Stranger knocked on door, asked for ketchup

So yesterday my parents and I had just arrived at my house at lunchtime (after lunch out together). I went to the bathroom.

When I came back they told me a woman had knocked on my back door and asked if she could have some ketchup for her fries. No fries were in evidence, but she was holding a soda cup.

As luck would have it my husband had brought home a stack of plastic condiment cups from his work cafeteria (why?) and they were sitting on the counter. My parents took one, filled it with ketchup from the fridge, gave it to the woman and she left.

It’s so odd I just had to share. Part of me thinks she is the thief that stole my purse from my home twice. The incidents were 3 years apart, separated by diligent door locking, which makes me thinks the thief just tries my back door every so often (ahhhhhhh!).

But the way my parents’ car was parked in relation to the back door would’ve made it pretty obvious people were at home. Probably.

My house is on a quiet residential street, not a busy road. I just can’t imagine any of the neighbors I know asking for ketchup or at the very outside not explaining that they were a neighbor if they did.

I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had answered the door. I think said no, but not sure.

Leave a ringer purse on the counter full of ketchup packets in case you get robbed again. That’ll freak her the eff out if she was truly the one.

Of course she was up to no good. Really classy people ask for Grey Poupon.

Do thieves still chalk symbols and cut marks on trees close to the street so other thieves know which houses to hit? You should immediately check outside to see if this was draw on your curb…

Say ‘no’, tell her not to come back, and shut the door. She’s casing the place.

Or say “sure!” and squirt her with the Heinz.

Ketchup for fries is fine. If she’d asked for ketchup for her hot dog, I’d have been suspicious.

But why would a crafty would-be thief ask for something so odd? Not that ketchup is odd in itself, but wouldn’t it make more sense to claim to be looking for Mrs. Smith, then “gosh, sorry, I have the wrong address” or “may I tell you the holy gospel of the one true god?” if the plan is simply to check who is home and to have a “reason why I knocked your door” sentence ready? It doesn’t make much sense to make an unusual and therefore memorable request.

Or perhaps the ketchup-seeker is just a bit strange, with an imperfect understanding of social norms.

I had quite a long chat a few months ago with a woman who knocked on my door to ask for some sugar. I daresay she did want sugar, but I reckon her mission was partly “check out the new neighbour”. Nice woman, but I heard about her grandchild, her voluntary work, her upcoming gall-bladder operation… :smiley:

I’m guessing here. Possibly because it’s such an odd request that you’ll go looking for ketchup and leave the door unlocked, which presents a snatch and run opportunity. It’s easy to say no to a request for money, or to say you’re not interested in a religious spiel. But ketchup? It’s just weird and pathetic enough to where you might say okay to it.

The OP has never had a neighbor ask for something or needed to borrow a tool?

That’s what neighbors are for where I live. Someone baking a cake needs a couple eggs, or a cup of sugar. It’s no big deal. I get requests from neighbors a couple times a year. I don’t give it a second thought. Its always during the day and I can see who’s at the door before opening it.

I guess depending on where you live its dangerous to actually talk to your neighbors.

Yes, I have lent things to neighbors, but any of them would have said to my parents something like “Oh hi! Is carlotta here? I’m her neighbor Loretta from down the street. This is so strange, but do you suppose I could borrow some ketchup?” not “can I have some ketchup for my fries?” without further comment.

This is weird as fuck.

The person should have identified themselves and which house they came from. Hi, I’m Jill and just moved into the house three doors down.

This is odd that someone didn’t identify themselves.

Perhaps the OP doesn’t remember what her neighbors look like; I remember very few people’s faces myself.

Eek, I certainly would leave the door unlocked, saying “oh yes, ketchup? No problem, I’ll be right back”, and you’re right - it’s only a little flat, but while I go to the kitchen, (farthest room from the door), ketchup-seeker would have enough time to dash inside, make a random grab for anything valuable. It would just seem somehow terribly rude to lock the door. Hmm. And I thought I was fairly cynical. Obviously not sufficiently so, and I will bear your advice in mind. :slight_smile: I’m not a great target for burglars though, being pretty impecunious.

I usually don’t open the door for people I don’t know, but it depends on what they look like. Even then, I keep my foot where it will catch the door, should someone decide to try to push their way in.

“Sure, please pull up to window #1. Thank you.”

Luckily for me, the most valuable thing in my house is the ketchup.

High on something?

…or lost a bet or took a dare?