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Plastic Packages Cause Injuries, Revolt

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the ow-why-is-there-so-much-blood dept.

Businesses 533

massysett writes "Everybody has been frustrated by plastic retail packaging that's nearly impossible to open. New toys and electronic gadgets arrive encased in plastic bubbles. Manufacturers say the packages protect goods and make them look nice, but opening them can be difficult enough to cause injuries that land people in the emergency room. Manufacturers have an appropriate term for the frustration: wrap rage. One man even invented a cutter designed specifically for cracking open plastic clamshells."

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What do other people do? (5, Interesting)

ummit (248909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074970)

I've sure wondered about this. The only reasonable way I've found of opening "modern" plastic packaging is with a pair of aviation snips (i.e. compound-leverage sheet-metal cutters). They work great, but what do people do who don't have them sitting right there in the top compartment of the toolbox in a corner of their living room? And why haven't there been any personal-injury lawsuits yet from all the people who've tried using a box-cutter or other sharp knife, which always gouges out sideways in a wickedly unpredictable and unsafe way?

Re:What do other people do? (2, Interesting)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075054)

There is now only one question left, for those whose pilgrimage have led them this long way through the endless tubes of the Internets:

Where does one acquire these aviation snips?

Re:What do other people do? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075176)

You can order online and they'll arrive at your a nice, shiny, plastic clamshell

Re:What do other people do? (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075278)

Where does one acquire these aviation snips?

Some basic tin snips should work fine, you can get them at Home Depot in the tools section for $10-20.

After using aviation snips (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075374)

...And while you are at Home Depot buy some glue, so after you open the clamshell you can repair the thing you ordered.

Re:What do other people do? (4, Informative)

Ninja_Popsicle (1029246) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075642)

You can also get a pair of curved sissors used for cutting R/C car bodys at a hobby shop for around $5. I use them all the time and find them to be quite effective. I remember there was also a Penny-Arcade strip about this "issue", but I can't find it at the moment. Meh..

Follow-up Question (1, Redundant)

Bugs42 (788576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075482)

Where does one acquire these aviation snips?
...And do they come in a plastic shell?

And what do they expect *us* to do? (5, Interesting)

ummit (248909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075098)

Most importantly, how do the manufacturers imagine people are supposed to open those things? I would really like to know the answer to this. (Even better, I'd like somebody like Michael Moore to entrap an executive into a candid, on-camera attempt to open one of his own company's packages using only the everyday household appliances to hand.)

Re:And what do they expect *us* to do? (4, Funny)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075400)

I'd rather we entrap the executive in a clamshell.

Ok, we can provide an airhole if you insist.

Re:And what do they expect *us* to do? (3, Informative)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075582)

For packages with unsealed borders, but a sealed edge, I cut down the borders with household Fiskars scissors- being careful not to cut my hands on the edges as you move my hand between the two serrated edges I'm creating. For ones with sealed borders, I usually jab a scissors in the side and make a hole and start cutting from there- if there's not much space to get in there without damaging something, a short exacto will work on softer plastics but beware of flying blades on harder plastics (nearly lost an eye once!). Usually, my scissors work fine.

Re:And what do they expect *us* to do? (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075630)

err- substitute the you's with I's- I tried to change them all, but apparently I missed one- preview preview preview.

Re:What do other people do? (5, Funny)

Numbah One (821914) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075342)


Re:What do other people do? (3, Interesting)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075450)

I've never had an injury from one of these things. I have a small pair of school scissors (like, 3 or 4 inches long) that work great. Never had a cut from one of these, never had a problem opening 'em. Personally I don't see the big deal. Aviation snips seems quite a bit extreme to me, 'cause I have yet to find a simple pair of scissors that won't do (Though I did once snap the handle off a pair with it. But it was a cheap pair anyways. I caulked it. It's still in my drawer.)

Re:What do other people do? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075548)

I actually keep a utility knife handy. I can zip through 3 of the four sides in seconds and I don't hurt myself or others. barring a knife, I sharp scissors are always around.

plastics (4, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075476)

One of the problems the manufacturers have is that people demand nice, crystal-clear transparent plastics in their packaging, so they can ogle the merchandise without actually putting their hands all over it (which the retailers do not want, for obvious reasons).

But what makes plastics very transparent is also what makes them form those nasty sharp edges when broken or cut. In the jargon, you need plastics that are very 'glassy' at room temperatures.

So the situation ends up not much different than with glass (silica) itself. It's lovely stuff, very transparent, easy to form into different shapes at a low temperature, quite cheap -- but, alas, forming those nasty strong, sharp edges when you break it.

You can certainly go back to polyethylene for packaging, which is nice and soft, easy to open, without sharp edges. But it's a lot cloudier, since it's much more crystalline, and people don't like that, apparently.

