Friday, 9 July 2010

Crisps on amazon: end times?




My wife just mentioned Fearne Cotton, and I always get her mixed up with Fern Britton. Anyway, this led to a brief conversation about This Morning, during which I learned it is now presented by Peter Andre and Holly Willoughby. For some reason, this reminded me of a couple of Tweets that I saw a few days ago about the fact that one can now buy crisps and other snacks on amazon.co.uk, whose authors suggested that this portended apocalypse.

I was having lunch the other day with a newly appointed (lucky fellow) lecturer in International Political Economy whose research specialism is the political economy of food, and we got talking about supermarkets (principally Tesco) and their economic vacuum effect, as outlined in the excellent book Tescopoly: the way they suck money out of a local community rather than allowing it to circulate within that economy, and at the same time de-skill the labour force, narrowing and reducing the quality of the types of job available. Someone else chipped in to talk about a man who used to go door to door offering video rental! - sadly too a thing of the past.

Amazon extending their repertoire is clearly more economic consolidation and vacuuming, but there's also something peculiar about using an interface geared towards selling music, DVDs, books and consumer electronics to buy Snaps Spicy Tomato (21g). There are only 3 left in stock - amazon urges me to order soon! These particular crisps aren't available from sellers other than amazon, but I believe others are - though not second hand, I would hope ('used, like new?'). I can read some product details to do with the crisps: how big the box they come in is, how quickly I should eat them. I can write a review to say how much I like or dislike the crisps, and give them a star rating. Not only can I buy them, I can add them to my 'wish list' - make them something I aspire to one day own. (Going back to the apocalypse theme: this kind of reminded me of the quiz show sketch on Mitchell and Webb which takes place after what is always only referred to as 'the event' and which repeatedly and to great comic effect exhorts its audience to 'please, remain indoors', where a pile of fuel is a similarly coveted item: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga_rCnueID8.)

Scrolling down, I am disappointed to report that this is actually, apparently, not a new thing at all: Snaps Spicy Tomato were first available on amazon in December 2007. Or perhaps, 1984-style, amazon are re-writing their history. I sense I am probably now going too far...

2 comments:

  1. I can't help but wonder what the packaging will look like if you order crisps from Amazon. It's almost worth ordering a bag to see.

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