February 16, 2006

The Package

by psu

Firms spend millions upon millions of dollars conceiving, developing, building, marketing, and advertising their wares. They beg us to buy them. Their very existence depends on our whim and desire.

And then, when victory is at hand, and when the cash has been transferred, they show their appreciation for us by making it impossible to actually open the god forsaken package in which the item is stored. For this, someone must suffer.

I direct my wrath at the inventors of three banes of my existence, in order of the virulence of their creation.

1. That form of shrinkwrap that is absolutely smooth and tight over the CD or DVD box. So smooth and so tight that it is impossible to tear into it without damaging the box.

2. The mental midgets who seem to think it is necessary to cover every god-damned hinged surface of a box with a "security" bar code sticker. They don't do this in Canada.

3. Finally, and with the most hatred, whoever invented blister pack. Hopefully this guy will end up in a special circle of Dante's hell, permanently trapped in a gigantic container for a PS2 controller, without the jackhammer he needs to escape.


Posted by psu at February 16, 2006 09:03 PM | Bookmark This

Couldn't agree more - especially on the blister pack. Those things have literally left me bleeding in the past.

I was thinking that the blister-pack-guy-in-hell should have with him in his prison the means of his escape, good things to eat, books to read, a change of clothes etc etc.

Except, you guessed it, all are encased in impenetrable blister packs.

Posted by Will C at February 17, 2006 12:45 AM

For the tight shrinkwrap, move around a little with a finger somewhere in the middle to stretch it a little (no more). Then place both of your thumbs on the somewhat stretched part and slowly but steadily force it outwards. within 5 to 15 seconds you opened it without any damage. Sometimes however they come with a sort of extra strong plastic, which is absolutely impossible to open. In that case, despair. Luckily nowadays most come in the "easy" form (at least in the Netherlands).

#2 is only a problem on budget stuff, sometimes. Not anymore though, I think nobody liked it.

Blister packs can be fine. For example the one my new Gamecube controller came in, you could simply pull a scissor through the plastic without hitting the controller unless you'd have some kind of severe RSI/disorder.

That said however, I am just practising my method for #1 on my just arrived David Bowie - Diamond Dogs album and it doesn't work, although it's the friendly kind of plastic. Luckily it had a little thingy on the side I could pull and work from there. Then once you've created an inital opening it's a piece of cake. I do think it's the closest to good protection and easy enough to open...

(also note that the purchase of this album was the direct consequence of illegal music downloading)

Posted by Frenzie at February 17, 2006 04:49 AM

The Xbox controllers are the worst. Even with scissors you can't get the damn package open.

Posted by Andy P at February 17, 2006 08:12 AM

The Bic pen cap is the bane of the CD 'shrink' wrap. Insert into the overlap and zip across. You should have a Bic Round Stic pen clipped to the corner of your towel at all times.

Posted by Tim F at February 17, 2006 09:10 AM

The old style blister packs, with plastic attached to a cardboard backing, were really easy to work with. It's the new vacuum sealed extruded plastic horror packages that require power tools to get into that are truly horrific. I sympathise with Will - I've injured myself on them before. The real question is, how the hell do we stop manufacturers using them when they're so cheap to create?

Posted by Chris at February 17, 2006 01:08 PM

How is blister pack cheaper than other packaging, like a cardboard box? This is an actual question -- I don't know anything about the economics of packaging.

Posted by Benoit at February 20, 2006 07:01 PM

My guess, from no valid data at all, is that it's more expensive to make the blister packs but makes up the money in less returns. The only advantage a blister pack has is that I can look in and see what's in the package....too often I've gotten ripped off from boxes that either wound up being repacked returns (Oh look, the warranty card is ALREADY FILLED OUT), broken, or just plain missing essential pieces. Just last week week I fell for that trap of believing a wrist brace was for right hands. Either my thumb's in the wrong place or some ass switched them around in the store.

I can't remember what it was, but awhile back I had a blister pack that included little screws holding it together. At first I was a little annoyed, but it actually separated quite easily with a phillips head. I didn't cut myself on jagged plastic or destroy the packaging in the process; I wouldn't mind seeing more of that.

Posted by Adam at February 20, 2006 07:32 PM

Actually, those barcodes are put on CDs in Canada too. They suck.

Posted by Chris Colohan at February 23, 2006 05:04 PM



Concerns about hard-to-open packaging may not be just about consumer inconvenience. According to 2001 Census Bureau data, people suffered more than twice as many injuries related to household packaging and containers than from skateboards or swimming pools (although those numbers include injuries that involve dropping a package on a foot).

Posted by psu at March 5, 2006 07:57 AM

Please help support Tea Leaves by visiting our sponsors.

November October September August July June May April March February January

December November October September August July June May April March February January

December November October September August July June May April March February January