Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Technology

Plastic Packages Cause Injuries, Revolt 533

Posted by Zonk
from the ow-why-is-there-so-much-blood dept.
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Plastic Packages Cause Injuries, Revolt

Comments Filter:
  • by ummit (248909) <scs@eskimo.com> on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:37PM (#17074970) Homepage
    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?
    • by ummit (248909) <scs@eskimo.com> on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:44PM (#17075098) Homepage
      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.)
      • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:01PM (#17075400)
        I'd rather we entrap the executive in a clamshell.

        Ok, we can provide an airhole if you insist.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Pig Hogger (10379)
          I'd rather we entrap the executive in a clamshell.

          Ok, we can provide an airhole if you insist.

          You mean an airhole for the asshole?
        • by jamesh (87723) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @02:18AM (#17078310)
          I don't recall anyone insisting...

          Just this morning I was attaching some caster wheels to some furniture, and realised a needed a longer screw attachment for my drill. I went and bought one and sure enough it was sealed up good. Took me a bit of hacking to open, and that was with my toolbox right next to me. Again, opening items like this is easy enough, opening them without damaging them is another matter.

          Another one that pisses me off is when they print the instructions on the cardboard which is sandwiched between the layers of packaging, so just cutting through it with scissors means cutting through the instructions. Not that I ever read instructions. *cough*

          Then there is the whole environmental thing... where does all this packaging go once the item has been unpacked!!!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Loconut1389 (455297)
        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
      • by aslate (675607) <`planetexpress' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:40PM (#17075940) Homepage
        The point is that you're not.

        I work in a PC store and there's loads of stuff that can make a thief a quick buck in a few seconds. Ink cartidges are the biggest target, with Lexmark (Crappy cardboard rectangle) boxes being found open without contents all the time, whereas the really-tough-sealed ones aren't being nicked. Epson have a compromise, they've got the hard-squishy plastic shell (that milk bottles are made of) with a plastic film coating over the front. You need to pierce and open these (knife makes simple work) but it's not too easy to do instore.

        Stores care more about stuff going missing from the shelves then it being purchased and not being opened at home. Granted this stuff is too hard to open and they need to sort it out, but slowly compromises will come.
        • by Stunning Tard (653417) on Friday December 01, 2006 @10:14PM (#17076812) Journal
          So unless we complain nothing happens? That doesn't seem fair or efficient.

          They've already made ink pack gadgets to protect clothes.
          There are similar protective containers for dvds.

          The cashier takes them off with another gadget of some sort (magnets?).

          So solutions are near at hand with little/no creativity required.

          That being said this is what *I'd* like to see:

          A new package which is easy to open but makes a loud bang. Ever pulled a christmas cracker? [google.ca]

          If the bang is hard to avoid thieves should be deterred.
          As a bonus christmas mornings should get much more fun.

      • by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Friday December 01, 2006 @09:06PM (#17076178)
        It must be the same logic used by automobile engineers who design cars so that you have to remove the engine, radiator hoses, power steering pump, air-conditioning compressor, and exaust manifold in order to change the spark plugs.

        Let's have a show of hands from all the kind folks who have attempted to open a plastic bag of spaghetti at the seams, only to have it rip down the sides sending noodles flying all over the kitchen floor. I've never understood the logic of using a glue that is stronger than the material it is intended to seal.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Ashtead (654610)

          /me is showing hands

          I've been wondering about this spaghetti or more often, pasta, packaging myself. But at least this packaging which is frequently supposed to be re-closed, can be dealt with using scissors.

          Other kinds of packages are worse: I once bought a power-supply for notebook computers at an airport, one of these nice universal ones that would allow using 12V from the car or 100-240V from the mains. Since I had put the ordinary supply for the computer into checked baggage and I was waiting to c

      • by numbski (515011) * <numbski@@@hksilver...net> on Friday December 01, 2006 @09:43PM (#17076574) Homepage Journal
        There's a double-edged sword that the manufacturers LOVE about this packaging.

