A few days ago, I received a Heinz Packet Roller in the mail, courtesy of Heinz. It’s a novelty item that’s designed to squeeze every last drop from a condiment packet, and ever since I read about the thing, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Obviously, as The Takeout’s resident Inspector of Gadgets, I was determined to mess with the Heinz Packet Roller like it’s my job. (Well, it’s part of my job.) Would this thing actually work to get every last bit of ketchup out of a packet? And if so, would it cause a big mess in the process?
Let’s talk about how this thing is supposed to function. The Heinz Packet Roller has a built-in razor, located on the right end of the device, that conveniently slices off the corner of a sauce packet for you. I’ve never had a problem with opening sauce packets, aside from an occasional misaligned tug that tears the packaging straight down the middle. You’ve probably been there. When that happens, squeezing the packet will cause sauce to spurt out from both the top and the bottom, causing an unpredictable sauce distribution and maybe even a stained shirt. Oh, the humanity!
The other mechanism on the left size of the Packet Roller device is a roller wringer; you place the unopened side of the packet in it, twist the bottle cap to apply pressure, and then, in theory, the sauce squiggles out the open corner of the packet in a clean line. Since this gadget is designed to squeeze the shit out of your sauce packet, you’ll get every last bit out, if it works as advertised.
It’s also got a convenient metal ring on it in case you want to put it on your keychain, but be warned: this thing isn’t pocket-friendly. The roller is about four inches long, making it an unwieldy keychain item, unless you’re dedicated to the Sauce Life. In which case, you will find a way to keep one with you at all times.
After giving it a shot a few times, I can report that the razor part works pretty well. But you do have to tug on the packet using a smooth, confident motion. The Heinz Packet Roller senses fear, so if you have any hesitation whatsoever, the razor will snag on the packaging and you’ll have to fight to get it out, which is not ideal. Wrestling a partially opened sauce packet is like recreationally wrestling a bear: it can only lead to disaster. Maybe death.
My first attempt at using this thing didn’t go so well. Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how to get the ketchup packet situated at the base of the roller. The ketchup on my finger is evidence of my struggle (both with the Heinz Packet Roller and life itself).
Then I realized I’d been using the packet roller incorrectly. If you take a gander at the tumbler itself (via the back), you’ll see there’s a little groove in it that aligns with the entryway of the device when you’re loading the thing. If you properly match the groove with the entryway by turning the bottle cap, then slide the packet into it, you’re on your way to success.
The basic instructions do not mention this detail. Using my superior intellect as the Inspector of Gadgets, I figured this out on my own. You may not see me right now, but I am bowing and accepting your applause.
Once I had everything in proper alignment, I finally got the packet to catch in the roller. So when the thing does work, the roller does a pretty good job of getting most of the ketchup out of a packet.
Too bad getting the empty packet out of the roller is a struggle. As I reversed the bottle cap while gently tugging on the now empty ketchup packet, it slowly tilted and got stuck in the roller. Fingers covered in ketchup, I slowly sank to the floor, waving my tiny fists in the air.
After I fished the trapped packet out from the device, I realized that it, like me, was smeared with ketchup. How or when this happened during the process, I don’t know. If you, a dedicated condiment-head, did decide to keep the Heinz Packet Roller on your keychain, you’d get the lining of your pocket, purse, backpack, bindle, or fanny pack soiled with sauce. Even condiment-heads know this is not ideal.
As of now, the Heinz Packet Roller is still available online, and at least it’s a mere $5.70. If anything, it’s a cute novelty doohickey you can hang as a decoration from somewhere dangly (rearview mirror?), or maybe a collector’s item, but it’d take a lot of practice to make this device a dedicated part of your fast food routine. That said, I’m sure some of you are more than willing to put in those hours.