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An Open letter to package manufacturers

Dear Package Manufacturers of the United States and elsewhere;

I have chosen you, Berry Plastics, because you made the packaging that was the proxmiate cause of my annoyance, though you are certainly not alone in your guilt. I recently had occasion to purchase a novelty item from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: 2 Davy Jones' Locker". If you haven't seen the movie, you should, though I would caution you that there are no acts of piracy at all, and many attacks by Giant Squids, so if, like me, you are fond of pirates but not ethused by Giant Squids, you may rather take a pass and enjoy "Captain Blood" or "The Black Swan" which are enduring pirate classics that have Giant Squids not at all. I brought the package home, like you do, and tried to open it. This would seem to be a fairly straightforward proposition; it was encased in a somewhat stiff plastic bubble with a seam around the outside. I thought to myself, "I'll just pull apart the two halves, and it will separate at the seams." I thought erroneously.

Let me depart for a moment to explain something; I am moderately strong. I think I used to be quite strong, but time and a sedentary lifestyle have sapped my physique - which was not, I confess, ever particularly Herculean. Never the less, I can still today successfully engage in such feats of strength as, variously - and in no particular order - lifting a large beam of wood, crushing a large tin can in one hand, dragging a refrigerator unaided by man or contraption, or carrying a large glass table-top (and do you ever wonder why glass is so heavy? It is, isn't it? More than you'd think, to look at it. The glass overlook they're making over part of the Grand Canyon must be a real behemoth. I couldn't lift that!) So, we can see, while I am not a superhero by any stretch - at least, not of the super-strong variety - neither am I particularly weak. I would say that on the global scale, I'm probably fairly well stronger than average.

And yet, when I pulled at the two halves of this package; and I assure you, I pulled heroically, with the sort of gritted-teethed strain that clearly communicates to all and sundry that might be present that a massive effort is under way - and yet the package didn't budge, not even in the slightest. Chagrined, I recalled that mankind is a tool-using animal (even more sophisticated than those spear-wielding chimps!) and figured I could find the appropriate tool for the job. Some sort of dual robot arm might have been able to pull that package apart, I reasoned - but I do not currently happen to have two robots arms in my apartment. A cutting implement would probably be able to make a satisfactory hole in the plastic, so I fetched a sturdy knife that I've had since my Army days - the kind of elegant but strong knife that any person would be proud to own. I paid a pretty penny for it back in the day, but it's been well worth it, as it's nearly indestructible and takes a blade that's sharper than Oscar Wilde's wit.

Knife in hand, I attempted to make a cut in the package. I was unsuccessful. I hacked, I swung, I sawed, I poked - nothing. At one point the vigor of my strokes was such that I realized that both myself and my cat (who also sends her regards) were in danger - a wild swing, which while utterly non-threatening to your package - would be more than capable of severing something I or my cat are likely to need in its un-severed state, like you do. I adopted another tactic - which was to brace the package between two stacks of books, and try and pierce the space in the middle, between the two stacks. This tactic finally worked, and with significant effort, I was able to saw an opening in the package which, with great effort, was sufficient to extract the item.

But this isn't why I'm writing. Actually, there was a plastic wrapping around a print of a statue of Venus that I purchased at the Getty Museum. (It's astonishing, you should go.) It's a lovely print of a statue that embodies many of the nicest things about women, the charms of which are too numerous for me to recount here, but include (but aren't limited to) grace, beauty, sex-appeal, elegance, poise and femininity. The plastic wrapping around this print was so sturdy that I had to resort to a similar method as that mentioned previously. The plastic resisted piercing and then gave way suddenly - the knife-point pierced right through the back of the matting, and gave Venus a tiny but visible second belly-button. I was extremely perturbed at this - and am quite sure that Venus is going to put some sort of wicked hex on someone for this. As the state of my own love life is risible at best, I am anxious to pass this curse on to you, perpetrators of the dangerously impenetrable plastic wrapping. Consider yourselves hexed, until such time as you make wrapping for products that can be opened by a normal person without absured effort, and danger to Greek goddesses and household pets.

Warmest Regards, etc;
David Krieger
Sgt, U.S. (RET)


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 26th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
:) Sorry for your troubles, but I do love reading your letters. May I consult with you next time I need to make a complaint to someone?
Feb. 26th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
Of course. I work at very reasonable rates.
Feb. 26th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
i'm just waiting for the day that somebody BLEEDS TO DEATH from cutting their hand/wrist/arm open on that crappy packaging. that'll be a lawsuit i'd love to have tickets for, itellyouwhut.
Feb. 26th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
Hahaha. Yes, I know the kind of packaging you mean. I detest it -- I imagine it doesn't give way easily in a landfill either. The only things I've found that work are (a) big honking garden shears and (b) a scalpel blade.
Feb. 27th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC)
Yes! A #15 blade works nicely on most plastic packaging. And I have resorted to using branch cutters, too!
Feb. 26th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, signed "Army ret.", this must have been a very vexing piece of packing indeed. I do hope you sent the letter. It would make for a great deal of merriment among the admin staff at Berry Plastics.
Feb. 26th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
I sent it via their 'web submit' form. But the website was poorly done, and I cna't tell if it was really delivered or not.
Feb. 26th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
I always try to cut around the adge of that kind of packaging with a pair of scissors, and then my cat tries to attack the sharp edge that comes off... not good for either of us. I hope they do get your letter!

Although I think I once saw an infomercial for some kind of cutting tool specifically designed to open that sort of thing... can't remember what it was called, though.
Feb. 27th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)
If I wore hats, I would take it off to you
Feb. 27th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
You may be a genius but you’re quite mad. Quite. LOL

I don’t suppose you ever entertained the thought of using a good sturdy pair of scissors on the package? Most of these packages suggest scissors you know… And I have never met anything plastic related that I couldn’t open with scissors.

Now if you forwent the scissors for the adventure of using a knife from the good old days; why then I think you should be thanking these fine people of the plastic package manufacturing companies for the free entertainment they have unwittingly provided you. Any product damage, lacerations and pet deaths would of course not be liable since you used the non-preferred tool for the job in question.

Now then, in this light, don’t you think rescinding your curse is the right thing to do? Not only is it the right thing, it’s the American thing to do! You are a Good American and not some pinko commie, right son?
Feb. 27th, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC)
There are two problems with your theory - one, if the packaging, like the wrapped frame and print, has no protruding edges, you STILL need to poke a hole in it somewhere, even with scissors.

And two - I don't own scissors.
Feb. 27th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
Firstly, I would have to see this odd packaging you are speaking of and
B) I can't help you if you are not going to help yourself. :)
Feb. 27th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
I am a tool using primate, dammit!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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