Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hard Plastic Packaging

From a 1998 discussion board post from some guy with the initials b.h.: "For Christmas I received a very nice portable cd player. It came in this blister pack, obviously designed so it can be hung on a hook behind the store counter. Can anyone enlighten me as how to open the f*****g thing? There are no "pull here to open" labels or anything like that. It seems that you have to completely destroy the packaging to open it. I almost cut myself with my knife. Does anyone remember
buying radios and such in boxes? God I hate blister packs. The label should say, 'destroy here to open'."

Every time I purchase something that comes in one of those damned packages (called a thermoformed blister package, by the way, not to beconfused with real blister packs that are the kind that Drixoral and Benadryl come in - those little flat things with indentations that you have to peel the back off. The difference being that they are manufactured differently) I mangle my hands. And we've allowed Them* to do this to us for eight years already. I actually searched the web for a grass-roots group against blister packages. I'm pretty certain there's something They can do to make them easier to open. Here are some commandments for packaging:
  • Thou shalt not make packaging that requires special tools (craft knifes aren't strong enough, and utility knives are usually buried in the garage/basement/closet).
  • Thou shalt not make packaging more difficult to use than the thing it encloses.
  • Thou shalt engage consumer focus groups before implementing anti-theft packaging
  • Thou shalt make packaging large enough to discourage shoplifting (Costco uses this to great effect without using blister packaging. For the most part.)
  • Thou shalt come up with a device that the store has to remove at purchase that subsequently enables the package to be opened like a simple clamshell, thereby serving multiple gods: the anti-shoplifting god, the clean-language god, and the right-to-simple-packaging god.
  • Thou shalt not make hazardous consumer packaging.
So what the hell brought all this on? My laptop, my sacred Vaio, had a dead LCD monitor and is being repaired at Sony; I have to Nick's left-behind tower computer and a PS2 mouse and keyboard. Both PS2 ports are pushing up daisies, so I had to use USB devices. Typing on the USB keyboard sounds like a heard of horses on concrete (think IBM Selectric), so I bought another keyboard. New keyboard has a PS2 connection, which I didn't think was a problem until I plugged it in and realized it wasn't the old keyboard but the ports that were the problem. ARGH! So, last night I purchased a PS2 to USB adapter from Best Buy. This morning I (ahem) "opened" the package to remove the adapter. Even my heaviest duty scissors barely made it through the plastic, and it just shouldn't be that difficult To add insult to injury, it was a blister pack inside a blister pack. At least I didn't cut myself this time. I saw someone in that same discussion board call it a "blister cut."

Is this stuff even recyclable?

*The Retailers and the Manufacturers

1 comment:

  1. Oh!!! That is one of my biggest pet peeves! I have cut myself, Michael has cut himself, I think we all have, trying to free our plug, or PDA, or cell phone, or other tiny thing form this huge chunk of impenetrable plastic! Let's form a consumer's group!!!!