4/22/2010

Try to open this

They used to package music CDs in a hard plastic sheath that I could never open without using a heavy-duty cutting tool. I would sometimes stubbornly try to pry my fingernails into the crevice between the two layers of plastic and invariably hurt myself. I might get a small flap opened, hoping to rip the entire package open using the exposed lip, but it never worked.

CDs must not be worth much to anyone anymore because they no longer use that wrapping method. I still buy CDs though, and they now come in a lightweight cellophane-like material that can be opened by first prying with a pencil or pen, things that can be quickly found almost anywhere. I no longer have to fetch my metal shears from the garage. But they continue to wrap flash memory cards in that hard plastic, so I guess those items are considered more important than CDs now. At first, the cards were expensive, but not so much anymore. Memory cards have a smaller footprint than music CDs, and I guess it would be easy for a thief to pocket one in a store. I can understand putting them in a package of larger dimensions, but isn’t a cardboard box good enough? That’s how they package ink cartridges for printers and they aren’t cheap. I have bought my last few memory cards via the internet, however, and I really don’t see any reason to worry about shoplifting in a mail-order purchase.

I recently bought some inexpensive battery-powered hand fans, though, and they came in the hard plastic too. The things are bigger than music CDs and cost $10, so why the fuss?

That hard plastic used to drive me nuts. It teases the purchaser, because it appears that it was meant to be removed easily, but that’s not the case. There’s certainly no sticker on the packaging that tells you to have a cutting torch handy.

It turns out that the material designed to be difficult to open, on purpose. I heard an interview on CBC radio with someone from a packaging company that explained how the package is formed. The sheets of plastic are sonically welded together, that’s why the seal is so tough and why I can’t pry the packaging apart with my bare hands. The spokesman said that the material is designed to be cut apart with a medium-duty cutting tool.

Now he tells me.

I would like to meet the inventor of the process. I’d sit with him, offer him lots of very salty peanuts and get him drinking lots of beer, an entire case of 24 maybe. Any brand he likes. Then I’d put him on a small 10-foot square deserted island surrounded by video camcorders. I would put an outhouse on the island and I would wrap the outhouse in a sonically welded hard plastic package. Then I would film him trying to get into the outhouse, and I would watch the video over and over again, and laugh and laugh.

1 Comments:

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Gregory said...

Manufacturers are getting better at neglecting to mention little details. Like to use the Roomba garage robot one must have industrial compressed air to clean the quickly fouling sensors. Or the indoor one that needs to be disassembled and cleaned after every use... now what was that point again? Been there,etc. Now where was my Dremel?

 

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