Open Sesame

Posted on July 30, 2013 under Storytelling with 3 comments


Don’t you just hate it when old folks lament the good old days?   They go on and on about life in a simpler time.  You know the drill: walked both ways to school (uphill!) had no running water or electricity, no indoor plumbing and for entertainment they counted the stars.  They talk lovingly about the general store as if it were Disney World, where they could load up on supplies and gossip, in equal measure.  It all sounds pretty romantic.

My grandfather owned a grocery store in Montreal.  Long before the days of shopping bags and the eco- friendly canvass bags that we all forget in the trunk upon entering the store, many goods were dispensed in jars.  You could buy sugar and flour in bulk along with other staples.  Everything was measured and weighed and you carried it home.  When it came time to cook supper or do some baking, the containers were accessible and easy to open.

Fast forward to 2013.  The packaging of goods has become part of the grand marketing scheme.  It is open warfare in retail stores and grocery stores alike.  Buying the goods is the easy part.  Extricating them is a whole other story.

By and large I am a patient man.  I grew up in a family of ten and we raised four of our own.  You either learn patience or die.  There are still a few things that test my patience.  Just yesterday at a local farm market I came close to threatening a woman, my hand hovering over my weapon of choice, a nearby parsnip.  She was at the head of a lineup of customers.  There was one till and a summer student (obviously trained earlier in the day) trying to deal with this woman who kept changing her mind.  You’ve been in this situation.  Enough said.

These days, companies have hired specialists from National Defense to design “easy to open” packages.  These items can also be designed to be child proof, senior proof and ultimately human proof.  They really don’t want you to get into them easily.  I know of someone who recently had an altercation with some clever packaging prior to going to work.  After feeble attempts using hands (remember the good old days when hands were enough?), he resorted to a combination of scissors, knives, a crowbar and a light saber.  Even though I never went to trade school (just tirade school), I have been forced to learn how to use a blow torch, when every other avenue of forced entry has been exhausted.

Oh yes.  I know what you’re going to say.  Industry has designed a cutting tool for this kind of packaging.  Only problem is that the bright lights who designed this device put it in an “easy to open” package.

And don’t you just love medicine pill bottles.  Sometimes you need to take anxiety medication just to get into the next bottle of anxiety medicine.

So let’s just add packaging rage to road rage.  And please bring back the general store.

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