Re:What do other people do? (0, Flamebait)

sherlocktk (260059) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075480)

If the Knife is good and sharp you can easily control where it goes. The real problem here is people using dull knifes. My swiss army which I sharpen every 2 weeks on my electric kitchen sharpener works perfect for opening this stuff. The only downside is I need to buy a new knife every couple of years when it gets low. But there is nothing like a sharp knife. Just think of the sharpness on a good knife when its new. Thats what you get again and again.

Re:What do other people do? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075504)

EMT scissors made for cutting seatbelts and stuff :)
Cuts anything up to and including pennies.

Being in the medical supply industry i wonder how people get by without a drawer full of surgical instruments :)

Still hate the damn packaging tho.

Aviation grade wire rocks :) hehe dad had a flight school/repairshop/avionics shop when i was young and wired up my train layout with leftovers from closing the avionics part :)

Re:What do other people do? (2, Funny)

bitflip (49188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075650)

why haven't there been any personal-injury lawsuits yet from all the people who've tried using a box-cutter or other sharp knife, which always gouges out sideways in a wickedly unpredictable and unsafe way

Excellent. I was wondering how I'd pay for Christmas, and now I know...

Trauma shears (2, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075702)

trauma shears [] .

Should be able to pick them up for $4 or so. Get a couple. They're extremely handy.

No good for precision cutting, but perfect for cutting through tough, thick plastic, cardboard, or card stock.

just had this happen (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074976)

I just had this happen... I find the plastic wrap not only dangerous to me to remove, but it can be difficult to get the product out of the packaging sometime without damaging it.

I just bought a mini-jack to RCA cable by Dynex. I cut carefully around the edge and when separating the clamshell halves nearly cut myself on the hard sharp plastic... what the heck? Not an unusual occurance with today's annoying packaging but I've gotten pretty good at it. The problem with this package?

Turns out, there was an inner-shell piece "cleverly" designed to hold the ends of the cable in display in middle of the package, a third piece of plastic I couldn't see, and didn't anticipate. In extracting the cable (finally!) the edge of one of the plastics nicked the exterior of the cable... no harm, no foul I guess, but a tug a little harder or in a slightly different direction and the cable could have been compromised.

Also had a remote control I bought for my Dad a couple of months ago. I easily navigated the surrounding plastic and strategically popped out the remote only to find what had appeared to be a cardboard insert was instead the user's manual now cut in half replete with pages of remote codes (for universal remote). So, I had to tape the manual back together to look up the codes.

Throw into the rage mix CD packaging, infuriating! I've had CD jewel cases damaged in the process of freeing my music. And how annoying that "pull" tape holding the jewel case shut! It's almost impossible to remove cleanly and even if you get it off there's almost always some annoying residue.

I don't know if the intent is to be clever with packaging, prevent theft, but it's gotten so bad I have started factoring in how much pain the packaging looks to promise vs. how much I want the product. Sounds silly, but after a few plastic cuts for a couple of two-buck knick knacks...

Removing sticky residue from jewel cases/DVDs (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075062)

I find the best way to remove the extra glue which stays behind is to use the sticky tape which came off, or an piece of packaging tape and keep applying it and pulling it off the stickum until it's all removed. Sometimes you may need to burnish the packing tape over the residue a bit, but it gets the job done and you've only wasted about 5 minutes of your life for the bastards who think this is an appropriate way to conduct business

As for CD cases (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075198)

Just run the edge of the package over a hard sharp edge like a counter or desk and most times the plastic will peel right off.

Re:As for CD cases (2, Informative)

HorsePunchKid (306850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075606)

Even easier is the so-called Baym technique for opening CDs. Just pop the hinge of the jewel case off. The case will then be hinged on the sticky tape, and it's trivial to pull off at that point. There's some minor risk of breaking the hinge, but I've only had it happen once, as far as I remember.

Once I used this technique on a White Zombie CD I bought from Best Buy, only to find that the disc inside was an old, horribly scratched Black Sabbath tribute album. I reassembled the case before removing the tape and had an interesting time explaining to the people at Best Buy how I knew it had the wrong CD inside...

Re:just had this happen (3, Funny)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075360)

How about when are trying to force something open and your hand slips making you hit yourself in the face? Do you give your hand a look of betrayal like I do?

Re:just had this happen (1)

johndierks (784521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075406)

I remove the plastic wrap by running the edge of the cd along the edge of a counter, and then peeling it off. The white sticker on the top edge is removed by unhinging the front case by prying the bottom tab up, and then rotating the front case overt the top. This allows peeling the whole white sticker away at once.

