January 05, 2006

Whose Bright Idea Was This?

Christmas is over and people worldwide are left with bandaged fingers, twisted elbows and some, with chipped teeth because of it.

Think about it for a minute and you’ll figure out what I’m referring to.

Here. Imagine some wisenheimer sitting around a conference table saying to his dozing cohorts, “Hey, I have a great idea … let’s get into the lab and create the most impenetrable crap the world has ever known then package everything into it … from shavers to toys to desk sets to Mp3 players. It’ll drive them all nuts. He he he …”

Yeah. THAT stuff.

I can't recall exactly when it all started, but it had to be at least ten years ago. Some sadistic maniac invented that hard-plastic protective, security wrap that covers everything from headphones to cameras to batteries for Pete’s sake!

The problem is twofold ~

1. You cannot open the stuff by normal means, and
2. Once you have finally worked at it long enough to get a corner of it opened, it now becomes a deadly weapon ripping apart already sensitive fingers and gums. (Yes, I've tried using my teeth. DO NOT try using your teeth.)

Somehow, they take this plastic goop and mold it perfectly to surround every possible curve and groove of the item it is intended to protect. Then they heat it to some exorbitant temperature, suck much of the air from the package and probably freeze-dry it, thereby making it impenetrable.

I know I can't be the only one suffering in the wake of this invention.

Grown men have been brought to their knees in anguish trying to get through this stuff. I've seen the military uncover shrink-wrapped Blackhawks faster than I can get at my new hairdryer.

There is also no feminine way to open such packages. You’ve just finished thanking Aunt Greta for the lovely manicure kit she carefully picked out for you, and she is sitting across the room waiting for you to try it out. Within minutes you’re a stark-raving lunatic … swearing like a sailor and stomping on the thing with everything you’ve got. Finally you flail it back at her and fall into a heap, sobbing while you wipe your own blood off the floor.

The great irony here is that you can walk into a gun shop and buy a shiny new .45 or Safari 550, point the thing at the nearest wall ~ pull the trigger and create a new window ~ all within two minutes. But lucky for us, the dreaded and deadly iPod is safely tucked just out of our reach beneath a coating of what should be called “Eterna-Seal.”

I don’t know about you but I’d sure like a suit made from this stuff. No more laundering of clothes, no more fatal car accidents, no more broken bones, we couldn't drown, and hell, if we coat our own teeth with it, no more root canal or extraction!

I would also like to get my shredded fingers around the very neck of the bastard who came up with this whole idea. If you know who he is, have your people tell my people and we can settle this nonsense once and for all.

Next Christmas, the first two things I’m putting on my list are a jackhammer and a hacksaw. Then maybe I’ll have a chance to actually open other gifts without needing stitches!

NOTE: I wrote this in late December last year and posted it at that time. Now edited somewhat ~ I still feel exactly the same way about this crap and figured what good is a rant if you can’t wear it out?

I did say that I was going to ask for a jackhammer and hacksaw this year … but instead I asked for a husband so that he could open such packages for me. It worked.


Blogger Courtney said...

And what about when you have to return said item to the store? It's horrifying to stand at the return counter with a mangled plastic blob that contains your ill-fitted electronic equipment. You feel like people are looking at you like, "What did you do, lady? Run it over with the lawnmower?"

This year, I bought myself a "universal" card reader for my digital camera. Unfortunately, it was only after I had wrestled the package open that I understood that "universal" means "all cards fit but yours."

9:20 AM  
Blogger Mz Rachel said...

I think it is a ploy to make us all buy super powerful scissors!!


Some how my kids got me to get everyone of those packages open with in no time.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous John said...

HAH! I love the post-script Carol, you got your man! Isn't that wrapping the pits! I've also been sooo frustrated with that s--t before too.

If I find out who came up with this method of wrapping, I'll be sure to send you an email swiftly Carol! ;)

10:30 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I'm with you. These are the most annoying things to come out of the 1990s, and that was the decade that brought us Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, the Spice Girls, and Barney.

