbish in the pub following the demise of the ashtray, which I mentioned here, has still not been solved. It seems that you just leave it on the table and wait for a member of staff to clear it away.

* what next? “How to wipe your arse”?


  1. On wiping your arse, from a punter perspective the bog roll, if there, is free. Use as many sheets as you like per wipe, double 'em up so your finger doesn't go through. Flushing is optional and it's always good to leave a floater. In a small pub where it's one in one out, always say "I'd give that ten minutes, pal" when you leave.

  2. The ashtray is for ash and for extinguishing cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Nothing worse than crisp eaters ruining the ashtray.

  3. Martin, Cambridge20 March 2015 at 19:00

    Trust Cookie to miss your serious point. I always take glasses back to the bar but you'd never leave other rubbish in the counter, would you ? The iss UE of hot nuts container disposal was only keeping me awake this week.

  4. An archeologist friend of mine pointed out anther delightful aspect to tying crisp packets into knots. If enough of us do it, they'll survive into the archelogical record, and in a few hundred years some poor bugger of an archeologist is going to have to come up with a theory to explain them. Chances are knotted crisp packets will be probably ritual

  5. 'People who fold the packet into a tight, precise triangle are psychopaths.' This is clearly rubbish, as I have done so for more than 40 years. Good thing they're no longer flammable though. Back in nineteen seventy something the confluence of empty, greasy Smiths packets and tab ends in the ashtray caused a small but spectacular blaze one Monday night in the Red Lion in Earsdon (far to the north of your home turf Curmudgeon). To this day I can hear Big Margie the landlady: "gan on son, set the rest of the fuckin' place alight. Ye're barred, aal barred! Noo fuck off!!" Ah, those were the days.

  6. I remember picking up the habit of folding crisp packets, back in the late 1970’s; from a girlfriend I had at the time. I don’t bother now, as for starters there are no longer any ashtrays in licensed premises, but also because most pubs charge an absolute fortune for what is already an over-priced commodity. A quid for a bag of crisps; you’ve got to be kidding.

    ps. I see Cookie’s on form. His last comment about allowing the air to clear reminds me of a particularly uncouth school mate. He wasn’t normally joking though when he came out with that comment, but that’s more than enough on that subject!

  7. "People who fold the packet into a tight, precise triangle are psychopaths."

    ah..guilty as charged.
    and nothing more annoying than a packet that wont fold precisely.

  8. "'People who fold the packet into a tight, precise triangle are psychopaths.' This is clearly rubbish, as I have done so for more than 40 years."


  9. It is an art form, nutter or not.

  10. I do mine with a knot. Spotted an old mate of mine in Scotland doing it in about 1976 and have done so ever since.

  11. I have an original Tandleman knotted crisp packet on a chain around my neck with a certificate of authenticity. Picked it up on a twissup. Genuine beer blog heirloom.

  12. I too make triangles. Don't think I'm a psychopath but I do have a black belt in origami.


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