Monday, January 14, 2008

Opportunties (Let's Make Lots of Money)

Game show money, similar to game show fame, is a fleeting thing. Between Uncle Sam's crippling rabbit punch of a tax on all my winnings, the mountain of student loans courtesy of NYU, and the debt that I'm accumulating right this very moment as I fail my way through St. John's Law; there's little to nothing left over for offensively ostentatious displays of wealth. On top of that, to maintain this oh so fabulous lifestyle of prudent loan repayment and educational investing I, along with my fellow "Twisted Mister' compatriots, will have to win another World Series of Pop Culture. It's not that I'm lacking any confidence that we will repeat, but considering the economics and pay scales of game shows as a whole, for the work we put in we're going to have to work hard for the money. If you consider the three way split of $250,000 a year for beating the toughest competition the US has to offer, it would take us years of continuous Patriots-esque perfection to equal the amount some overly excited rube would get for a night of randomly picking suitcases. Of course I'm far from complaining, a third of $250,000 was an amazing win fall that I'll be forever gracious about; but sadly you can't live your whole life on it.

That leads me to to the million dollar (neigh multi-million dollar) opportunity I hinted above. Why am I sharing this idea with you the public at large? Well, for all my inspiration, I lack the requisite 99 parts of perspiration. While I have the goal in mind, I need someone with the wherewithal, gumption, along with other old timey synonyms to cut the Gordian knot (I just learned what that meant and have been trying my best to use it in my daily conversations, properly and improperly) and solve the difficult problem of achieving it. In sharing my idea I would hope to appeal to everyone's sense of right and fairness and that someone wouldn't just take all the credit themselves and leave me stuck in miserable, law school less one world changing idea. I'm not asking for too much, just a reasonable cut of the action, maybe like 30% as essentially a finder's fee.

So like Mr. McGuire said to a young Benjamin Braddock, I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Ketchup.

I guess regionally some folk may substitute that with catsup, but the idea remains the same. Everybody has ketchup (well almost everybody since last I heard salsa was the top condiment in this country). Millions upon millions of bottles are consumed every year, it complements hot dogs all across the land, it's considered by some a last resort substitute for vegetables, and it partially funds the opulent lifestyles of the Kerrys. Despite the apparent universal success of ketchup, you would be able to see its greatest failing if you go to your fridge, open a bottle and hold it upside down. Before you got to that good stuff, you know exactly what you'd get. You'd get pre-ketchup.

That's my patented official term for it, and frankly there's no better way of putting it. It's that thin, watery discharge you get from a bottle that's been sitting around for a while. Unless you get rid of that beforehand, you're finding yourself with a soggy hot dog, or a dripping burger, or wet fries. Half the time you don't even think about it until it's too late. No type of bottle or brand is immune to this phenomenon, even plastic packets if left around long enough will give you a trickle of pre-ketchup. With the advent of the plastic squeeze bottle the problem seems to have gotten even worse in recent years. It's a baffling commentary on modern times. We have fiber optic cables, cars that park themselves, a complete map of the human genome, foot prints on the moon; and yet no one has definitely solved this simple problem.

So as the old maxim goes "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." If anyone can find a viable way to eliminate the nuisance of pre-ketchup from America's kitchens, ballgames, diners, picnics, and backyard barbecues, you can write your own check. Can you imagine the bidding war that would erupt among America's premier ketchup barons for the exclusive patent rights to the perfect bottle of ketchup? It'd be the greatest innovation in the industry since green ketchup. You could play the Heinz people against the Hunt's people and then throw in all the supermarket brands as well for maximum returns. And you know what's the best part of all this? You can double your already enormous profit by repeating it again with the mustard industry; just replace the top guys with French's and Gulden's.

That's basically the gist of the plan. Now there's the slight formality of coming up with a solution. Anyone can try, I'm not sure if there's any background or discipline that is best suited for solving this conundrum (mechanical engineering? physics? graphic design? ketchup fluid mechanics? tomato theory? modern condiment relations?) If you feel like never wanting to have to work again and living the rest of your days in grand leisure, you owe it to yourself to take a crack at it. After you've given it said thought and you've perhaps come across a possible solution send it over to the official email hotline at and hopefully we may be able to turn that red into some green. Opportunity's knocking and this time he's not telling you to buy a Honda.


  1. your plan will unravel by the simple application of a "shake before use" sticker on the heinz and hunt's bottles.

    i'll admit, though, that a "massage before use" label on ketchup packets might be harder to take seriously.

  2. I am well aware of "shake before use" and I find it only a half effective solution.

    Besides this is America, shaking may be adequate in Red China, but I think we can strive to be better.

  3. don't the upside-down squeeze bottles for condiments also reduce the pre-ketchup phenomenon?

    imagine if this container were to be paired up with the "shake it" sticker.

    alas, foiled again...

  4. your plan as is is futile. i instead offer that you focus on the pre-ketchup market, i.e. people who LIKE that pre-ketchup stuff and you simply bottle and sell it for millions (well, probably no more than a million). this is no longer the age of the better mousetrap. rather, it is the age of the niche mousetrap.

  5. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times--subways that double as roller coasters. You're backing the wrong pony here.

  6. Nick,

    Pretty insightful observation. Out of the box thinking, I like it.


    Maybe in Shangri-La where jolly ranchers are sprinkles.