17 November 2010

QotD: WTF is it with plastic packaging?

This month I've decided to post every day. Since I don't have enough original things to write about (hence the desertish nature of my blog lately), I've decided to ask a new question every day this month and hope that I get answers. I have questions; you have answers.

I have a cut on my left hand. How did I get this cut, you ask? I got it from trying to get something out of its diabolical plastic packaging. In order to remove this item (a camera battery charger, if you must know), I had to resort to my Really Sharp kitchen scissors. In the process of removing the charger from the packaging, I managed to cut my finger (on the plastic, not the scissors).

This isn't the first time I've injured myself trying to remove some gizmo or toy from packaging hell. I suspect that some of you have had it happen, too. In fact, thousands of people go to ERs yearly with injuries caused by plastic packaging.

I am not sure why this kind of indestructible plastic packaging is necessary. Perhaps it reduces in-store theft, but somehow I doubt it. It certainly isn't needed for online purchase. Hello, companyX -- I bought that thingamajig from your website, and you sent it direct to my house. If someone wants to steal it, they'll take the whole box before I get home. "Securing" my thingamajig in indestructible plastic packaging only makes me insane.

Having to deal with this kind of packaging makes me insane. And I'm not the only one who feels that way. There is even a name for that feeling: "Wrap Rage".

Amazon is trying to convince companies to provide their items in "frustration-free" packaging. I do like this option, especially as it appears to be more environmentally freindly, but it not infrequently costs extra. Extra money, so that I don't have the opportunity to slice up my hand on the sharp edge of a plastic clamshell. Whose brilliant idea is that?

And let's not even talk about kids' toys that are secured in the package with 4,276 twist ties...

5 comments:

Claudia said...

I hate that kind of packaging. I also hate the twist ties. I think that if you are in danger of BREAKING the object of desire while trying to wrestle it out of the plastic deathtrap, it's bad design.

I'm not sure what one could possibly do about it. I'm also sure there is a seemingly reasonable explanation for this kind of packaging that makes no sense whatsoever to people like you and me.

Guess what my husband gave me for my birthday! It was supersafely packaged but very easily to unpack. In fact, a five-year-old did it...

Claudia said...

Geez. "Very easily to unpack."

I'm tired.

Belladonna said...

Bought a Philips phone a while ago, and was impressed that the packaging was not only easy to remove, it was all recyclable.
Perhaps there's some EU regs about this?

Herman X said...

Well, you know my thoughts on this type of packaging. Every computer accessory on the planet either comes with a diabolical, impossible to open wrapping or comes in a box 27 times larger than the original item's size.

We have a pair of garden shears that got slightly broken about 2 years ago. (they don't make a perfect cut anymore so it is really hard to prune tree branches and bushes) BUT, it is ONE HECK of a plastic package opener.

It sits on my desk in its new job capacity as PDAG (packaging destroyer and gouger) and does a wonderful job.

I bought a portable cd player for a road trip very recently and wanted to test it before leaving the store parking lot. So, I sat in my car and it took more than 5 minutes to get the package opened. All I had was my car keys, a pen and my bare hands. It was absolutely ridiculous!

stoutfellow said...

I use an artist's knife for that stuff - you know, the kind with a retractable and very sharp blade? The biggest problem I have is with compact fluorescents; trying to cut the plastic without harming the bulbs is a pain.