Daze of My Life: Victim of Soycumstance

Daze of My Life
Victim of Soycumstance

I saw an advertisement this morning for Kikkoman's brand soy sauce on sale, in the Super Fresh advertising circular inserted into the Washington Post Sun. This struck me as somewhat perplexing. Why on earth would anyone have to actually buy soy sauce? And by that I mean, who doesn't already have hundreds, if not thousands, of soy sauce packets in their kitchen at home or in their coffee room/kitchen/eating area at work, remnants of Chinese food carry out/delivery orders from previous meals gone down?
I've certainly not done the arithmetic or made any kind of journalistic-type inquiry into the mass distribution of plastic soy sauce packets into Chinese food carry out/delivery orders, but...when you consider, anecdotally, the numbers of Chinese restaurants in business (they're everywhere) then figure in the number of "take out" prepared and packaged seven days a week (much less at lunch, I would imagine, but still it counts), then add in the number of soy sauce packets that are typically included with each order well...you do the math. If that number isn't infinity, I don't know what number is.
And if we agree, in theory, and understand how many soy sauce packets must be sitting idly by in homes and offices everywhere, then one can't possibly imagine how anyone, anywhere, would ever have to buy it, whether the sauce was on sale or not! In fact, if a store was giving them away for free, I can't imagine taking one home with me. Moreover, the last thing I want, or need, given the contents of the catchall-type utility drawer I have in my kitchen is, a store-bought bottle of soy sauce, Kikkoman brand or otherwise.
Besides, I'm sure the next time I order Chinese food to go, when I get home and open my "carry out," I'll find another six or eight packets which will then, when combined with the existing packets already in my house, will give me the equivalent of 10 bottles. So no, I don't feel the need to buy any soy sauce.
Nor can I even formulate that thought in my head, let alone act on it. Why would I need to buy something that, like it or not, I have enough in my home to last two lifetimes?
In actual point of fact, the only way I would ever need to buy soy sauce would be if (A) Chinese restaurants, as many of us know and love them, cease to exist and/or (B) Chinese restaurants stopped including packets of soy sauce in their "take out" orders. Two more unlikely scenarios I cannot foresee.
Consequently, it would seem to be extremely difficult to sell (on sale or otherwise) a product that so many people so regularly get for free.
Personally, I have so many soy sauce packets in my house that the only way I could ever get rid of them (use them) would be to open a Chinese restaurant. But what do I know about running a Chinese restaurant? Other than including approximately two handfuls of soy sauce packets in every "take out" order--not much. And that's certainly not enough to open a Chinese restaurant, write a column, maybe, but not start a business--no way. That much I do know.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.