WASHINGTON—In an effort to cut condiment expenses and address the gluttony, waste, and utter lack of self-restraint exhibited by Americans, officials from the fast food industry announced Monday a new policy prohibiting all customers from dispensing their own ketchup.
"We thought our patrons were responsible enough to handle a self-service ketchup pump," said McDonald's CEO James A. Skinner, who claimed that fast food industry leaders were partially to blame for overestimating the maturity of the American public. "However, after watching the way you disgusting people behave when entrusted with a little independence, it's clear that we made a terrible mistake."
"Unlimited access to ketchup is a privilege," Skinner continued, "not a right."
According to representatives from the nation's six largest fast food chains, Americans use more than $18 million worth of ketchup per year, with nearly $7 million of the tomato-based condiment ending up smeared on the backs of chairs, on nearby tables, or in the hair of small children, and in some cases simply spilt in large, repulsive puddles on the floor.
In all, some 220 factors were cited by the American Fast Food Association in their decision to remove the self-service pumps. Among them, the spectacular failure on the part of all patrons to recognize their own limits, and the tendency, among many men and women, to just squirt out the free condiment as if their lives depended on it.
"We tried to treat our customers like adults, and they took advantage of our generosity," said Burger King CEO John W. Chidsey, who was visibly upset after hearing that Americans use on average 14 ounces of ketchup per fast food meal. "What's wrong with you people? Were you scared it was going to run out or something?"
"Look, it's not even about the ketchup, okay?" Swette added. "It's about setting some boundaries for once."
Beginning Nov. 12, all participating fast food restaurants will begin serving a maximum of two ketchup packets with any hamburger-based meal. If a patron desires additional ketchup, he or she will have to fill out a special three-page Ketchup Request Form, which must then be presented to a manager on duty for evaluation.
In addition to specifying the reason for their request, customers will have to present fast food officials with two forms of valid ID, their social security number, and a signature from a third-party witness who can attest to there being enough remaining ketchup-free food to necessitate an additional packet. Only when all conditions are met will a patron receive a condiment voucher.
Patrons requesting barbecue sauce to dip their fries in will be escorted from the premises immediately.
"Our scientists don't spend countless hours manufacturing the food we serve just to have it dunked and drowned in obscene amounts of ketchup," said J. David Karam, president of Wendy's International. "Can customers even taste the dipropyl ketone or amyl acetate in our food anymore? It makes me sick."
Reaction to the new condiment policy has been overwhelmingly negative thus far, with some patrons claiming they would sooner eat lunch at home than frequent a fast food establishment that imposes limits on their ketchup consumption.
"This is outrageous," said Tennessee resident Sheila Hodge, a longtime fast food consumer. "If I want to gorge myself on so much ketchup that I need to vomit, then that should be my God-given right. This is McDonald's we're talking about. Half the reason I come here in the first place is so I can behave like a total animal."
At press time, the Arby's chain was continuing to let customers freely operate their "horsey sauce" dispenser, as nobody in America has touched that shit in years.