PUSH DOWN AND TWIST
“So what’s she on about now?”
Well, if you must ask, packaging, and let’s not forget, warning labels: my pet peeves of our modern world. Our government’s attempt to protect us from ourselves, and to protect manufacturers from law suits, has far exceeded an acceptable level of ludicrous government bureaucracy.
Let’s start with shrink wrap. Take the 11 x 14 frame I just bought. It was so tightly wrapped in impervious layers of plastic, I couldn’t fit the tip of my pointiest knife under the wrap to make a hole big enough to fit the working end of a pair of scissors. Said knife, however, had no problem jamming its sharp self into the palm of my hand. Once I finally cut a small rip in the wrap, the wood was scarred. Maybe I can pass it off as distressed? I sure as hell know I was by the time I freed the frame. Who needs this kind of aggravation?
See that little item pictured on the upper left. You might think it’s an old-fashioned nut cracker—maybe—but at my house it’s the Super Tool of the century. This handy-dandy gadget saves our landfills from piles of discarded, impossible-to-open, newly purchased bottles of beverages. When ordinary human strength fails, just capture the cap of the bottle in the teeth of this superior device and, you'll twist open bottles of sparking water that even the braggiest muscle man can’t budge.
Moving on to the layer of graphene-like strength, plastic molding jammed around every little bottle and jar of something I really want (like industrial strength face cream). The person who develops a tool to break through this stuff gets nominated for the next Noble Prize. Next up, industrial strength staples, the kind used to keep the wood framing of a couch together. And where do these delights show up? Try the kitchen utensil aisle at your favorite big box retail store. You’ll find them attaching that new kitchen serving spoon you’ll never use to its section of display cardboard. And why will you never use said spoon? ‘Cause you ain’t never gonna get that puppy cut loose, but you sure as hell might end up in Urgent Care trying.
So my point here is, if fear of shoplifting is an issue, then let’s go back to catalogue show rooms where you point to an item and the retail worker has it sent out on a conveyor belt, loose, free, and available. And as far as safety goes, if one has to be told not to eat the oven cleaner, or warned not to stick a drinking straw in their eye, maybe we should drop the protections and just let the national IQ rise, as those blessed with an overabundance of stupidity fall by the wayside.
If you’re still hanging in there with me, the following poem is a version of one that arose from the ashes of my frustration a few years ago. A contest judge gave it a “Commendable”, not because it was well-written, but because it provided needed comic relief during his day of judging serious poetry. Here it is
Push Down and Twist
There’s a tamper-proof top, on the jar I just I bought.
I sigh and I glare, then slash, hack, and tear.
But buyer beware, it’s no worse for wear.
I push down while I twist, nearly spraining my wrist.
It slips from my hand, only to land with a crash.
Now the glass is all smashed.
So I clean up the mess, feeling rather distressed.
It can’t just be me, who can’t seem to free,
things that are trapped, in protective shrink wrap,
which teases and taunts, flaunting stuff that I want.
A new movie might soothe, get me back in the groove.
But my new DVD’s sealed in plastic, I see.
I grab something sharp, to rip packaging apart,
but I stab my own hand, drop the knife, and it lands
sticking into my toe. And, what do you know?
The DVD is now bent, and my energy’s spent.
My head starts to ache, must find aspirin to take.
The new bottle is sealed. This is too damn surreal.
So I prod, poke, and pry. No matter how hard I try.
I can’t open the top, can’t get the seal off.
I twist and I turn, until fingertips burn.
The wrapping’s too tight. It puts up quite a fight
&the pills are still sealed. Wait! A hammer I’ll wield!
Damn--I just broke my thumb, and my hand’s getting numb.
Does my blood pressure count, when irritation mounts?
Or will that just be spurned as a safety concern?
Will no one agree, to please listen to my plea,
And stop protecting me to this unreasonable degree?
6/2/2019 04:10:55 pm
Thanks for the laugh and the reminders of life in America. I'm not too sure the IQ of the average American can be raised given the depth to which it has appeared to sink. Also, there is no shortage of dishonesty and evil in those we live amongst. Remember the safety packaging started with an evil man's successful attempts to kill people by lacing Tylenol with poison. Home depot has resorted to displaying an image of the item a thief is trying to buy to verify the UPC doesn't match the perp's booty. I remember as a kid watching my dad get change at the grocery store and handing the cashier back a dime because she gave him too much money. It was just a dime he could have pocketed but his integrity was priceless. That was my example of character and honesty. It still exists in America but rarely receives attention.
6/3/2019 09:20:45 am
Someone on FB just posted about being leery of the VISA $$ cards you can buy as gifts. Thieves have figured out how to scan them, take the money, and make the cards useless. Can you imagine how much our society could advance if all this energy went into finding a way to contribute and make things better?
6/2/2019 08:58:39 pm
Even though I laughed a lot I couldn’t help but remember all the aggregation I spent just like what you said in your poem.How many times have I taken my scissors or a knife trying to open up a package like tonight when I was trying to open this cheese wrap; I guess It’s just like you said ‘protecting manufacturers from lawsuits’ but this government bureaucracy is driving me 😝 crazy
6/3/2019 09:21:38 am
I'm glad you related, but sad that so many of us are beyond frustrated with all these "protections."
6/3/2019 11:35:41 am
so, here's another. I am helping my daughter in law by unpacking, and freeing all the baby gifts to be washed and/or put away. Beside experiencing the above, It took me 10 mins to free one little 3 piece outfit from ( I counted) 22 of those little plastic wire like things which attached the 3 pieces together. 22!!! That was 1 outfit of many. Not to mention finding the little ends that fly away to the floor of the nursery..
6/7/2019 11:59:24 am
So frustrating ! All this talk about going green is something I will take more seriously when there is an end to this kind of excessive packaging and to junk mail, which goes straight from the mailbox into the trash !
6/6/2019 06:13:34 pm
First...LOVE the poem! Spot on!
6/7/2019 12:01:59 pm
I think you have it...machine packing just can't be unpacked by humans. Sometimes I think the impossible-to-release plastic tags make some Chinese factory worker smile just thinking about how we will fight to get to our 'stuff'.
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