Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


My shortcomings as a writer and as a human being (abridged)

irish economy
For the past couple of months I’ve been writing a column for The Dubliner. It’s a much more taxing job then I had anticipated. I’m expected to offer coherent thoughts on some topic of contemporary relevance each week. This isn’t easy for me.

It wouldn’t be a problem, I suppose, if I actually gave a shite about the economy or knew what NAMA was or any of that. But that’s never going to happen. I’ve never opened a bank statement in my life. I’m not going to suddenly pretend I’m Eddie Hobbs. This isn’t to suggest that I don’t have interests and preoccupations. I do. My concern, I suppose, would be that these might seem trivial compared to the weightier issues of the day.

Take this crisps thing I’ve been noticing lately. I think crisps are delicious. I’d eat a packet nearly every lunchtime. But I can’t help noticing how many shops stock crisps that are out-of-date. This is far too commonplace an occurrence to be written off as a coincidence.

One shop which shall remain nameless – okay, Spar in Temple Bar square – seems only to stock salt and vinegar Tayto and King crisps that are past (or almost past) their best-before dates. What’s worst is that this shop must have one of the highest turnovers of any convenience store in the whole country.

The only logical explanation then is that shop owners are buying in near gone-off crisps on the cheap with no regard for their loyal customers. This shit never happens with bread or milk. But obviously retailers think us crisp eaters are mild mannered people. That they think they can fuck with us without repercussion.

Well, Spar owners, you’re probably right. Speaking for myself anyway, I almost always just throw stale crisps in the bin. I don’t think I’ve ever returned a pack of crisps in my life in fact.

Well, that’s all from me then.


P.S. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about crisps. I wrote about them here too. It could be said even that I’m Tim Burton and crisps are my Helena Bonham Carter. But that might be stretching it a bit. I dunno.

May 19th, 2010.

27 Responses to “My shortcomings as a writer and as a human being (abridged)”

  1. Conal Says:

    To the streets comrade!

  2. Paddy Says:

    Much ado over cow traffic…

  3. emordino Says:

    I brought a pack of gone-off chicken back to Londis the other week and got a replacement, no questions asked. After that minor triumph, I’m well up for sticking it to Big Cornershop.

  4. Denise Says:

    What if you were Helena Bonham Carter and crisps were Tim Burton. Did you ever consider that huhuh?

  5. Colin Says:

    Selling out of date crisps used to be a fixture of small corner shops run by eccentrics but yer right it’s now common to find them in Spar or Costcutter. Worst stale crisp has to go to the puffed variety like Monster Munch, Snaps or Chipsticks. Be our voice, Eoin, stop the spoil!

    And Tim Burton is stuck with the Ready Salted Helena, what he really wants is Johnny Depp’s Prawn Cocktail.

  6. Darragh Says:

    And waddabout the not-to-be-resold multipack colas? Not that they are gone off or anything, but whenever I see them on the single items shelf in a Spar my blood pressure rises a little.

    Also – I think centras keep the lights on their fridges but the temperature turned off.

    Emordino’s right, someone needs to stick it to big cornershop!

  7. Eoin Says:

    Spar actually is big business, albeit probably franchised – but McDonalds is franchised and that doesn’t people hating on them.

    Maybe Spar just needs some kind of Ronald McDonald-esque corporate mascot to act as a lightening rod for my outrage – that tree ain’t doing it for me.

  8. Fintan Says:

    I have no job and a mortgage but this crisp allegations if proven really puts things in perspective..

  9. Fintan Says:

    P.S. Only joshin you. I’m not really unemployed and I don’t really have a mortgage but you see my point.

  10. Conal Says:

    Spar is German for “saving”. Definitely lost something in the translation there.

    Interestingly Mace is Albanian for “cat”, Centra is Welsh for “hazard”, and SuperValu is Estonian for “SuperPain”. Oh and homestead is Swahili for “cola makes your penis sting”

  11. Eoin Says:

    @ Conal – I once told my sister that Londis was the Roman god of convenience and she believe me.

    @ Fintan – that’s some nice joshing there, although the work email address did kind of give you away.

