Welcome to 2021, where snakes bark and ketchup packets are sold on eBay. Just when you thought pandemic lifestyle couldn’t get any weirder…
It feels safe to assume that no one looks at toilet paper the same way they did before 2020. As the entire world changed around us, many of the pedestrian items we took for granted became hot ticket items. Aluminum cans. Hand sanitizer. Gun ammunition (which is still in remarkably short supply).
Sound enough like the “fictional” zombie genre yet? Well, hold onto your Charmin, because now we can add ketchup packets to that list.
That’s right… According to a Monday report by The Wall Street Journal, perfectly titled “The New Shortage: Ketchup Can’t Catch Up,” Americans are now experiencing a shortage in individual servings of our “favorite condiment.”
Citing data from restaurant tech platform Plate IQ, WSJ says prices for ketchup packets have risen 13% since January of 2020. While that may not look so steep in written form, it’s a drastic jump that’s led to McDonald’s asking customers “would you like ketchup?” instead of automatically tossing sixteen packets into the bag.
There’s a hefty amount of supply & demand at play here, as well. While this author is far from an economist, it only seems natural that as the COVID-19 Pandemic removes shared objects (like ketchup bottles) and in-house dining experiences from American’s plates, the demand for individual ketchup packets would rise. And as demand increases – so do prices.
Essentially, restaurant chains are paying more for less ketchup packets. What a time to be alive.
Ketchup Packets Take On eBay
Just recently, the American public has begun to feel the after-effects of this long ketchup tug-of-war. According to ongoing reports by Fox News, Americans are now consuming far more ketchup packets than their manufacturers can produce. Regardless of demand, the supply chain simply can’t keep up after a year of COVID’s changes to our lifestyles.
So naturally, as with any Zombie Apocalypse thriller, leave it to an entrepreneurial schmuck to profit off hard times. And yes, we’re still talking about ketchup packets.
Now these once-common sidekicks of take-out are popping up all over eBay… and being sold to the general public for hilariously pedestrian prices.
One lot of 50 ketchup packets just sold for $9.99, Fox cites. Another sold 100 packets for $11.99.
Okay, so maybe we’re not to the zombies quite yet. If someone on eBay can still buy 500 ketchup packets for $28.95 – and we made it past ketchup candy canes – then, honestly – we’re not doing too bad.