If you can imagine trying to remove the cd with out tearing the white label sticker, you'll understand how it's done.

Re:just had this happen (1)

bgivnin (935177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075570)

"The white sticker on the top edge is removed by unhinging the front case by prying the bottom tab up, and then rotating the front case overt the top. This allows peeling the whole white sticker away at once."

I learned that trick a few years back when Blockbuster Music was still around. They used that method to open new CD's for customers to listen to before buying. I've been using that trick ever since. :)

Re:just had this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075424)

A simple trick is to remove the hinges on the CD case. Tape comes off very clean and is fast.

Re:just had this happen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075714)

Mod parent up. I was going to post this myself but decided to read first to avoid a redundant. Anyway, here's my post:

Every other post so far under the [grandparent] in this thread is 100% wrong. The correct way to open a CD is to pop the hinges and peel away the tape.

Likewise, the way to open one of those 100% plastic DVD case is to take a knife (or open blade of scissors) and cut the tape along the opening on the three sides. n.b. Newer DVDs have fancy little tabs you'll have to open which complicate the next step. Open the long edge of the DVD, cutting the tape again if necessary (usually the tape yields once a single perforation has been made). Once the DVD is open, simply peel the tape backwards from the cut on each edge (hint: you'll do this in 6 places). This procedure takes about 20 seconds once you know what you're doing, and it works perfectly. I perfected this procedure when I bought about several dozen DVDs back in 2000, and it has never failed me in over 100 DVD openings.

Cardboard DVD cases require a bit more care. Cut along the seam on the front of the case, but be careful not to knick the cardboard beneath it. Once you've cut the *entire* seam, carefully open the case and peel the tape backwards from the cut to remove it from the cardboard front.

Re:just had this happen (3, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075454)

"I don't know if the intent is to be clever with packaging, prevent theft, but it's gotten so bad I have started factoring in how much pain the packaging looks to promise vs. how much I want the product. Sounds silly, but after a few plastic cuts for a couple of two-buck knick knacks..."

There are reasons to use these plastic gimmicks;

1) It is easy to package and can be done mechanically.
2) It is difficult for a thief to nick it.
3) It is bulky so if the thief stuffs it in their pocket, it is easily identifiable.
4) Items in it stay where they were put when encased. This prevents damage when shipping as well as makes display uniform.

and lastly...
5) Nobody really has taken corporate management to task for this so reasons 1-4 outweigh 5.

The only question I got is does the plastic really need to be that thick?


Re:just had this happen (1)

alchemy101 (961551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075592)

Try some olive oil to remove. I know it sounds stupid but if you can take apart the CD case, put a bit of oil onto a cloth and give the residue a hard rub, then put it under hot water the residue comes right off.

You can buy some stuff that is made of olive oil and some other stuff that is designed to remove these sticker glue left overs (and is much easier to use), but I've always found that my way works too (as long as you can take apart your cd case).

Re:just had this happen (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075614)

As you found the point isn't anti-theft. It is to damage the product. Chances are that if you ruin it that you'll buy a replacement. We found that when selling products to Circuit City that they required us to change our packaging to make it nearly impossible to remove our product without damaging it. We had a good number complaints about that, but management has ignored them so far because we need Circuit City.

Rage? Not quite, but certainly frustrated. (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074982)

The stuff that gets me down:

  • CD cases: I've broken a few CD cases trying to get that damn plastic off, just to find the first corner I can get a grip and tear it.
  • DVD cases: Quadruple sealed for the store's protection, FO, consumers, you would be thieves! I've torn the plastic covers on a few thanks to the 2-3 seals around the edges. When the get old, the glue sometimes can be a mess, coming off the back of the plastic.
  • Plastic Clamshells: I've had my share of deep cuts from trying to open these things. The plastic, when cut with a knife can still have edges you could challenge a Ginsu Knife with. Can I sue someone for medical expenses? If I had my camera here I could show you scars.

Plastic Clamshells []

Why not buy used? (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075100)

I'll add insulting dangerous packaging to my list of reasons to download or buy used.

WMDs? Not quite, but certainly frustrated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075506)

Well two things.

One some packaging is designed to prevent people from removing the contents and leaving the packaging. Trust me, I've seen the end result.

Two I find a very sharp safety blade (like used in some cutters) to be effective without straining. Plus it makes it easier to return the product (Wal-Mart is good about this. Ask me about the paper shredder).

Recycling (4, Informative)

dakirw (831754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17074994)

Not only are these packages hard to open, many are difficult to recycle. What a waste of petroleum!

Re:Recycling (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075108)

Some tell you they are the same plastic as soda bottles. Though the one I just got a new compact flash memory card in didn't bother to say. I just put it all out with the recycleables and trust those people to know what to do with it.

