The annoyances of packaging

Apr 28, 2011


She tried nail polish remover and that didn’t work. I suggested using gasoline, but that didn’t go over too well. So she soaked them for a long time and used steel wool and she succeeded in removing most, but not all, of the glue. I guess we will just wait for time to remove the rest of the glue.

In the meantime, we have to use them at the table with a little bit of the ugly glue remaining on the tongs.

That is one of the annoyances of modern packaging. There are several that I can think of. Annoyances that stem from the convenience of the manufacturer or the retailer with no regard for the consumer. Above is only one example. Another is the fact that small objects are packaged in ridiculously large containers of hard durable plastic. It takes a pair of scissors, tin snips, a chisel and an acetylene torch to remove and you are likely to lacerate your hand in the process. The reason is, of course, to discourage shoplifting.

Packages are deliberately made difficult to open and larger than necessary so that the contents can’t be removed easily or slipped into your pocket and making it difficult to steal. This is an unfortunate but necessary fact of life. However, progress is being made and manufacturers seem to be making an effort to be convenient to both the retailer and the consumer.  I recently bought a package of six C batteries (another annoyance that I will get to later) which were contained in a cleverly designed package. The package was plastic, of course.  It was bound in a plastic tape that was securely fastened on the top and bottom, but was loose on the sides. So I did the natural thing, i.e. I snipped the tape with a pair of scissors, gave the tape a little tug and the package flopped open and the batteries were easily accessible. I removed the two that I needed, snapped the package shut and was done with it.  So you see that with a clever design it is possible to manufacture a package that is not easily stolen, but the user can easily access.

During a recent power outage, I had to use a flashlight to grope my way around the house. I noticed that the flashlight was dim, so I bought new batteries when I could. I had to get two C batteries and had to buy six. C batteries aren’t used too much any more. Almost every thing uses AA or AAA batteries nowadays.  So the remaining four batteries will sit in a drawer for months or years. Chances are that when I need C batteries again, the ones I have will get lost or go dead and I will have to buy six more. About six years ago I had to buy a new belt for our vacuum cleaner. I had to buy a package of two. The other one is around here somewhere, but heaven knows where. We still have the vacuum cleaner, but it is on its last legs. Chances are the cleaner will be junked long before the belt will be needed. I, like everyone else, have built a modest collection of brads, screws and tacks — so much so that they are cluttering up the place. It seems to me that some enterprising entrepreneur could make a living by buying, selling and trading small items similar to those I mentioned. I know I would gladly pay a quarter for a half a dozen brads rather than buying 300 of them at $2.99. Also I would willingly trade the 296 brads that I didn’t use for a half a dozen sheet metal screws. So get on it, start a hardware store of small items such as nuts, bolts and washers. Who knows, maybe you’ll become another Sam Walton.

One last peeve. How about those stupid seals that appear on bottles of soy sauce, aspirin and other products. Why do they appear on soy sauce, but not mustard jars? Are they necessary? The reason that they exist, as you may recall, is that about ten years ago some idiot put some poison in some bottles and put the bottles back on a store shelf. Do seals really do the job, i.e. deter such morons? Well it seems to me any moron can duplicate a seal that does not contain a royal crest.

I’m afraid that we will have to be bothered by this nonsense.

One last word to all my golfing friends out there: May the Schartzel be with you. I just couldn’t resist that.

— By Ralph Wiltse, Community Columnist



All the conviences you get when the Wall Mart models is followed... ie the lowest cost for everything.... hey there used to be a good little hardware store in Spring Lake, had all sorts of onsies of stuff... guess what?? couldn't compete with likes of Home Depot.


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