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When did ketchup rationing begin?

I have slowly come to realize that there is more to this down economy than what I thought, that it is affecting more aspects of our lives than we may realize. I am realizing that Demopolis is going through a shortage that may very well affect where we eat, our fast-food restaurants — perhaps our very economy.

Of course, I’m talking about the current ketchup shortage.

I first noticed it soon after I moved back to Demopolis last year, but didn’t think much about it. When I went to fast-food restaurants, I would usually bring it home. There weren’t any ketchup packets in the bag, but that was okay, since I had plenty of ketchup in my fridge.

But then, I started bringing fast-food stuff back to the office, where we do not have extra ketchup, and I started to notice it a little more, usually settling for eating my french fries or tater tots plain. Yeah, the life of a journalist is not for the faint of heart.

I know there was a time when fast-food restaurants used to put three or four ketchup packets in the bag with your meal automatically (along with napkins, but that is for another day). One of my facebook friends noted: “I can remember half the bag being ketchup packets.”

I’m not sure what brought on the dearth of ketchup packets. Yes, my voice works fine, and I could ask for ketchup packets. I guess I’ve just gotten used to it being a part of the to-go experience and don’t think to ask while I’m at the restaurant.

What got us to this point, where a once-abundant commodity is now given only upon request?

Tomato crops in the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast are reportedly suffering from late blight, but tomato farms from other places are reporting good crops.

Whatever it is, I guess I’ll have to remind myself the next time I go out to eat to ask for ketchup packets. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll get more than one. Or maybe I could bring my own ketchup, to help the cause. All I know is: If this happens to mustard, I may have to rethink the way I eat.