Re:Recycling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075206)

I've noticed an increasing number of these packages with recycling codes embossed in them, probably a consequence of EU regulations. The material they're made from is almost invariably PET.

Cutter. (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075006)

> One man even invented a cutter designed specifically for cracking open plastic clamshells.

Did it look anything like this [] ?

Re:Cutter. (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075152)

No, more like this []

You want rage? (4, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075020)

Yeah -- then the product doesn't work, you attempt to return it, and the retailer points out that they only accept returns of the complete package (presumably so that they can close it up and let some other poor schmuck buy it, until eventually someone keeps it rather than go to the trouble of returning it.)

Alternately, they insist that the obviously-enormous forces you used to open the package must have damaged the product, so it's not their problem.

Yeah, both are bogus and if you stand up for your rights you get action -- but what do you want to bet a lot of people don't?

Re:You want rage? (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075670)

Yeah, I hear you. I tried to return something that didn't work, and the stored tried to charge me a restocking fee as I had to destroy the packaging to even get the thing out in the first place.

This was Frys, by the way, where they'll regularly take returns, shove them in a plastic baggie, seal it, and put a price sticker on it for 5% less than a new one.

While I did manage to get them to reverse the restocking fee, they still insisted on putting a known, non-functional device back on their shelves for the next unsuspecting sucker to buy.

You want DRM? Use a knife. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075692)

"Yeah, both are bogus and if you stand up for your rights you get action -- but what do you want to bet a lot of people don't?"

We're geeks. If we can open DRM? Then we can open anything.

this story was accepted at the wrong time (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075076)

editors: you should have waited 25 days, and accepted the story at about... oh 11:00 am on december 25th

then you would have gotten a buttload of seriously frustrated, angry, and demented comments in the affirmative

Re:this story was accepted at the wrong time (3, Insightful)

cepler (21753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075220)

Don't worry, I'm sure we'll get a dupe by then... :-P

Re:this story was accepted at the wrong time (2, Insightful)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075240)

editors: you should have waited 25 days, and accepted the story at about... oh 11:00 am on december 25th
then you would have gotten a buttload of seriously frustrated, angry, and demented comments in the affirmative

You must be new here... this story will get reposted multiple times before the holidays.

Just look for the "buttload" of seriously frustrated /.'ers

Re:this story was accepted at the wrong time (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075266)

Why wait when they can dupe?

Re:this story was accepted at the wrong time (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075344)

don't worry, it will be

Where's the lawsuits??? (2, Interesting)

torklugnutz (212328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075082)

I've wondered how this fairly hazardous method of packaging made it past the worry warts of the world without getting a safety tag stuck to it. I've given myself some pretty substantial cuts on my fingers from the ragged edges of the plastic. Rather than calling a lawyer, I chose to learn a lesson and figure out a better way of dealing with the packs.

Then, some genius came out with a specialized tool for deconstructing the dreaded bubble packs with ease: the OpenX ( It's somewhat of a Catch 22 though, as the tool comes packaged within the very packaging one needs the tool to open. I don't own one, but it'd probably be a good stocking stuffer.

I just don't understand how spilling hot coffee on oneself is grounds for a lawsuit, but shredded fingers is not. Especially in America.

Just this week... (3, Interesting)

photomonkey (987563) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075102)

I bought a new 80gb iPod and one of those silicone skins to keep it in.

While I was removing the theft-deterrent plastic packaging, one of the sharp plasic edges cut clean through the silicone.

The good news is that the folks at the Apple store took it back without complaint, even though they could have said I damaged it myself (which I did) and not taken it back. The gal behind the counter even went so far as to call it a pretty frequent occurrence.

A non-issue. (1)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075112)

We can make large metal crafts fly. We can cure some forms of blindness with light. While some people try on a daily basis to redefine the boundaries of man's capabilities, others are having trouble opening plastic packages.
How powerless one can feel without the Open here marker (not that it would help in this case, but still, you'd at least know where to start :) )

Patience, grasshopper... (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075126)

but opening them can be difficult enough to cause injuries that land people in the emergency room.

Oh, gimme a break. A pair of scissors applied in the correct spot will open just about anything you can fit on your lap (you may need something more heavy-duty for larger items, I will admit).

As the bigger problem here, many stores balk at taking back defective goods if you've turned the packaging into confetti. Given that we have packaging so sturdy that you can't remove it without reducing it to a pile of ragged plastic strips, that makes it difficult to take back most products (although in most states, they legally must take it back if defective, and that includes software/dvds/cds - Look up "warrant of merchantability" and your state's laws on the subject - "State law" trumps "store policy" every time).