10:42 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

LOL! Yes those wrappings can be so annoying...I used to think it was an American thing since forever...but looks like it started only in the 1900 s...now if they knew of the better way, then WHY?

11:37 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

I fully agree with you on those packings.I even tried using a knife and nearly cut my finger off.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

I quit fooling with the packages. Now I use a heavy duty pair of shears that are unsuitable for cutting paper but handle anything from bubble packs to metal banding with ease. The things that vex me now are those stupid DVD and CD cases with the plastic strips glued to three sides of the case and are only a micron thin so they break instead of peel away.

On a related note, the day after HKRXmasux should be called Battery Day. I noticed the stores were flooded with return gifts and people trying to get consumables (mainly batteries) for their new loot.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

That's what we husbands do: open stuff that's hard to open.

I totally agree with you. I wondered this before.

Have you ever risked damaging the device you're trying to remove from the plastic? Irony.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Divine Calm said...


2:36 PM  
Anonymous Simply Coll said...

I am so glad you have brought this into the open. I thought I was the only one that was living with this nightmare. It gives me strength to carry on knowing I am not alone. Together.. we shall open all packages!!

Congrats again on your own personal package opener :-)

3:06 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I hate those packages! The worst is buying the things at the store and wanting to put it in the car immediately (whatever it may be). It doesn't work.

You posted this before? I missed that. How? Odd.

I'm still thrilled that you now have your own personal package opener!

3:18 PM  
Blogger Cheyenne said...

I usually try a scissors first and if that fails it gets put into my husband's hands to deal with. I also hate the packaging on CDs. THAT drives me absolutely nuts.

4:43 PM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

Glad I'm not the only one who can't open this crap. I thought the rest of the world must know some secret that they refused to share with me..

5:51 PM  
Blogger Spinning Girl said...

It is molded and fired in the kilns of Hell by Satan and his minions!

Kitchen scissors do a pretty good job.

They should make chastity belts out of it.

Thanks for the laugh!

6:44 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

The hardest ones are baby dolls, which apparently they do not want you to take out of the package at all. Once you get the plastic open (with that hacksaw you mentioned) you then have to maneuver seventy-eleven twist ties which are all twisted on in a different way.

Thanks for the laughs!

6:57 PM  
Blogger oregoncelticlady said...

And to make matters unbearable, you finally get it out after shredding the package, it doesn't work and when you go to return it, the clerk says, "Do you have the original package?" &%$@*&%

7:03 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Hahahahahahahaha! I agree completely. And my first thought, Kenju, was "What about the stupid twist ties?"

I suppose they make it this complicated to keep us from walking off with it in the store.

12:37 AM  
Blogger dulciana said...

Oh, yes, Santa's biggest job this year was to cut open the Eterna-Sealed packages and then undo the seventy-million twistie ties. I hate that stuff!

1:31 AM  
Blogger the Monk said...

yeah, I know, that stuff is really frustrating...maybe they should seal bullets in this stuff...but I suppose the plastic would melt at those temperatures... or would it?

6:46 AM  
Blogger Rainypete said...

I always carry a pocketknife so on Chroistmas day it gets passed around quicker than a fruitcake. On a very ironic sidenote, when I bought it I was dismayed to find it came in one of those impenetrable contariners so I was forced to use a knife to free my knife.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

The irony is, you truly need a manicure after prying open the manicure SET. :)

The other piss-you-right-off thing is the security tape over each side of a DVD box. It takes me longer to open the freaking box than it does to watch the movie that's inside. Jeezus!

1:27 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

LOL, i agree! Although, having a child i must say, spending all of Christmas day trying to remove those grey twist tie thingys that hold items to the actual cardboard, drive me mental! Infact, i reckon they'd be a great torture device!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I keep small pair of scissors in my purse. You can always poke them into a fold somewhere and open that Eterna-Seal by slitting through it. Just like a letter opener for envelopes.

I think the worst are those child proof caps. Just when your head is pounding with the strenght of an elephant heard you have to struggle to get the cap off the Tylenol. A child could do it...

