Monday, May 12, 2008

"Taste Crips for yourself!"

There's a new snack in jolly old England, our Mother Country.

CRIPS are all the things you love about traditional crisps, but better. We bake them with just a suggestion of sunflower oil and heaps of natural flavour for a tasty crunch with nearly four times less fat than potato crisps.

I learned about this company from a message to a list of disability activists. I couldn't resist contacting the company.

Hello there ...

I assume someone within the company or the marketing group understood that "crips" is USA slang for a person with a physical disability. Of course, it is used in polite company only by people who are crips. Or possibly "gimps" (another slang term). It's a bit of wry, self-deprecating humor.

I'm certain because I am a crip. Or a gimp. Which ever you prefer. In fact, I've written a book about being a crip, which will be published this year by the University of Iowa Press. You can learn more at my website.

For whatever reason, this particular crip doesn't find the name of your product offensive. I'm hearing it discussed by other crips online here in the USA, and so far the general mood seems to be one of bemusement.

And curiosity. Did the company choose the name knowing it is a slang term for a person with a physical disability?

Wonderingly yours,

Gary, who also thinks he'll give you a bit of publicity via his blog.

And soon received a polite and informative email from a man named Karl at the Crips snack company.

Dear Gary

Many thanks for your email. We use the word "Crips" as it is an anagram of "Crisp" which is the UK term for "Chips".

The majority of children in the UK tend to call crisps crips, and the 'sps' bit of it is also quite difficult for a lot of non English speakers to say! The word "Crips" is familiar to Brits as a crisp or chip. Hope that all makes sense!

I had a nice chat with a lady called Caroline Long this morning on the same subject, who also said that a friend of hers in the US had picked up on our use of the word. Do you guys know each other?

Obviously we do not wish to cause any upset or offence and would be happy to support any blogging that you do by responding to any enquiries about our name. We were not aware that it is a commonly used term among the disabled community in the US, and I am glad that it does not seem to be causing offence at present.

I am happy to send you our newsletter, 'The Growler' (the title of which has also caused some bemusement, which I would be happy to explain at a later date!) to keep you up to date with our progress as a small family business. Our CRIPS are available in around 350 independent stores across the UK, and also in 90 Waitrose stores.

I would be interested in reading your book, please let me know when you have it published. Also I will have a look at your website and blogspot at home tonight.

Thanks again for letting us know, and please don't hesitate to contact Wendy, Gareth or myself if you require anything further

Best regards


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