Problem Packaging Part Two
I have received so many e-mails about the problem packaging item I wrote last week that I clearly struck a nerve (only figuratively, I hope). I want to share many of these comments, so I will post them below.
But first, I also want to thank the reader who thoughtfully posted a news story about Netflix to my entry last Friday about electronic e-mails. The news story points out Netflix's definition of a good customer isn't necessarily a consumer's definition. In other words, the more DVDs you rent from Netflix a month, the lower you go on the company's priority list--there's a slower turnaround time for new DVDs to be sent to you and you may also be at the bottom of the list for some of the most popular movies. This is a practice Netflix recently acknowledged as a result of a class-action lawsuit. (Faithful readers may recall that I've written about that the proposed settlement in that lawsuit as it was challenged by the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer advocates bringing little to Netflix customers but lots of $$$ to the attorneys).
I intend to keep you informed on future developments in the case--but meanwhile, thanks for posting the item and please add any more on that or other issues that you as consumers should know about. That's what I want this blog to be: an electronic bulletin-board for consumer news and tips.
Back to packaging; here are some reader thoughts--some with helpful tips on how to cope with those impossible to open, often downright dangerous containers:
* "I have cut myself fairly badly a couple of times trying to open plastic packages with a pocketknife. Another time, I cut a $29.00 cable that never could be used. My current tactic is to ask at the checkout stand that they open the package for me. I have never been refused. They are not going to say no to an imminent purchase, and it forces the retailer to deal with their choice in packaging that provides no benefit to the customer. A bonus is that I don't have to transport and dispose of the considerable waste, either. It's a perfectly reasonable request for something that requires tools to open, but that might be wanted for immediate use."
* "Every time I open a package of saltine crackers I wonder why in the world the design hasn't been improved after all these years. The sleeve never opens as it should, down the middle of the sealed seam, but to one side of it and then veers off in crazy directions. Then the crackers go stale because you can't easily close the sleeve with a clip. It's maddening!"
* "Why do they package a cell phone in hard plastic and rivets and turn around and place light bulbs in open ended flimsy cardboard boxes?"
* "How is it that no one has yet sustained serious injury and sued the company for damages due to its packaging?"
* "It's pathetic how grateful and happy I am to have found, for $3 at checkout at Borders, the EZ CD shrink wrap opener. It's design fits right across the edge of those durn jewel-boxes."
* "I have a simple solution: Don't buy these items that take a knife or some other kitchen item to open. I don't anymore, and seeing I have at least another 15 years to live, the companies will finally get the message."
* "My unfavorite packages are crackers and cookies that are in plastic tubes and are nearly impossible to pull open. You have to cut with scissor or knife. I just tried to open a package of Girl Scout thin mint cookies, and it took a knife. This is really aggravating, because all too often one ends up smashing one or more of the crackers or cookie - and this would not be necessary. Ease up a little, Cookie Bakers. Please."
* "Try opening the new Progresso soup in the microwavable bowl. The blue lid is nearly impossible to get off..."
* "Why do I so often find that boxes are much bigger than needed for the contents? We don't always have time to check on the number (or amount) of the contents, so it's discouraging to find when we get home that we're not getting as much as the boxes imply. I realize that cereals settle, but when the boxes contain, for example, a collection of individual frozen items, what's the excuse? Do the product suppliers buy only two sizes of box?"
* "For many of its products that hang on hooks on the walls, Radio Shack uses packaging that looks at first
like that hard-plastic clamshell we all hate so much. However, in reality, it's a soft, two-sided unit,
hinged at the bottom, with small plastic flaps on one side of the "shell" that fold over the other side,
making opening the package a simple matter of pulling lightly on the flaps and pulling the two sides open at
the hinge. Not only is this easier for consumers, but it also enables Radio Shack to replace returned items
into stock without having to send them off somewhere to be repackaged. I haven't seen anyone else using
this very logical and user-friendly packaging."
* "I ordered a clock on-line. When it was delivered it came in a big box with bubble wrap (it is a wall clock). Then, the clock had that hard plastic. Underneath the hard plastic was heavy cardboard. The clock was BOLTED to the cardboard and I couldn't get the bolts off. I had to cut the heavy cardboard (not an easy chore) around the bolts and hang it with bolts in place."
* I'm almost sure you know this, but what the heck--I'm 66 years old and I just, last year, found out how to open potato chip bags. My 12 year old grandson thought it was funny, as he already knew how to do it. Grab the bag with your index finger and thumb on each side of the top/middle part of the bag and pull apart. The top of the bag separates easily without tearing. I was amazed at how easily this works and I discovered it myself through "trial and error". Everyone I tell always says, 'You didn't know that?' No, I did not!"
* "Don't be so quick to say that the peel back foil lid on a coffee can is an improvement. The edge of the foil can cut your finger although not as deeply as the old zipper band on the can. Also, if the pull tab breaks, which has happen to me several times, you will need a can opener to get in to the can."
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Bob | February 13, 2006 11:59 AM
Posted by: Will | February 13, 2006 1:34 PM
Posted by: Rob | February 13, 2006 3:30 PM
Posted by: Joseph | February 13, 2006 4:14 PM
Posted by: Steve | February 13, 2006 4:22 PM
Posted by: Sachyn | February 13, 2006 4:55 PM
Posted by: James | February 13, 2006 5:35 PM
Posted by: Alan | February 13, 2006 5:49 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2006 6:12 PM
Posted by: Anna Marie Cox | February 13, 2006 8:56 PM
Posted by: ben | February 15, 2006 9:31 AM
Posted by: Jacknut | February 22, 2006 4:27 PM
Posted by: Rick | February 28, 2006 5:59 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.