Personally, I think every product should have a sort of magic pull-string... Just untape the string and pull it, and the otherwise-invulnerable packaging neatly falls away in two or three tidy chunks to reveal its contents (and which, with a bit of care, you could reassemble the packaging enough to return it to the store without much fuss).


crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075178)

Exactly. Mod parent up. All you need is a good pair of scissors. If I could figure out how to input a tag to stories this one would get 'nonissue' .

Re:Patience, grasshopper... (1)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075274)

I think the whole point of making them hard to open is to deter theft. The anti-theft strips on most consumer goods (if not all) are in the packaging, so they can be easily defeated by simply taking the product out and leaving the packaging at the store.

This is near impossible to do when an employee or video monitor can spot someone fumbling with the packaging (imagine watching yourself trying to open these things...I'm sure it's quite funny - I know sometimes I get so pissed off, I pause and count to 10).

That being said, I somewhat agree with you that, as annoying as it is, using scissors CORRECTLY usually does the's figuring out where to cut that's the hard part.

Re:Patience, grasshopper... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075550)

Wouldn't it be easier to just carry a battery-powered degausser [] ?

Okay, so I can't find any battery-powered degaussers, but it shouldn't be particularly hard to build.

Re:Patience, grasshopper... (4, Interesting)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075444)

Right, scissors get there eventually, but unless they're 3ft long your hand's going to end up right next to the razor sharp edges of the packaging while you're having to apply a few metric tonnes of force to slice through the armoured plastic. Doesn't take much of a slip to put a nasty gash in your hand.

Re:Patience, grasshopper... (1)

Scott7477 (785439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075458)

I think you are on the right track here, at least for products that don't cost a lot. A lot of folks are probably hesitant to take a defective/unwanted product back to the store when the packaging is destroyed because they think the store will refuse to take it back and don't want to deal with the hassle of arguing with store management and would never think to dig up state law on returns policies.

On the other hand, the way packaging has changed has probably made life somewhat more difficult for shoplifters. You can't just pull the item out of its packaging and if caught claim you were brining it back as a return. When I'm opening the packaging on toys I've bought for my kids there are usually three or four of the wire twisty thingies that take a while to unwind and pull out. If you try slitting the plastic, untwisting all the wires and pulling them out, that's going to be obvious to other shoppers and store security in a real hurry.

Re:Patience, grasshopper... (2, Interesting)

CormacJ (64984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075528)

Lately I've seen packages where the heat sealed part is actually inset in a fold, and thats almost impossible to get with scissors - you find that after 5 minutes snipping all you've done is cut the fold away.

Now I just resort to using a scapel. My wife complains about me doing surgery on packaging, but I can remove most plastic wrap in about 1 minute. Sometimes I do it so well that if I return an item the store has problems figureing out if I even opened it and I have to point out where I opened it.

EMT shears (4, Informative)

steveha (103154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075136)

For opening those plastic bubbles, I use EMT shears [] . You can get them at a hardware store and they aren't expensive. (I think I paid US$3 for mine.)

For round bubbles, I take my pocket knife and punch a starter hole, then switch to the EMT shears to open the package. But often there is a flat heat seal around the package, and you can simply take cut the seal part off and get the package open.


Now (3, Informative)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075144)

if they could just create something to unwrap the Barbies - It takes 20 minutes to untie all of the metal bands and plastic ties. (Before you ask, I have two daughters.)

Re:Now (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075394)

I've got a three year old son. Who is into Thomas. Nothing's more frustrating than him getting a Thomas-take-along toy (the cheap plastic version of the wooden Brio trains). Those packages look like they'd be easy to open (cardboard sandwitched between plastic) until you try to use the cardboard to open the plastic- at which point you find it just tears off, with the clamshell securely in place. And then you cut away the clamshell- only to find an interior clamshell in between the vehicle and this stupid little trading card and what my kid calls a "map" that is really an advertisement for every other toy in the line ("I need a Cranky, I need a Lady, I need a Boulder Mountain Coal Mine Set"). Then you finally get through the interior clamshell only to have the kid lose the engine or car in the couch a day later.


Re:Now (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075398)

I was beginning to wonder if Barbie was just a heroine addict and came with a bunch of tourniquets.

Re:Now (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075524)

A buxom babe tied immobile with plastic straps... *awh yeah!* that's what I'm talk'n'bout!

Another Meaning to a "Blood on your Hands" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075168)

I have been made to bleed by these fucking packages.

Geez (3, Funny)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075182)

Yeah, I agree the packaging is annoying, but all the comments here are perplexing me (e.g., "how do the manufacturers expect people to open these?", "Using a knife is dangerous!!")

Like, have people on Slashdot never heard of this fancy gadget called "scissors"? Come down from the trees, my monkey brethren, and let me show these wacky things called "tools".

