Wetherspoons Paltry Chip Count: Talking to the faces behind the viral posts

‘If I ever mysteriously disappear, assume Tim Martin has come after me’

Wetherspoons, the home of cheap (and yummy) meals out, delicious cocktail pitchers and just all-round good vibes. It’s often the first point of call for pres, and it’s comforting to know that no matter how far you go (in the UK), you’ll never be far from a Spoons. Maybe that’s what made the Wetherspoons paltry chip count, a group where people count the amount of chips they get, so popular.

Chris Allen (pictured) is 56 and the founder of the Wetherspoons paltry chip count Facebook group. He told me that he started it last year, during the “Eat Out to Help Out” campaign, after joking on his personal Facebook page that he hadn’t received many chips. The group started with just friends, and growth was “slow at first”, but in around October of this year, someone posted about it on Instagram and Twitter and after some press and radio interviews, “growth just spiralled”.

Credit: Chris Allen via Facebook

However, with this popularity, Chris says that there have been downsides, including “ridiculing and bullying people”, and that he has blocked many people from the group for this, as well as the fact there are people “clearly trolling and baiting the group”. In general, he says the group is supposed to be “a bit of lighthearted fun. Nothing to do with complaining about Wetherspoons, and definitely not about mocking people.”

So how is it that over 250k people are so obsessed with posting their chip counts in this group? I spoke to some of the faces behind the group’s most popular posts.

‘Our calling in life’

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

A trio known as the “Chipmas 3”, or Claude, 38, his wife Kelly, 40, and their friend Krissy, 42, amassed nearly 3k likes with their particularly extra post. Building a nativity scene complete with the three Kings and Jesus on a Babybel manger (that took nearly ten minutes), as well as weighing chips, taking the internal temperature, and checking how moist they were, the three told us that “something struck a chord with us and it was just natural to take it up”.

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

When asked about their success, they told us it was “by far the greatest achievement of our collective lives”, and to “keep your eyes peeled for more from the Chipmas 3”.

‘Amusing bit of British culture’

Nick, who did his undergrad at Edinburgh and is now at UCL, came over to the UK for uni and joined the group because he has “a strong love for spoons” and he loves all the nonsense groups on Facebook. He says that they’re a “good distraction from life” and talks about the positive culture on the groups, and although there are negative comments, most are deleted by the admins.

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

He mentions that you “get to see random folk around the country who ave the same stupid interests as you who you’d never interact with at all otherwise”. Nick tells me he finds the innovation in amusing content “impeccable”, he loves the analysis posts and that he definitely has an “obsessive personality and it’s hilarious to see other people’s manifestations of that”.

Nick does add that he’s “personally more of a supermarket enjoyer than a spoons stan”, but he “respects the energy”.

‘She was visibly seething’

25 year-old international distributor account manager Will Sayer’s post became popular after he captured the “disgusted” look on his 21 year-old sister’s face, who received less chips than her dad, as well as getting a Brie panini with the “smallest sliver of Brie you’ll ever see”. Like others, he joined the Facebook group as a joke, saying he enjoys reading the funny posts and comments from time to time. He told me he posted as “in all honesty [he] had faith the post would somewhat blow up!”

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

Unfortunately, when his sister got a fresh panini they forgot the chips completely… but Will enjoyed his Tennessee burger at least.

Kyle Johnson joined the group as he loved how people were building chip structures or putting random things into their pictures like shoes or clothes. His post gained attention after users spotted a suspicious looking substance placed next to the burgers, but he did confirm that it is indeed salt, and that he did it “because I haven’t seen anyone else do that yet and it was funny at the time”.

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

‘Such an oddly specific thing’

21 year-old Edward Sugden from York St John Uni (pictured) joined the group because he felt that counting chips was such an oddly specific thing, but his favourite ones are “when they add a funny review”. He decided to post after he went to Spoons expecting to “mug off a poorly put together burger as I am used to”, but was “beautifully surprised” by his experience, saying that “every bite was better than the last” and that he “had to share”.

Credit: Edward Sugden

Lizzie Dore, a 21 year old English lit student (pictured in the middle), joined the group after being recommended it by Facebook.

Credit: Lizzie Dore

Her video of the chips being a terrifyingly solid lump in her plate got a fair amount of attention on the page, and she told me the chips were “more like cement”. In fact, she had pretty good ideas for some social policy, saying that “the Wetherspoons chips could solve the UK housing crisis by providing sustainable and edible foundations for bricklaying”.

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

‘A forum to share my findings with people’

Jack, 28, who ended up in Spoons after he went to visit a friend in London and wanted to avoid extortionate London prices, gained popularity in the group for discovering a pricing inconsistency with the chips and curry. As a “pint/chip enthusiast and as a scientist”, he noticed something in the menu was off and decided to investigate. After ordering both the bowl of chips with curry sauce, and the chips and curry sauce separately, he found the order was the exact same, but the items ordered separately works out to be 30p cheaper. “If I ever mysteriously disappear, assume Tim Martin has come after me”, Jack says.

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

‘I have to do all my contributions to the chip counting group under a pseudonym so the Mrs doesn’t find out’

19 year-old Sean, a martial arts teacher and whose last name I will keep secret so his wife doesn’t find out, finds the group “genuinely interesting and fun”. His determination to post in the chip counting group meant he had to overcome the lack of a tape measure (that his wife hid to try stop him) and use a fork instead, as well as his wife spending the night at her sister’s house after she found out about his chip counting success. Luckily, Sean and his wife have worked things out and he now posts under a pseudonym.

Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

A charity aspect

And it’s not all fun and games, either. One of the group’s members Mart Lambo, 34, has started raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust by selling Wetherspoons-themed mini tape measures used to measure the chips. He told me that he initially started making the mini tape measures as “a bit of a gag present for Xmas” after talking about the Facebook group in his local Spoons, by buying the mini measures from eBay then adding the design. He decided that he’d sell the excess for charity, as his brother had died of cancer at a young age.

Credit: Mart Lambo

After putting the idea on the group, it gained a lot of attention and Mart ordered even more of the mini tape measures from eBay to fulfil demand, but “disaster struck” when the seller ran out, especially as people were buying “one a minute”. After searching high and low, Mart found a supplier from America. With the help of his Mum, Mart has started “a little mini tape measure factory”, and they have sold well over a thousand of the tape measures for the charity.

“It has been an amazing experience with lots of kind messages from all”, says Mart. He continues “if these little thing[s] can make a little smile on someone’s face or a chuckle at your local spoons it makes the whole world a little brighter.”

Credit: Mart Lambo

It seems like the Wetherspoons paltry chip count has become a community for chip lovers and Spoons goers everywhere to share their experiences with each other, and to be honest, I’m so here for the wholesome vibes.

Featured image: Wetherspoons paltry chip count via Facebook

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