Potato chips, corn chips and tortilla chips have all been around for a long time, but they only became a popular appetizer to be served with dips in the 1950s. And that’s when people began to argue about double dipping.
Dip basically means two things. One is a noun, meaning a pâté, such as paste-like hors d’oeuvres used as appetizers. And the other is a verb, meaning to lower something (such as a potato chip) into a pâté, and raise it again, usually up to and into your mouth. Dipping can also refer to something like strawberries dipped into chocolate or bread dipped into cheese fondue. But those practices don’t usually cause debates.
The double dip controversy is caused because an entire chip usually does not fit into a standard-sized human mouth and also because the chip usually picks up dip on only one side of the chip. So after you have swallowed half of your chip, the question is, should you or shouldn’t you double dip and put your half- bitten chip back into the dip that is being shared, contaminating it with your saliva or worse, and then pop it into your mouth and eat it? When friends or acquaintances share a dipping appetizer, it is not uncommon for them to debate this practice. The debate can be endless, because those who advocate turning the bitten chip around in their hand are also advocating putting the part of the chip that your fingers held into the dip, not a doctor-recommended practice. If you are eating with people you don’t know too well, remember that most people consider double dipping a social taboo.
Over a time, double dipping has come to mean a way to cheat a system, or at the very least a practice perceived as unethical. It is often used for retirees who find a way to receive a government pension or salary from two sources, such as a retired military person who also receives a government salary. If Hillary Clinton had been elected president and accepted the presidential salary, she probably would have been criticized for double dipping because she already receives a retirement pension from the federal government for her years as a senator and secretary of state. The practice of accepting a housing allowance by people who already own their own homes in the city where they are employed is considered double dipping also and frown upon.
Airline companies, who calculate they have an average 6% of no-shows, are often accused of double dipping when they sell those seats again. Of course, they claim this practice is done to decrease environmental emissions, not for profit.
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