Have you ever returned something cause you couldn't open it? I have done that with a jar of pickles once. No one in the store could open them either. :D It was pretty funny watching them try.

6:39 PM  
Blogger oregoncelticlady said...

You all crack me up (needing a knife to get out my knife...BAHAHA). And this all brings to mind a very sad, bad story about my Aunt Philomena who had an artificial eye....never mind! *laugh*

7:18 PM  
Blogger Puggyspice said...

Sing it, sister!

Although something that indestructable would make a good rabbit toy...

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminded me of a skit from the Carol Burnett show. Carol is playing a woman in her kitchen who is trying to open various packages, cans, milk, whatever, and each has instructions that don't work. She has a meltdown, it's one of my favorites.

Sticker residue drives me nuts.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Ron Southern said...

Quite right. i' ve often been humiliated by such packages!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

I ditto the frustration. And I ditto what Courtney said about returning the item. Grrr.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Ben AKA Kathy said...

You're right!...a royal pain in the butt and probably costly too if it's produced like the plastic we get everything else packaged in. I wrote about that part of it in Nov., forgetting to mention the annoyance factor that you bring up in this entry. (http://ben-gal.tripod.com/index.blog?entry_id=1284607).
Yup, it helps to have two to wrestle the stuff...better keep him around!

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Gawd!...I pray Ed wasn't encased in that stuff!...would have made for a frustrating honeymoon :)) (Where did they fit the twist ties on Ed?)
Kevin the cool blue one...

9:42 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

It's like getting into Fort Knox! I've had some experiences with this exact thing lately. Even with scissors, it's hard to open this stuff.

It makes you wonder about the waste it makes clogging up the landfill too. I bet they take a long time to break down.

10:45 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

The really sad part of this tale of woe is that the kids derive more pleasure from watching their angry, frustrated parents attempt to free the overpriced toy from the myriad of metal twist-ties, shrink-wraped impenitrable security plastic force-field shit and plastic strips that just HAD to be SEWN INTO BARBIE'S FRIGGIN HAIR! Than they ever had playing with the actual toy (that was abandoned in the back yard approximately five minutes after their emotionally broken parent was whisked off to the Emergency Room to get their fingers sutured back on.) I agree with ya...SOMBODY NEEDS TO PAY!!!! ;p

12:36 AM  
Blogger Rob Seifert said...

Once again, Cher has beaten me to the punchline. As I was sitting here reading your post and laughing quietly so as not to wake up Cher and the kids from their much needed naps, I realized that someone could make a pile if they created a kit to get through this. You'd need a pair of tinsnips, perhaps a butane torch, some wire cutters, stainless steel mesh gloves and a mini-bottle of valium - now that's a long, Faulkneresque sentence...


4:08 PM  
Blogger jon said...

Are you crazy? Why would you even think of giving a Guinnea pig that much responsibility? They have a brain the size of a lima bean! You need some counseling.

NOTE: I actually wrote this comment last June and left it on a completely different blog, but it is one of my favorites and I still feel the same today.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Swathi said...

so u r back with ur wonderfully humoured posts :))

if u thot the packaging over there is bad then u must see the stuff here in India - u wudn't have any teeth left by the time u r 40 :))

12:48 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

Ha Ha Ha
I found out yars ago that there is nothing like a sharp pair of scissors LOL
The problem I used to have was wrapping the weird packages until I started saving empty cereaql boxes and putting the weird shapped gifts in them
It also had the added feature of watching a kid opening up a gift and their eyes bulging at the site of receiving Rice Krispies for Christmas LOL

2:25 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This stuff makes sense to me when you buy things in the stores, but please, when you buy it ONLINE? You shouldn't have to use a machete in your kitchen to get to your electronics. EXCELLENT POINT!

5:34 PM  
Blogger Hick said...

Ha! I hate it when I buy something that I need right away...before I can get home and get my jackhammer...and I can't open the dang thing.

