ketchup packet

Ketchup Packet in Random Clinic Drawer Turns 5 Years Old Today

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NEW YORK, NY – And a Happy Fifth Birthday today to the 9-gram Heinz Ketchup packet located in a random desk drawer in some office at NYU Langone Medical Center!  It was placed there in 2010 and though it hasn’t been used by any medical personnel to date, it continues to go strong and contain ketchup within its belly.

ketchup packet“It’s been a wonderful five years,” said the Heinz Ketchup packet, its “Tear Here” stamp still remarkably in tact.  “It was lonely in the beginning, but I’m in a good place now and have made some friends along the way.”

The packet is referring to, of course, a copy of a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) article placed there about 3 years ago, a broken stapler added 2 years ago, several dead pens and AA batteries, a used plastic spoon, and a key to some lock somewhere.

Five years ago, primary care physician Matt Rooster got a veggie burger with French fries.  Rooster, who was usually liberal in his use of condiments, needed only 4 out of 5 Heinz Ketchup packets that fateful day.  Hoping future generations of burgers, hot dogs, and fries could benefit from America’s Favorite Ketchup, Rooster placed the Heinz Ketchup packet into that drawer.

Patiently and pastily, the Heinz Ketchup packet has waited.  Many have passed on the opportunity to use the Heinz Ketchup packet, which is surprising considering how graham crackers are scooped up and consumed with reckless abandon when found by ravenous medical personnel.  But the Heinz Ketchup packet remains calm and rectangular.

“What happens now?” asked the Heinz Ketchup packet.  “I’ll continue to hope, wait, and pray.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey along the way.”  The packet let out a little tomatoey laugh.  “I just hope someone doesn’t clean out the drawer and throw me in the trash.  Man oh man, wouldn’t that be a way to go?!!”

  • Show Comments

  • Avatar
    Can Patient

    @DrJenGunter Like well aged wine.
    (Impressed that those packets were imported from Thailand)

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    Dorothea Hodson

    Found some old in an old city building. Mice had been in and ate it all. So gross and smelled worse.

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    Tracey Sherman


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    Nora Bodzioch


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    Trevor Drollinger

    David Winchester

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    Christopher Wright

    I found a 3 year old sample of spinal fluid in the call room mini fridge back in the day.

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    M Hamilton Love

    Next: Splenda packet survives year in nurse bag pocket.

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    Mimi DiRaimondo Murphy

    Someone clearly was not doing their outdating job properly

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    Joe Pee

    So… Me eating that 6 month expired yogurt in the fridge was ok ?

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    Heather Hendricks Bliss

    Ketchup packets don’t make it 5 days in my unit.

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    Jody Forssen Watt

    Bet I have close to 100 packets of various types…no way to tell how old they are…

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    Marietta L. Welch Morhardt

    If someone wants to retire, develop a packet with a ” do not use” color strip on it similar to processed medical equipment. You would make a fortune on the patent!

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    Nate Schneider

    Christanna Newman

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    Bill Herriott

    Lauren Lemenager

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    Ryan McCracken

    There’s 1950s era MSG seasoning packets in our break room.

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