        1. Nearly impossibly for the product to shrink (ie, someone walks up, takes the item from the packaging, leave the package, takes the item.

        2. People feel guilty taking something back to the store that looks destroyed. I've actually gotten dirty looks from sales associates when I took a bluetooth headset back that didn't work right. The packaging was mangled because at the time the only thing I had handy to open it were my keys. So I poked holes in it until I could get my fingers into it, ripped it open, charged it....didn't work. Took a manager to get them to take it back.

        So yeah. The stores won't put an open item that looks like *that* back on the shelf, so fewer returns. Win-win in their eyes. They don't really care about convenience on this one. In fact, the more inconvenient, the better.
    • by Numbah One (821914) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:58PM (#17075342)
      Lightsaber.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Urza9814 (883915)
      ...scissors.
      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.)
    • plastics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quadraginta (902985) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:06PM (#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.
      • by maillemaker (924053) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:34PM (#17075874)
        No one has a problem with nice, clear plastic windows in packaging so you can see the item in the box.

        What people have a problem with is when that clear plastic FRONT window is thermally, ultrasonically, or RF welded to a matching BACK clamshell.

        This is what makes you have to break out the damn jackhammer to get to the item inside.

        It's all to help prevent shoplifting.

        • by Quadraginta (902985) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:45PM (#17075994)
          It's all to help prevent shoplifting.

          Maybe, but that's not obvious to me. Perhaps the major reasons are to assist in packing and prevent damage in transit. Small widgets are sorted and packed at high speed by machines. If you design a package that can be opened by the pretty feeble forces a human fingertip can exert, then it's not going to be able to be sorted at 80 MPH by the metal claw of a robot.

          You're looking at it from the point of view of the thing sitting on the display hook in the store. But that's near the end of its life before use: it has a long history from factory floor to the store that you need to consider, and there's a good chance major aspects of the packaging are designed to meet the needs of distribution and transport.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dgatwood (11270)

            Unless you're talking about a mail-order warehouse, AFAIK, most of the transportation/sorting is done by the pallet or some other moderately large quantity bundled together. When the machine sorts a box full of boxes, no matter how flimsy the interior boxes are, unless it sticks a proboscis through the outer box or something, the inner boxes shouldn't be damaged....

            There are four likely reasons: to deter shoplifting, to make the product as visible as possible, to reduce cost (cheaper to fuse plastic toge

          • by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday December 01, 2006 @10:22PM (#17076866) Homepage
            Small widgets are sorted and packed at high speed by machines. If you design a package that can be opened by the pretty feeble forces a human fingertip can exert, then it's not going to be able to be sorted at 80 MPH by the metal claw of a robot.
            Heh. By machines, eh? You've obviously never worked in a factory. In my desperate youth I worked many minimum wage factory jobs. You'd be amazed at what they HAVEN'T automated. Put handles on plastic buckets? People do that. Assemble high voltage electrical connectors for the film industry. Yep, people with electric screwdrivers. But the number one thing I have always seen done by people, never by machines, that'd have to be packing and shipping. No 80mph conveyor belts-- any company moving product THAT fast isn't doing it on one line, they're doing it on several lines in parallel. High speed stuff breaks too easily. Certainly no expensive robots that, when they break, can't be replaced by calling the temp agency and having them send another the next day for the same $5/hr you were paying the last one.
    • Trauma shears (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Elwood P Dowd (16933)
      trauma shears [google.com].

      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.
    • by gwyrdd benyw (233417) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:54PM (#17076080) Journal
      After paying for the item in the store, take it to the customer service counter (or just ask the person at the register) to open it for you (use some excuse like "I have a hand injury and am not too good with scissors right now", if you like). Let the retailer realize just how awful the packaging is.

      I've done this a few times when faced with particularly annoying packaging. Once, they actually damaged the merchandise trying to get it out, so gave me a new one. (I doubt they would have done that had I damaged it myself.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DirePickle (796986)

        I'm not saying this is a bad idea, because it's likely that the retailer does have a nice heavy-duty pair of scissors somewhere, but I do take issue with something.

