From Carol Midgley in THE TIMES, 6 January 2020
Sorry to dazzle you with sheer glamour but my first purchase of 2020 was a tin-opener. Quite a snazzy one, too: £8 and promising easy handling if I get arthritis, so there’s much to look forward to there. But people said: “Oh. You know that owning a tin-opener is now a poverty indicator?” What? OK, they said, maybe not “poverty” but certainly “low income”. This notion, expressed originally on Mumsnet but now an agreed online “fact”, evidently stems from believing that only skint people buy tins that don’t have a ring pull. Such as 35p value tinned tomatoes, or kidney beans.
Nope; not having it. I’m not poor but I always buy cheap tinned tomatoes because I’ve worked in a supermarket and know that beneath the fancy labels they’re all the same. I know some people still snobbishly shove cheaper tins to the back of their cupboards but we’re now in an age when the prime minister’s chief adviser curates his wardrobe to look as if he’s been dragged through a jumble sale. I bet if he had value baked beans they’d be bang on show.
Will the old “working-class” totems — a mug tree, Glade air freshener, toilet mats, a big Sports Direct mug — eventually lose currency as boundaries blur? In 2018 millennials were accused of “killing off the tuna trade” because they “don’t own tin-openers”. Might it not also be because they’re vegan or worried about over-fishing? Anyway, I’ve no regrets about my £8 tin-opener; not having one is like not having a thumb. And what happens when the ring snaps off, eh? You’re stuffed then.