In 2020 alone, over 284 million Americans have eaten potato chips. In other words, more than a third of the country has, somewhere, somehow, at some point, at least tasted a chip. That number alone should explain just how popular this snack has been over the past several decades. And with so much product variety out there, that number is not going down any time soon.
Of course, there is a bit of a problem when it comes to eating chips. Namely, they are quite noisy. Indeed, you can quite easily recognize both the sound of the bag being opened and the sound of the chip being eaten. In fact, both sounds have become a bit of a pop-cultural phenomenon. And the sound is fine enough if you’re in your room, by yourself, but it’s a whole other matter when you’re eating somewhere else, like a library or a cafe — places where you can’t make a lot of noise.
In this article, you’ll find out how you can open a bag of chips quietly. Each of these methods will help you eat your crispy snack in peace without disturbing the people seated around you.
Why Is the Bag of Chips So Loud?
Before getting to the methods of bag opening, let’s first quickly focus on why the bags themselves are so loud. After all, why not just pack chips in a silent paper bag or in a can, like Pringles?
Well, the reason behind the bag’s loudness actually makes a lot of sense. Part of the appeal of potato chips is precisely the crunchy, crackly noise they make while you chew on them. With that in mind, manufacturers purposefully make the bags as loud and raspy as possible in order to make that crunching stand out more.
During one study conducted at Oxford University, Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology, examined what effect the noise from bags of chips have on consumers. The participants of the study were instructed to wear noise-canceling headphones and eat their chips without being able to hear the crunching. Most of the participants reported that the chips had a stale taste, despite all of the packets being brand-new and freshly opened.
Spence claims that the noise of the packet is there to emphasize the noise you associate with the chips, i.e., the louder and cracklier, the better they will taste. It’s no different to hearing the sound of a champagne cork popping or the sizzle of pork on a skewer.
Opening a Bag of Chips Quietly: List of Methods
1. Do It Slowly
More often than not, when you feel like eating chips in a quiet, enclosed space, you will have nothing on you but the bag itself and your own two hands. With that in mind, you will need to learn how to handle a bag with no tools, and that’s easier said than done.
The method of slowly opening a bag of chips consists of the following steps:
When pulling the packet of chips out of your backpack or the desk, you must make sure not to apply any pressure on it. The second you grab it with your hands, you will create a rustling noise. Alternatively, the sleek packaging can even cause a squeal, similar to the squeal of fingers running against the surface of a balloon.
Instead, handle the packet by one of the seams. The best way to go about it is to grab the seam by the corners and slowly pull it out. In addition, make sure the packet doesn’t bump into anything while you’re taking it out (like the walls of the backpack, for instance).
When the bag is out, locate where the opening seam is. When you do, use both hands and pinch the bag just above and below this seam, on both sides of the packet.
With your fingers firmly holding the packet, slowly start to apply small bursts of force. However, make sure to slowly increase the said force until the seam slowly starts to give way and open.
When pulling on the bag from either side, make sure to space the pulls by a couple of seconds. Sudden yanks will cause unnecessary rustling.
Continue to pull on the bag by repeating step 4 until it is fully open. For added noise reduction, try to slowly tear off the top half of the packet by starting at the corner of the seam. That way your chips will be exposed at the top of the bag. You can take them one by one quietly without tipping your hand in and rustling the bag.
2. Use a Blade
This method is actually a lot safer in terms of noise than Method #1. However, it does come with its own set of problems. Namely, if you plan on carrying a blade with you when you go out, even if it’s a pocket knife, you will need to check the state regulations regarding length and potential lethality.
In terms of what blade you can use to open your bag of chips, any option will work. Pocket knives, butterfly knives, craft knives, paper scalpels, and scissors will all get the job done. Of course, if you want to avoid all the legal mess with knives, scissors might be your safest bet.
Using the scissors to open a bag quietly is simple enough. All you have to do is slowly cut along the seam and gently part the packet open. And just like with the previous method, you can also use the scissors to remove the top half of the bag and leave your chips exposed and easy to reach.
Naturally, you will need sharp scissors to do all of that. Blunt scissors can actually bend the bag in a certain way and produce a lot of unwanted noise.
3. Different Containers
This method is somewhat different from the others since it’s not really about opening the bag in public. Rather, it’s a preventative method that you do before leaving the home.
Before you decide on going out, open the bag of chips at home and simply relocate the snack to a different container that will open quietly. The most popular solutions seem to be Ziploc bags since they are easy to carry, open and close quietly, and have an airtight seal that helps keep the chips fresh. Tupperware is also a decent solution, with the added advantage of having more space than an average Ziploc bag. In fact, you can even try using long, plastic jars that somewhat resemble Pringles cans.
4. Use a Distraction to Your Advantage
Sometimes, even a quiet space outdoors will have a noisy moment. Perhaps someone is about to sneeze near you, or maybe the door alarm goes off for no reason. Also, the person working at the counter might strike up a loud conversation with a colleague during a shift change. They might even accidentally bump into someone and cause a bit of commotion.
When you’re in a public spot and you feel like eating some chips, take the bag out as quietly as possible and wait. Observe the room and wait for the right moment. Once a distraction happens, use the moment to open the bag like you normally would. Nobody will notice, since they will more than likely use the moment to let off a few noises of their own.
Eating the Chips Quietly
Of course, opening the packet of chips is just the beginning. After all, it’s a loud, crackly snack and you can’t exactly chew it like you normally do when you’re in a quiet public area. So, let’s do a quick recap on how you can eat your chips quietly:
- Eat a single chip at a time to avoid crunching
- Take a chip and lightly place it on the tip of your tongue
- Using your tongue, move it to the back of your mouth
- Gently bite into it and chew until you’re ready to swallow.
Moving the chip deeper into your mouth before chewing will reduce the noise. It will allow you to enjoy the snack without bothering others. You can do the same with other crackly snacks, such as popcorn.
Most people enjoy chips, including the ones who hate the noise of chewing in a public area. So, nobody will think less of you if you decide to indulge in a bit of potato-y goodness. However, it’s always a good idea to mind your table manners. So hopefully, this guide will help you chow down on your favorite snack anywhere, at any time.