        Let the retailer realize just how awful the packaging is.

        The people working at the retailer are normal human beings that also buy things at stores. They know how horrible the packaging is, and the person that will be opening your package has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    • Tin snips (Score:3, Insightful)

      I use tin snips. They work pretty well, and you can find them at any hardware store.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      Very often, the "box cutters" have a setting that allows only a tiny corner of the blade to protrude. It's actually a pretty safe way to open a package. I put that in quotes because I've used them a lot, but never to cut boxes, unless these plastic things count.
  • just had this happen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yagu (721525) * <<yayagu> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:37PM (#17074976) Journal

    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...

    • 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

    • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by HorsePunchKid (306850)

        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 tap

    • by Afecks (899057) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:59PM (#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?
      • by jlarocco (851450) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:44PM (#17075982) Homepage
        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?

        You are much to lenient with your extremeties. I suggest removing the limb immediately. Make your vengeance swift and unmerciful. The hand has openly defied you in the midst of its peers. It has opposed you once, and there is no telling how far it may go next time.

    • by penix1 (722987) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:05PM (#17075454) Homepage
      "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?

      B.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:37PM (#17074982) Homepage Journal

    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 [penny-arcade.com]

  • Recycling (Score:5, Informative)

    by dakirw (831754) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:38PM (#17074994)
    Not only are these packages hard to open, many are difficult to recycle. What a waste of petroleum!
  • Cutter. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:38PM (#17075006)
    > One man even invented a cutter designed specifically for cracking open plastic clamshells.

    Did it look anything like this [slashbuster.com]?

  • You want rage? (Score:5, Informative)

    by overshoot (39700) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:39PM (#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?

  • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cepler (21753)
      Don't worry, I'm sure we'll get a dupe by then... :-P
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by binaryspiral (784263)
      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
    • by spun (1352)
      Why wait when they can dupe?
  • by torklugnutz (212328) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:43PM (#17075082) Homepage
    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 (http://www.myopenx.com/). 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.
    • by VidEdit (703021) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:33PM (#17075862)
      I thought the OpenX sounded like a great stocking stuffer. I bought 4 last year. I almost cut myself the minute I tried it!

      OpenX has two cutterblades, a safe one for pushing and a hidden dangerous one that pops out of the bottom for starting the cutting process with a piercing cut. It's this latter blade I almost cut myself with. Clamshells are just too tough for the blades and it is highly likely that the package will slip when you try to use the starting cutter. I pictured family members trying to use the opener at Christmas with Clamshells on their lap--shudder. I decided not to give the gift of possible genital mutilation and exsaguination for Christmas and tossed all 4 in the trash. By some heavy duty sheers instead.

      IMO

  • Just this week... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by photomonkey (987563) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:44PM (#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.

  • 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 :) )
  • by pla (258480) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:45PM (#17075126) Journal
    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).
    • 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' .

    • by Fweeky (41046) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:04PM (#17075444) Homepage
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CormacJ (64984)
      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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by XorNand (517466) *
      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...
      I just hope it's more effective than the paper tab that sticks out of a Hershey's Kiss. That stupid thing is one of the most poorly engineered packages of the past 100 years.
    • by Phil_At_NHS (1008933) on Friday December 01, 2006 @09:08PM (#17076202)
      Yes, scissors applied in the correct spot will open them, but scissors applied to an incorrect spot may well destroy the product, and with a lot of this packaging, there is no easy way to tell what is a safe place to cut. With cords, manuals, accessories, etc. often hidden between sheets of cardboard...

      My solution? As soon as I pay for it, I ask the clerk if they have something to open it with, and generously allow them to do the opening.

      If everyone did this, all the time, the problem would go away very quickly. If they complain, ask for a manager. IF they want a reason, here is mine. "You have workman's comp if you get injured opening this thing, and I have been cut by these types of packages. Also, you have a replacement if opening the packages destroys the contents."

