Modern packaging – does it make our lives easier or is the tools of the devil?
The inspiration for this piece came about when I tried to undo the plastic tag on a new loaf of bread. You know, the bit that has the best before date stamped on it and you are supposed to be able to restick after extracting whatever number of pieces you require. I call it the twisty thing because I always hold the top of the bag and spin it around in order to prevent exposure to the air and premature mould. Could I “unstick” it and reseal? Could I buggery. Had to resort to a pair of scissors to get the bloody thing open. Could I find the scissors easily? Again, could I buggery. Therefore the simple act of making some toast for breakfast raised my stress levels by about a zillion percent.
So I’m going to give you my top ten list of modern packaging design peeves and I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions too. It’s not an exhaustive list nor in order of most hated.
1) Ring pull cans. How many times have you “popped” a can only to find yourself the proud owner of a too-small ring for marriage asking purposes and a still sealed drink? Then you have to attempt to and push the top in with your thumb then try and find the plasters or bash it with something sharp yet pointy (screwdriver?) and end up wearing your drink – refreshing.
2) Resealable bags E.g. Cheese – yeah, right. Inevitably ends in putting the product (bag n’ all) in an old carrier bag and doing the twisty, spinny thing (again)
3) Corned beef tins. Two peeves here. Firstly, the key. It CAN work, on occasion, but more often than not the strip of metal it’s supposed to wind up (Ironically it can wind me up no problem) decides to go its own way. Secondly, the tin once opened it incredibly sharp. I have ended up in A&E with a minor artery severed in my thumb. For stats on admissions to hospital resulting from corned beef related injuries check out this article – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1421698/60000-are-injured-by-opening-packaging.html
4) Washing machine and printer transportation packaging. Have you ever unpacked and installed a printer or washing machine (following the instructions of course) only to be greeted by an unhealthy grinding noise the first time you attempt to use it because you somehow missed one securing bolt or piece of polystyrene?
5) Polystyrene “peanuts” – don’t really require any comment?
6) The plastic seal on ketchup bottles (underneath the lid) – who remembers to remove this before first use? Not me.
7) The plastic wrapper on CDs/DVDs – can result in expensive dentist bills and/or shattered disc after stamping on it.
8) Toilet roll – doesn’t qualify as packaging but deserves a mention because of the angst caused when a roll doesn’t “start” properly resulting in uneven sheets and a roll of approximately 1 cm width left on the tube that even Sheryl Crow couldn’t use. See this article http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2007/apr/23/musicnews.music for clarification…
9) Plastic Milk Bottles – after eventually managing to unscrew the too-tight cap you are yet again greeted by another sealing film that is impossible to peel off – now where did I put that trusty screwdriver?
10) The “cutter” on cling-film boxes. Really? I’m sure the intention behind this was good but talk about poorly executed (even writing about it is raising my blood pressure).
I hope you enjoyed this piece and if any of you are inspired to invent solutions that will one day end up on Dragons Den… I want a cut!