Recently, when I raised the question first in my blog, LifeonTheMay.com, and later in this newspaper, I wondered if I was the only one who thought that today’s packaging was problematic.
I was not prepared for the voices and stories that came back to me.
Clearly, I am not alone.
I will share a few of the emails I received on the topic. The parentheses are mine. The comments belong to readers.
First, both Bill and Gwyneth reminded me that all of this started with the Tylenol tampering. Since then, as Gwyneth says, the manufacturers have done everything but put their goods behind barbed wire and electric fences. (We’re just getting started.)
Vickie asked me if I heard her scream when the knife she was using to open a bottle sliced into her hand. When she finally got it open, it was only half-full, most of it jammed with cotton. (We can relate.)
Gwyneth remembered the time she was desperate for an anti-cramp, anti PMS-medication and couldn’t break through the bubble wrap. (Cruel manufacturer. Obviously not a woman.)
Ann told me of buying a toy for her grandchild that required two adults and a box cutter to open. (Good grief!)
Pam wondered if I’d forgotten all the bad words that are uttered before we dissolve into tears of submission. (Never. That’s a requirement for this frustrating ritual.)
Sally related her desperation in attempting to open a bottle of water while traveling on I-95 and wondered if she’d have to stop to ask a stranger for help. (Stranger danger. Not a good idea.)
Lest you think that women should just turn stuff over to a man to do the job, I wish you could hear Dave expound on his recent bout with a jar of peanut butter. He successfully removed the cap only to find a thick layer of foil that had to be tweezed off in teeny-tiny strips. (I believe the peanut butter people have since heard from him.)
Lynne recalls the tightly wrapped mac-and-cheese boxes and the fingernails that were broken trying to get them open so she could feed her hungry boys. She finally gave up and let them tear open the boxes. After all, she says, they never had fingernails to begin with. (What else was she to do?)
Bev warns us to be careful taking the trash out when the bags are full of mangled pieces of plastic, which can, if we’re not careful, mangle our hands. (It just gets uglier and uglier.)
Nancy bought a special tool just for these occasions. Apparently it doesn’t work. (Are we surprised by that?)
She also brings up the nasty bit about the childproof caps that apparently only children can open. (Something’s very wrong here.)
Madlyn says that life would be so much easier if we could solve this universal frustration. (Applause, applause.)
Finally, Diana wraps it all up for us. “I now wear scissors around my neck as a fashion accessory,” she said simply.
I rest my case.
Sallie Collins enjoys living on the banks of the May River and writes about it in her blog, www.LifeOnTheMay.com, from which this article is taken.