  • EMT shears (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:46PM (#17075136) Homepage
    For opening those plastic bubbles, I use EMT shears [wikipedia.org]. 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.

    steveha
  • Now (Score:4, Informative)

    by billsoxs (637329) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:46PM (#17075144) Journal
    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 stupi
  • Geez (Score:4, Funny)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:49PM (#17075182) Homepage Journal

    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".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:51PM (#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...

  • 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? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sir_Eptishous (873977)
    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 abs
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vincentj7 (842874)

      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 les

  • Very Dangerous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by imputor (841598) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:57PM (#17075332) Homepage
    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.
    • Did you sue? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lordcorusa (591938)
      Did you sue? I sure as hell would have. The only thing that is going to stop this madness is for everyone these things happen to sue. And don't just go for medical bills. File for unspecified punitive damages for the mental anguish you went through almost losing your [lw]ife.

      With the event you described, any decent ambulance chaser would take the case and negotiate a settlement, and the business will likely settle for an amount just less than their projected cost to win at trial. The lawyer will take most o
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Did you sue? I sure as hell would have. The only thing that is going to stop this madness is for everyone these things happen to sue. And don't just go for medical bills. File for unspecified punitive damages for the mental anguish you went through almost losing your [lw]ife.

        Sue for WHAT? I sympathize with the guy for a very scary incident -- but knives don't just "jump" and slash your wrist. She was holding it in some dangerous fashion (how, I don't know -- I can't even see how this happens in the firs

    • by Nahor (41537) on Friday December 01, 2006 @09:35PM (#17076492)
      do you know what it's like explaining to your family why your finance has a slashed open wrist 2 weeks before your wedding?
      There is something Freudian there, but I'm not quite sure how to interpret it. Is it your future wife or the wedding that you find expensive?
  • by kbob88 (951258) on Friday December 01, 2006 @07:58PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Oriumpor (446718)
      Not that I think Class-Actions are a good thing, but ffs I'd put my name on a class action that targetted the manufacturers of the fabrication systems that create these finger slicing packages. There has got to be a smarter, safer, and more secure way of packaging goods. It would probably cost $0.05 more per package and unless something changes they might as well pay for the 1/4 inch scar across the top of my, and every other consumer's, left index finger.
  • by owlstead (636356) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:03PM (#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.
  • by Joosy (787747) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:05PM (#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.

  • Colbert (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:19PM (#17075682) Homepage
    I can't believe that no one has linked this yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTjeAR2bnfU [youtube.com]
    From march 2006
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday December 01, 2006 @08:51PM (#17076052) Journal
    ... opening them can be difficult enough to cause injuries that land people in the emergency room.

    This is what product liability legislation is about: Making companies pay for the damage their products cause, so they think twice about producing dangerous products.

    A few mulitmillion dollar judgements for people who cut the nerves in their hands on the sharp edges created by opening the packaging should make some execs start balancing "inventory shrinkage" from shoplifing more sanely against bottom-line shrinkage from damage to their customers' bodies.

    That should make a BIG difference in package design quite quickly.
  • by LM741N (258038) on Friday December 01, 2006 @09:16PM (#17076296)
    don't come packaged like that
  • by Vidar Leathershod (41663) on Friday December 01, 2006 @09:59PM (#17076700)
    AMD used to use clamshell packaging on their Athlon processors. It was a nightmare, and I cut myself more than once opening them. I lavished them with praise (through the reseller channel) a couple of years ago when they switched to a mixed packaging of cardboard, cornstarch-based molding, and a little plastic. That new package is easy to open, easy to reuse, and is easy to disassemble for appropriate recycling.

    The Core2 Duo processors I have been receiving are coming in plastic inside cardboard. There's more plastic, but it's not hard to open. I still prefer the AMD packaging, and I hope Intel does something similar soon, as the plastic looks resealable, but isn't.

    Vidar

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

Working...