  12. Dan Says:

    Temple bar shops main customers are americans tourists in leprechaun hats and winos. So they’re probably not worried about losing repeat business.

  13. Mark Says:

    I would say that you’re Richie Kavanagh, and crisps are your ‘focal’.

  14. Eoin Says:

    @ Dan – true, true

    @ Mark – I’d have a couple of issues with the Richie Kavanagh analogy. Kavanagh knows no focal at all, whereas I’m actually quite the crisp connoisseur…

    Given my tempestuous relationship with the crisp maybe I’m Werner Herzog and crisps are my Klaus Kinski?

  15. Lisa Says:

    You are Boswell and crisps are your Samuel Johnson.

  16. Eoin Says:

    Well, I’ve have lunch with cheese and onion crisps every day of the week, and I haven’t heard one bon mot out of them yet.

  17. Lisa Says:

    Pssh all biography is fiction anyway.

  18. not donal skehan Says:

    speaking of food i remember you interviewed me and somebody made some hillarious comments after about a mar dhea twitter account and
    @i’m after buying a magnum
    @rome was awes
    @eating apples with fearne cotton wet cotton wool not my joke fern.
    but no.gone.wonder what happened there?

    @congeners tannins bisque recepie http://www.twitpic/reuhferf44743
    @vinb barney joyce made a mug of you last night,oh yes.
    @you are a sound man and you have a great heart
    @magic fruit plus scrambled egg,magic berry plus fried egg,it’s too much i have.
    @gave a dog a bone there he only looked at me?i’ve good mind to eat his leg.
    @served tom doorley-imagine!
    @reheating my dinner-supermacs chips like,dunno whats wrong,couldn’t even be bothered picking the rasins out of the alpen couldn’t.even.be.bothered.
    @ heston and it’s not about your vorsprung durch technik
    @mandela will be free fifty pence in quinnsworth
    @found hair in lidl chorizo-to.the.bank.
    @low low ad i like it its nice to see people enjoying gatt hi girls :-0
    @wearing a bib
    @i think i’m ready for ice
    @ill eat the whole thing if i’m not careful!
    @ate a whole stilton am i depressed?
    @re the guy who invented yogurts(sure he’ll never read this!)
    @via iphone eating a magnum nice but too rich?hmmm………….-8

  19. Eoin Says:

    @ Lisa – maybe I should branch out into Crisp-based Fan Fiction. “Cheese and Onion had only intended to have a quiet drink after a tough day at the office. Just then Prawn cocktail dropped by in a slinky black dress and pulled up a stool etc. etc.”

    Yes, I’m imaging different flavours of crisps having sex with each other. Christ, I need help.

    @ Dan – will you promise me one thing. Don’t ever track me down and kill me. Does that sound fair?

  20. not donal skehan Says:


  21. Darragh Says:

    aldi crisps are actually class. just thought i’d throw that in there.

  22. Eoin Says:

    Hmmm… I’ll have to try them. I’ve still never been in an Aldi or a Lidl. Although I presume you’d have to buy like a 50-pack or something.

    I’m no great shakes at moderation. If they’re that nice it could be dangerous…

  23. Darragh Says:

    They come in sort of Kettle chips-sized bags and the range is called ‘specially selected’ – dangerous enough because you’d easily monster one jumbo bag through a DVD, for example. The cheese and onion have an incredible crunch to them.

  24. Darragh Says:

    Oh christ – that comment makes me look like some sort of Aldi street-team saddo. I’ll counterbalance by saying their pickled onions are soggy abominations.

  25. Fenster Says:

    do you mean the centra, or is it actually a londis, the one that runs the length of Merchants Arch? I buy crisps there a lot, i shall be more vigiliant in future

  26. Eoin Says:

    Not great with the names – talking about the long walk-through shop that opens onto the Ha’penny Bridge side on one end, and Temple Bar square on the other end. Salt and vinegar always gone off.

  27. Bruce Says:

    They come in sort of Kettle chips-sized bags and the range is called ‘specially selected’ – dangerous enough because you’d easily monster one jumbo bag through a DVD, for example. The cheese and onion have an incredible crunch to them.

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