Recently I was reminded of this exchange in the classic Sherlock Holmes story “Silver Blaze”:
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
And so to the curious incident of the Co-op sales assistant and the Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar flavoured Kettle Chips. Everyone knows the value of Kettle Chips: they are both a good source of post drinking nutrition and an easy to prepare breakfast. Their salt and vinegar crisps are particularly appealing to the connoisseur, offering a good, sharp, bite and oak-aged Modena vinegar.
Thus one night, having had my body once more tortured trying to keep up with Eddie, the eager, legal beagle’s excesses; I called in for some late night help. The local Co-op is always a reliable, if expensive (except when it’s 2 for £2), source. However, on this occasion, the cupboard was completely bare. Enquiries met with the response that they would be on the shelves tomorrow.
So, come tomorrow, I set forth with high expectations. Still nothing on the shelves. Apparently there is a Kettle Chip shortage, explains the assistant. They don’t know when they will be next coming in. Really? Dejectedly I returned home. Later I had reason to call in again for something else. Consider my puzzlement on discovering their shelves now groaning under the weight of Lightly Salted, Ready Salted and, frustratingly, Sweet Chilli. My inquiry as to the fate of the Kettle Chip shortage was met by a shrug of the shoulders.
Reluctantly I decided to take my business to those most successful of grocers, Tesco. Normally I try to limit my visits to Tesco to special occasions-shoplifting practice, hiding the Daily Mail in the freezer and that sort of thing. But the craving was simply too great. Once more, however, I was met with disappointment, with the shelves stubbornly empty of crisp nirvana. A gross failure of the “free” market system? Or a cleverly orchestrated conspiracy? You decide.
A helpful assistant suggested Burt’s as an alternative. They are from Devon and have a good reputation. However, I am not familiar with Burt’s and so unsure of their abilities. I may have been willing to experiment on this occasion, but the lack of a salt and vinegar option deterred me. The visit was not a complete waste, though. I picked up some Brewdog Punk IPA at 99p each or 4 for £4. And a new, rather yummy, cheese they were promoting-Isle of Man Vintage Cheddar. Oh and I managed to put the Daily Mail where it belonged, right next to the Beano.
In case you were worried, the story has a happy ending. I eventually reached the end of the rainbow at Asda where the rare Wave Cut style were on offer.