Re:Geez (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075318)

Some packaging is resistant to even scissors. But the real point is the extremely DANGEROUS packaging left over after you cut it with scissors or knife- that alone can cause really deep cuts and abrassions.

Re:Geez (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075578)

Some packaging is resistant to even scissors. But the real point is the extremely DANGEROUS packaging left over after you cut it with scissors or knife- that alone can cause really deep cuts and abrassions.

You know, knives are sharp and dangerous, too, but I somehow manage to handle them without slicing my skin to ribbons.

modern packaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075184)

I have cut my self several times on that hard plastic casing, only one time was badly enough that it really bled a lot. I never understood why they used that stuff. It is amazingly difficult to remove, even with the use of scissors.

I don't buy CDs anymore partly because of the stupid packaging they come in. Really it is the plastic strip they use to seal the cases - after breaking several CD cases in a row I finally just said fuck it. Now I get all of my music from the internet, so much less hassle.

FUNNY - Domesticus - Plasticus (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075224)

I work for one of those companies that import, sell, and manfuacture products just like that.

Do you know how many times the US Customs dept calls up and asks us what specieces of CLAM is we are importing?

Our answer is always: "Domesticus Plasticus" followed by a long pause...

Also Difficult to Return (1)

tknaught (981065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075230)

Call me cynical, but I've always thought that one of the seller's motivations in using blister packs is to force the consumer to mangle the packaging so badly when opening it that he or she will only bother trying to return the item if it has severe defects.

Guns don't kill people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075238)

Plastic clamshell packaging kills people.

In other news... (2, Funny)

freyyr890 (1019088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075246)

Kevlar-reinforced DVD cases! Annoying plastic wrap got you down? Our-easy to open* kevlar-reinforced DVD cases will prevent in store theft! *requires purchase of our new thermite-based case opener. May potentially destroy contents. Thermite case opener now shipped in new kevlar casing.

Chainsaw anyone? (2, Insightful)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075298)

It's not just consumer electronics and such that are overwrought with packaging. Many packaged foods are also very difficult to access. I remember when you could get into breakfast cereal just using your hands. Now you needs scissors to get into most packaged foods. Some are very difficult, and it's also possible to wreck the food or product you're trying to get to because of the packaging.

The worst packaging is for computer accessories and such. The thickness and strength of the plastic used is absolutely ridiculous. It's obvious no consumer pre-market testing ever takes place. I've seen this develop in the past 20 years and it's gotten completely out of control. I wonder how it is for the elderly and disabled to get into many household goods and such.

I've also wondered about why it has come to pass. I understand the need for keeping food fresh and products safe from damage, but I feel the current packaging "paradigm" is way out of control and needs to be reigned in.

Some other interesting things to ponder is that all this packaging is made from plastic, derived from oil, and will end up in a landfill, and take quite a few years to decompose. So in effect you have an extremely inefficient use of resources and energy to protect products and food that is also very detrimental to the environment.

Re:Chainsaw anyone? (3, Interesting)

vincentj7 (842874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075672)

I once had an experience with ridiculous food packing. It was so traumatic that I felt compelled to write about it:

On Freshness and Weiners

Since when did the security of my hot dogs become so paramount? I decided to have a couple for dinner tonight, but I could barely get the package open! At first glance, it looks like a standard plastic wrapper, with the requisite ziplock strip (for freshness!) But once I began to open the package, I realized it is actually a hermetically sealed vault with no less than four stages of defense between me and my tasty franks. I admit I was fooled by the words on the wrapper: "Easy open! Resealable packaging!" It would prove to be neither.

Step one looks simple enough: tear along the perforated line. Okay. But in this devious contraption that strategy yields no results. Below the perforation lies an unassuming red strip sandwiched between four layers of plastic. The strip is made from an indestructible space-age composite that forms a permanent, indelible bond with its surrounding layers. The red strip itself performs no physical function; its sole purpose is to taunt you like some kind of unattainable trophy. I spent minutes trying to expose the object to the elements before I realized the true nature of the artifice. A pair of scissors applied strategically below the strip dispatched the insidious foe. The third stronghold was the aforementioned ziplock strip, which one might assume would provide a sufficient measure of freshness beyond the first two barriers. The feeble ziplock strip provided a brief moment of respite and optimism until I realized there was yet another layer of protection. An adhesive seal remained like a ticking time bomb, ready to disrupt the integrity of the entire structure. Separating the glue between the two walls detached a section of ziplock also, rendering the resealable packaging totally ineffectual. By the time I got the package open, I had actually starved to death.

Next time I think I'll just have a burger.

