The perils of packaging
I bought a new pair of scissors the other day. The only problem was extricating them from the thick strands of plastic that bound them to a cardboard pack.
I tore at the cardboard, hacked at the plastic with a bread knife and swore at it – all to no avail. What I needed was the scissors that lay tantalisingly within.
Such is the crazy world of modern packaging.
How I yearn for simpler times when, to obtain milk, all you had to do was lightly press the foil cap on a pint bottle.
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These days, things are hi-tech, yet life is more difficult. The other day, I failed dismally to unscrew the cap on a plastic bottle. I even tried an adjustable spanner and only succeeded by squeezing the top between a door edge and frame.
Perhaps sadistic milk package designers are trying to emulate the marmalade jar division. Those unopenable little pots you find on hotel breakfast tables are like some diabolical practical joke.
With some packaging, there's a knack – you either have it or you don't. Ring-pull cans fall into that category along with the child-proof caps to paracetamol bottles. The latter give me a headache, rather than take it away.
A further problem is what to do when the opening device doesn't work: the foil cap on milk cartons lacks that crucial pull-tab or the ring-pull breaks off the can.
A too-clever-by-half toothpaste top drove me potty. The inverted cap was supposed to unscrew the little plastic cover to the tube, but merely cut into my palm. A bodge-up followed that was even more hazardous.
It seems barmy that labels for plants and washing powder have safety warnings about not eating them, but toothpaste leaflets never state, "When the poncey opening device fails, do not injure yourself hacking it with a carving knife."
When bottles and tubes were simpler, packaging failure wasn't so catastrophic but, lately, I've had to throw stuff away unopened because I couldn't slash or smash my way into it.
Don't get me started on dental floss…