Drive-thru ketchup and fries dilemma: Solved!

In high school, for at least a couple of grades, I figured my fortune would be built by solving the problem posed by drive-thrus, french fries, and ketchup: In a car there is no good way to put ketchup on your fries and a dry fry disappoints.

If you're the passenger, the contents of the wrinkly ketchup pouch can be squirted onto a flat-like surface, oftentimes a napkin balanced on a knee. With this method, there is risk of wet ketchup working through the paper onto your pants and napkin consumption is near certain. The second method is the Russian Roulette of ketchup application. The packet is used much like a tube of toothpaste to squirt a thin line of ketchup on each fry individually. Precision is paramount and roads are rarely smooth.

Unsatisfied, I devised a ketchup holder to nest in the hole of the car-door armrest, secured by a sticky latch. I got as far as a sketch (reproduction on right), but did not know whether my invention would be a disposable container that the ketchup came in or if it would be a reusable item purchased by the car owner. Would the sticky latch double as the container's lid? Did all cars have this hole? Would the ketchup companies buy my idea? Would I have to lobby drive-thru restaurant chains? Should I go directly to french-fry consumers and sell my contraption on late-night TV? I didn't know. I still don't. This is as far as the business part of my brain goes. No sales idea I've had has ever, ever gotten further than this. That's why I'm a writer. Let the world make its own food mechanisms.

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This year they did. And yeah, I guess a shallow plastic tub could work, too.

Everything has fallen into place on its own just like I had hoped:

"Heinz Dip & Squeeze dual-function package gives ketchup lovers two ways to enjoy Heinz Ketchup: either peel back the lid for easy dipping, or tear off the tip to squeeze onto favorite foods," reads the press release.

And another age-old issue solved at the same time!:

"The new package holds three times as much Heinz Ketchup as the traditional packet."

They say it's the first makeover of the packet in 42 years. These days my visits to drive-thrus aren't that infrequent, but they are relegated to road trips. On my way to the desert last weekend, my hunger didn't coincide with an In-N-Out, so I screeched (sound of my voice not the wheels) off the highway into a Burger King. (I believe the Whopper is the 2nd strongest highway burger in California.) More than my burger, I was anticipating my first drive-thru experience with a clean fry-ketchup union. With a fistful of the same old raisin-like packets, the server denied me.

Jessica Jackson, public relations Senior Manager at Heinz explained, "The Heinz Ketchup Dip & Squeeze package will be available at drive-thrus in the fall. Currently the product is in test markets in the Midwest and Southeast. We are not disclosing the markets or the name of the quick serve restaurant at this time."

Not disclosing?? We have to know which quick-serve restaurants have had the luck to test this and where! Can anyone report to having seen or used the new Heinz Dip & Squeeze packet? If so, please share!