I've wonderd how long... (1)

zeromusmog (260817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075300)

it would take someone to severely injure themselves, start a class-action lawsuit, and sue the people who make these packages so hard they'd reconsider the supposed advantages. I have thought this DOUBLE while opening a Wii remote and classic controller package recently while dreaming about the pretty boxes the European versions come in.

Can't our overly-litigious society do something productive for once? :(

Speak their language (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075324)

I've said it before and I'll say it again; businesses will do whatever consumers let them get away with.

If this type of packaging bothers people that much then they should let the companies know in the only language they understand, money. Buy an alternative product which uses a more sane packaging method.

Very Dangerous (5, Interesting)

imputor (841598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075332)

My wife nearly killed herself, literally, trying to open one of these plastic fortresses. It was an individually wrapped steak knife. She cut the plastic around the knife and began to pull the knife out by the handle (which was outside of the plastic), but it got stuck on the way out, jumped, and proceeded to slash her wrist about 5 inches long, from the middle of her palm to just past the wrist-bone. Took her to the ER where she proceeded to get 16 stitches and a "you were lucky" speech from the doctor. 1 milimeter one way or the other and she would have severed either a main artery or damaging nerves and tendons, potentially losing the usage of her hand. Doctor said, "you're lucky blood wasn't squirting all over your ceiling." I can't even imagine what would have happened if I were not there to tourniquet her arm and get her to the ER. All of this 2 weeks before our wedding. Yeah, now the story is funny to tell, but at the time it was scary as fuck. Plus, do you know what it's like explaining to your family why your finance has a slashed open wrist 2 weeks before your wedding? Hah! This packaging is ridiculous and needs to go.

Hand Surgeons Love Em (5, Interesting)

kbob88 (951258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075340)

My brother-in-law is a plastic surgeon specializing in hands. He told me last year that fully a *third* of his surgeries are to repair damage caused by these plastic packages. Most commonly, people get frustrated and apply extra force with a knife, which then slips and cuts across the palm of the hand, slicing through some of the tendons and nerves that control the fingers. It is a real mess to repair apparently. Or people cut themselves up on the sharp plastic edges by trying to rip open the package with their hands and brute force.

Bad for us non-surgeons, but good for them - he has a really nice boat!

Re:Hand Surgeons Love Em (1)

ditto999999999999999 (546129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075594)

One of those sharp pieces sliced me across the top of the hand a few years ago. It was a clean cut, but it bled a lot and left a scar.


consumer proof packaging (1)

RedneckJack (934223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075368)

I would like to meet the executive who decided to put their product into "consumer proof" packaging. I would like to run their d*ck/t*ts through a mulinex ! At least they can put a pull tab where you can yank on it, package opens without the need for any fancy tools.

What is worse working in gov't, you are required to inventory all items INCLUDING advertisements and blank pieces of paper. You are not allowed to throw anything away. When you get 50 items, the packaging is such a pain in the ass to open multiple times.

But here's what sucked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17075376)

One man even invented a cutter designed specifically for cracking open plastic clamshells."

It was itself packaged in a plastic clamshell.

/raises fist, shakes it at sky

What's being opened there?... (1)

Phantombrain (964010) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075392)

Anyone take a close look at the image [] with the article, in particular the letters? What is that lady getting for her kids?!?!

Related article (1)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075412)

There was a related article at Toms Hardware [] . 'Who Designed This Crap?'

Re:Related article (2, Informative)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075460)

Sorry, tried to un-UK the link [] , forgot the domain name.

Raison d'etre (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075414)

No one's hit this yet, but those hard-plastic impossible-to-open cases were designed, as I understand it, to prevent shoplifting. If you can't get it out of the plastic case, you have to lug out a big piece of plastic, which likely has something to trigger an alarm when you try to escape. It would be easer to snag things from a store if you could just pop these things out of the casing.

Should be subject of law (2, Insightful)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075426)

The only way to stop this is to put a ban on this. Obviously the products look shiny, but they are difficult to handle, dangerous, difficult to return and unfriendly to the environment. Most of the time I don't even see the idiotic plastic casing until after I've asked the store for the product. If you are ordering online, the chances of seeing the packaging is almost zero. So to level the playing field, this kind of packaging (where the bulk of the waste is not even in the product) should be banned. Lets see what they come up with if they cannot sell anymore in the US or in Europe. Just use a small plastic front that you can slide out between two layers of cardboard for instance, this is already much in use and works perfectly well.

best buy (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075434)

ive bought some products recently.. one i can remember is from last week at best buy, a little 2 port kvm switch. The back of the package is precut, you just pull and it comes apart real easy.

more companies should start using packages like this.

Sealed ketchup bottles (4, Funny)

Joosy (787747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075462)

You flip open the top of a new bottle of ketchup. You squeeze. Nothing comes out.