It's not the manufacturer whose neck we need to squeeze, it's all those shoplifters that have caused manufacturers to wrap their stuff in Kevlar. I hate that.

10:27 PM  
Blogger GEL said...

You rant so well!
By your lovestruck eyes, your hubby fulfills more than your post.
(I ranted in a poem. It felt good!)

3:30 AM  
Anonymous bekah said...

Of course if we could be wrapped in it, we couldn't move our bodies... which probably would be a problem.

4:29 PM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...


8:17 PM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

I find that these packages open easily with a small line of primer cord laid in the seam along with a mercury detonator. Of course your gift and house take a beating but your fingers and gums don't.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Chevy said...

love this post. thanks for the laugh.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

if they start packaging condoms with this material, the world's population may double.

6:58 PM  
Blogger t. durden said...

Happy New Years Weary. And yes I do feel your pain. However, I have a balisong (butterfly) knife and a pair of heavy duty Cutco scissors for those occassions. For the CDs and other lighter stuff ... I use the knife. For the "Spawn of Satan" sealing plastic, I use the Cutco. Not trying to plug Cutco ... but my mother has had those scissors for about seven years, and the stuff can cut through tin cans or plastic without breaking a sweat.
As to who made that plastic, I think it is the same folks that made pre-packaged foods for Amtrak.

11:42 AM  
Blogger t. durden said...

P.S. Congratulations on your matrimonial harmony. You two make a delightful looking couple.

11:47 AM  
Blogger J said...

I hate the plastic. I don't so much hate the opening. I use the most dangerous knife possible. I hate the thought that ridiculous amounts of it are now heading to landfills everywhere. Surrounding products in as much non-biodegradable material as possible is still far too common a practice.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

if they ever package condoms with this material, the world's population may double.

8:55 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

It is dangerous to open those packages, I've cut myself several times even using a scissors, on the sharp torn plastic edges. Good point!

7:18 PM  
Blogger dan said...


4:36 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Do you realize that I get discouraged by so many comments---how could you ever read mine. You must limit you talent, lady ;-)

5:44 PM  
Blogger Pete B said...

As a matter of interest, I think it may be the same stuff that they make fizzy drinks bottles out of. If so, then that would be PET (polyethylene terephthalate - as I'm sure you didn't need to know). And yes it IS also made into fibres which are used for reinforcing (like kevlar), or really chemical and stain resistant clothing.

The way to deal with this packaging is to show it you mean business - place on a chopping board and take a really sharp knife to it. No messing about, but the knife may need sharpening afterwards!

And wouldn't it be great if (if firearms are going to be freely available) guns did come packaged like that? You never know, it might help reduce violent crime!

7:08 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

whose bright idea was it for you to stop posting? they should be whipped. been missing your writing.

9:21 AM  
Blogger oregoncelticlady said...

That is a frightening thought...given that she is probably busy with Ed...the term "whipped" my need to be defined according to personal preferences! *laugh* I do agree though that we miss you terribly!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Siri said...

phew...did you get out all that pent up steam inside you?
am cracking up here though :)

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You still moaning? Sheesh!

You know those days when you're in a wistful mood, with nothing much happening either in the real or cyber world? Well, today is such a day for me. I thought I'd drop by and say hello.


4:45 AM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...

I use a BLOW TORCH to get it off. I will not be outsmarted by a piece of plastic. The same guys who designed the EDSEL designed this stuff.

5:34 AM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Donde estas? Hag?

12:34 PM  
Blogger annush said...


i agree with you completely!

it took me an hour and a pair of chicken scissors to open up my mini camcorder.

And believe me I was swearign likea sailor in 5 different languages...that's bad!

8:44 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Am I nuts? (Don't answer that!).

I distinctly read that you plan to post 2x per week, didn't I?

So where are you? Are you okay and just basking in newly-married life - or are you sick or something????

10:32 AM  
Blogger oregoncelticlady said...

You know, this is getting kind of weird...I mean, does anyone KNOW Ed??? Do we know where he lives??? Where, oh, where is our Hag?!?!?!

11:19 PM  
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