Those hard to open packages sure can be out—RAGE — ous!!
By BILL PIECUCH
For The Vista
When a product comes in a plastic wrapper, which is inside of a box, which is inside of yet another plastic container, danger lurks.
Heed this, all you grocery stores and friends: After 99% of her readers said that packages were getting harder to open, the editor of a national magazine for senior citizens complained that ‘Hard to open packaging isn’t just a dangerous nuisance, it discriminates against the weak.’
I’d call it “wrap rage” or “package rage.”
Either way, this is an apt description for my heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-remove packaging. High on the list are some heat-sealed plastic blister packs which require the Jaws of Life to open.
Recently, I was checking razor blades securely tucked away in the display case like precious jewels. I openly wondered if cap room is available on my charge card and subsequent purchase. In the process a silent alarm goes off alerting a very hefty counterman — and he is in full trot as he rapidly approaches. This looks like the kind of guy professional football is trying to ban because his tackles create concussions. He is the protector of the protected blister pack.
While not from huge countermanen, research does show consumers suffer thousands of injuries per year trying to open stubborn packages. Injuries include cut fingers and sprained wrists — all resulting from tools used to open packages and from the packaging itself.
A survey in Yours, a magazine aimed at people over 50, found that 99% of the 2,000 respondents said packaging had become harder to open over the last 10 years, 97% said there was “too much excess packaging.”
In a survey conducted at the Cox School of Business, almost 80% of households “expressed anger, frustration or outright rage” with plastic packaging. Consumers also tend to use words such as “hate” and “difficult” when describing these products.
Consumers, including me, sometimes use potentially unsafe tools such as large kitchen knives, razor blades, screwdrivers, teeth, snips, pliers and ice picks in attempts to open packages
Which poses this question: Why, oh why, are we not yet a slide-lock or, at least, a press-and-seal nation? More and more food packages from cereal, potato chips and pre-cut salads, for example, are being marketed as “convenient.”
The reality, though, is different. Neither the formerly effective “pinch-and-pull” technique nor that old fallback — teeth — can open them. Zip-tabs are the thingies that stick out from under the cellophane on a package. When you pull them, the cellophane tears.
Many modern snack bags are currently made of polypropylene materials that bar humidity and moisture, which, quite honestly, make Cheez Doodles and the like droopy.
That layer is bonded to a microscopically thin sheet of aluminum that keeps out rancidity — promoting oxygen, says packaging industry experts like Mary Ann Falkman, editor-in-chief of Packaging Digest. In addition, most package seals aren’t formed by glue these days but by pressure from huge metal jaws that clamp down on the layers.
One reason for such intricate packaging is to keep food fresher longer. Apparently, this reduces waste and saves the company money.
Secure packages also eliminate spillage during shipping. But these days “security” is perhaps the more effective buzzword. This is because “poisoned” is a much scarier word than either “stale” or “messy.”
It also irks people that, once opened, the bag is often ripped down the side, making it impossible to keep ingredients fresh or successfully seal leftovers.
A lot of aging people have a tough time coping with bags that they need scissors to open, and so they don’t buy them. That’s what happens when consumers resort to knives and scissors to deal with stubborn packages.
Packaging is now a very important part of people’s purchasing decisions. Most of us realize that it didn’t used to be. But now there’s this Catch-22.
Yes, packages need to be harder to open and tamper-evident … but do they need to be sealed?
With revolutions sweeping through the Middle East and governments in the area falling like dominos, be alert Mr. Packager.
Find a better, affordable way!
We aging baby boomers in Fairfield Glade and throughout the country are secretly suffering from wrap rage and planning revolts against your insensitive packages.