Dating Hijinks: The Condiment Packet Hoarder

On Wednesdays, Amanda Chatel will be sharing stories about her strange, fascinating and sometimes wonderful dating life. If it makes you want to date, check out TheGloss dating page.

Last night as I weeded through my delivery bag from Westville, I was shocked at all the condiment packets that were at the bottom. Does anyone put mustard on asparagus? Is this a thing now? Of course, I tried it out. If this is a thing now, it’s a bad thing.

As I tweeted yesterday (because I like to tweet my issues with society every chance I get), I do not care for people who have a thing for stocking up on condiment packets. I put them in the same category as those who, even if they don’t use them, take the mini-toiletries from hotels. Why do people do this? And who even uses those products unless you’re at a spiffy resort that offers Aveda shampoo and conditioners? I don’t understand.

Earlier this summer I went out with some friends in the East Village. We had too much to drink at Cherry Tavern (they have an amazing jukebox, by the way), and before the night was over, I was chatting it up with a tattooed fella. I do love the tattooed boys. I was the only single one in the pack of ladies, so as they were texting their sweeties about what time they’d be home, the guy and I decided we’d leave them to their relationship obligations and go over to Crif Dogs. It was packed, as it usually is at 330am on a Friday, so our brilliant idea was to head back to my apartment, but place our order on the way so both the food and us would arrive at the same time. And it did! Magical, isn’t it?

So there we are indulging in chili cheese fries and hot dogs covered in everything and anything you could possibly imagine and we’re having fun. And I’m thinking to myself that although this wasn’t a planned date, it definitely falls into the date category now and based on our banter and similarities, we should obviously get married before the summer is over.

We finish our food and despite the fact that we’ve both opted for such things like raw onions and jalapeños on our hotdogs, we start making out. He spends the night, it continues to be fun and we finally pass out once the sun starts to rise.

The next morning, or rather afternoon, when we finally stir from our night of too much drink and food, we prepare to say goodbye, exchange numbers and all that stuff you do after a one-night stand even if your intention is to never see that person again. Between looking for his boxers, his wallet and his phone — three very important items — he’s also loading up his bag with the remaining condiment packets from our delivery just a few hours before. There are A LOT of condiment packets sprawled all over the table and he picked up every single one of them. I didn’t say anything; I just let him do his thing.

I walked to the sink to get water and realized that there were a few more packets, unopened, in the sink. I jokingly offered those packets to him as well. Honestly, I expected him to laugh, for us both to laugh and for him to snub them… but no. He took the four ketchup packets, that were wet, from my hand and put those in his bag, too. Interesting. I somehow managed to keep my judgment under wraps, kissed him goodbye and off he went with a bag full of ketchup, mustard, relish and mayonnaise.

To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t seem to be lacking in funds that he needed those packets as a means to survive. He’s a graphic designer at a major magazine here in the city, so I’m sure he does quite well for himself financially.

I left for Colorado two days later.

I’ve heard from him a few times, but I’ve yet to see him again since I’ve been back although it is on my list of things to do once I return from the beach next week. But seriously, is this some sort of compulsion? If I do see him again and end up at his apartment in Brooklyn, will it be strewn with condiment packets galore? I know he lives alone and that makes for easy hoarding if one was so inclined to move in that direction. I hoard Vogue magazines, but at least that seems useful because I do go back to them over and over again to look at my favorite dresses. You can’t go back to a condiment packet; once it’s done, it’s done — and they’re not even pretty to look at should you decide not to use them.

It’s just all so confusing.


Photo: The Condiment Packet Gallery

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    • Ella Jane

      yeah, this guy seems crazy, until you learn that there is a drawer at his work in the break room where he dumps all these condiment packages, and the Development Director got her sandwich delivered today WITHOUT MAYO FOR THE LOVE OF FUCKING GOD and was greatly comforted that there is a condiment drawer that wonderful tattooed man dumps all these condiment packages in and she went and got some fucking mayo and it was good.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Ella Jane… did this happen to you today? Do we need to talk about this?

    • Tania

      I’m not going to lie, I save condiment packages. But they tend not to last very long. I’m very bad at remembering to buy condiments, so I always use the packets. It’s because I’m an airhead when I go to the grocery store.

    • Ella Jane

      I’m okay now! I will say, though, that the guy who stocks our drawer is not an attractive tattooed man but a delightfully neurotic weirdo named Carl.

      Thank heavens for Carl and his neuroses because I was THIS CLOSE to having to eat a sandwich without mayo. Seriously, Jimmy John’s, what the everloving fuck?

      • Amanda Chatel

        Fucking Jimmy John’s! If it happens again, let me know. I’ll give them “what for” and it won’t be pretty.

        Thanks god for Carl. Is he single? Maybe dating condiment hoarders could be my new thing.

      • Ella Jane

        He is single and would make an awesome dudefriend/partner/whatever because he’s really, really thoughtful, very sweet and affectionate, and also hilarious and smart.

        He would make a terrible dudefriend because he will NOT eat vegetables (his food groups are pasta/dairy, pizza, and burgers), he ‘s terribly and tragically unattractive, and really really cheap. Also he hates being around strangers to the point that he orders EVERYTHING from Amazon so he doesn’t have to go to the grocery store. And he collects knives, pens, staplers, and flashlights to the point where he doesn’t have furniture in his apartment, just… that stuff.

        So, yeah, when I think about it, his condiment hoarding is kind of the least weird thing he does.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Well then. I don’t see a love connection in our future.


      • Maggie

        Can we get Ella Jane a guest column so she can write more about Carl? He sounds hilarious and fantastic, in an eccentric weirdo kind of way. Also Ella Jane, just your comment was really funny, so you should expand on that.

    • Renee

      Reasons for saving condiment packets:

      1. He packs a lot of picnics.
      2. He loves to bring lunch from home, but hates soggy bread with his sandwiches
      3. He is delightfully endearing in his inability to remember to actually buy full sized condiments, so he just got in the habit of keeping the small packets.
      4. He actually doesn’t hoard, but uses the packet immediately, because hey, NY kitchen real estate is too pricey to be messing around with full sized bottles all the time
      5. He is extremely frugal personally, so he can be generous with gifts and charity
      6. It’s his way of ‘sticking it to the man’. The man being the condiment and takeout industry.
      7. He likes to create mock special effects. Ketchup packets making squibs for fake blood, relish is alien goo, and mayo is fake spunk.


      8. It’s just his quirk, and hey, we all have them

      • Amanda Chatel

        #7. the. best.

      • Renee

        If it’s #7 you have to marry him. Obviously.

      • Lindsey

        9.) He thinks just throwing them out is wasteful/an insult to the environment.
        10.) He’s a graphic artist maybe he’s collecting them for ART.

        …ask him about it?