Oh, yeah. You forgot about the inner seal.

You unscrew the top and are faced with a circular round piece of foil which seals the opening. Attached to this is a white plastic semi-circle. This is sticking up, implying that by pulling you will also remove the silver foil seal, allowing access to the product.

You pull at the semi-circle [gently|firmly|side-to-side|straight up] and it detaches completely, leaving the silver seal in place and the product as inaccessible as before.

I blame Todd McFarlane (1)

exley (221867) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075488)

Although McFarlane Toys may not have been the first to use this style of packaging, they're the ones whose products I first remember buying with the clamshell packaging. To this day, whenever I try to open something in that type of packaging -- regardless of manufacturer -- one of the first things out of my mouth is "Fucking Todd!"

Oh but it's so easy... (1)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075532)

to open one of those bubble packages, I just get my handy tin-snips. Tin snips will win over plastic every time. Of course, that doesn't prevent me from cutting the user manual in half, like another poster mentioned.

I hear there's a new annex in Dante's Hell for the guy who invented bubble wrap: He's confined in a room knee-deep in bite-sized portions of delicacies and drink...all packaged in bubble wrap. And of course, the poor guy is not equipped with tools. I hear he lost his last tooth after a week.

A recipe for tragedy (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075538)

Try buying an iPod accessory on the way out of town to help on your long trip, then, while driving, realize that you don't have any cutting implements.

Can you sue the manufacture for the ensuing multi-car rage-inspired collision?

Perforated Plastic? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075544)

Some packages I have seen like this also include perforated lines and just enough of an opening to slip a finger in the package so you can open it yourself with no tools. I don't understand why all packages of this type don't include this feature.

Sounds like a business opportunity to me (1)

sproketboy (608031) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075590)

Stores could offer de-packaging as a service or just do it and roll the price. I would pay more for less hassle. WalMart won't do it so it could be good for the smaller stores.

Personally (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075628)

I use a pair of scissors to cut off a corner of the packaging with enough space for me to fit atleast 3 fingers from each hand into it, and then HULKRIP! tear it in half down the seams.
My other favorite is to just take a butcher knife and chop it, always fun :)

OpenX (1)

CyberSlugGump (609485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075644)

I have one of the OpenX [] cutters mentioned on page two of the articles, and it does not work very well for me. Anyone get one of these to work?

Windows 98 box (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075656)

I think the first time I ever saw how ridiculous packaging was, was either a Windows 98 or Windows 2000 media kit my dad bought at Costco. The cardboard box that contained the install cd, EULA, manual, etc;, was encased in a thick plastic "bubble" that was extremely difficult to open. We used a serrated knife and scissors and it took us about 10 minutes, because we were trying not to damage the cardboard box with the cd in it.

It's because of shitty customers. (1)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075674)

Seriously, the packaging exists, and retailers demand it because so many customers have no respect for other people's property. It never ceased to amaze me during my time in retail the number of people who would walk into a store, see something they like and start unpackaging it right there on the floor just so they could get a closer look. Didn't even ask anyone if there was one open they could look at, just tore into the box. And the worst part of it was, if the store tried to stop that by say, taping the corners of the box shut, people would TEAR the box. Then these same people would have the gall to put the box they just tore open back on the shelf and take an unopened one up to the register. Blister packs exist because of people like these. Do everyone a favor this holiday season and ask before you tear open a package on the shelf.

Solutions to this problem: better packaging (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17075706)

The article didn't mention that some of today's most successful products have not taken this plastic bubble route. Most notably, the iPod has always come in elegant, easy-to-open boxes--none of this plastic bubble crap. Apple even claims that the new nano box was designed to save packaging and be more earth-friendly--I find that an odd claim, with its non-biodegradable acrylic box, but interesting nonetheless. Even Microsoft with the Zune followed Apple's lead.

Of course, Apple stores keep their products under lock and key, so maybe they don't have to worry about people cracking open packages and stealing the goods. However, Apple also relies on resellers--they typically keep the iPods under lock and key too. An argument for the plastic bubbles is that consumers are more likely to buy merchandise if they can take it off the shelves themselves and take it to the registers, and that the bubbles allow this while deterring theft. I do agree that in large chain stores with their typically lousy service, it is better if I can grab the product myself and go pay for it. But (of all places) Best Buy seems to have a good solution to this: put boxes on the shelf, but encase them in clear plastic boxes or strange contraptions with plastic strings that may be removed by the cashier. I've also seen Microsoft software boxed up in this manner and, of course, CDs have been sold this way for years. Problem solved.

Manufacturers will have to pay more attention to this, especially as the population greys and gets arthritic. Besides, Apple shows that good packaging matters.
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