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©December 2003

Carol Jane Remsburg





Prisoners of Plastic Packaging




Christmas is over and tidied up, now only the tree remains to be taken down until next year.  Wonderful memories made with smiles, laughter, and love amid the house with only one blight—plastic packaging.  I am not equipped to deal with it and must be a deemed plastic packaging challenged.


Shrink-wrap is evil.  It is indeed evil because it's so innocent in appearance.  You need a K-Bar to get some of that stuff open and by the time you do, you almost don't care if you broke or destroyed whatever the shrink-wrap was designed to protect.  The only thing on Christmas morning that keeps you from screaming is your child's beaming face filled with anticipation. 


Hard plastic shells on video game controllers and their ilk speed up the clock for a stroke.  It laughs at knives and scissors.  Even attempting to take a pair of scissors to this stuff almost guarantees that the plastic will bite you back and cut you and that's AFTER you've warped the scissors that gave you a nasty pinch for even trying to use them.  It's their swan song and they know it, once bent and abused the scissors go to meet their maker via the trashcan. 


The plastic seal on a CD won't break and can bring on temporary or permanent madness (depending upon how long it takes to open the damned thing).  The stuff is impenetrable by a woman's nails and normally the nail gives first presenting the woman with another interesting and painful situation if said nail rips down to the 'quick.'  Even if those nails were the acrylic kind, you'd have to file them down to razor points to make any inroads with this stuff.  The only thing in a woman's arsenal that will zip through it is found in a woman's handbag—the venerated Revlon® nail file—and only the Revlon® one will do—they last for decades and have a NICE SHARP point.  I also carry it for defense purposes—which only works if you have time to dig around in the 'carry-on-luggage' you consider your purse, find your small makeup bag that only houses unmentionables AND that Revlon® nail file and retrieve it (the clock is STILL ticking on that one).  Like American Express, you not only don't leave home without it, you keep it close at all times.  You never know when you'll be called upon to open a new CD. 


Now plastic is a wonderful thing, don't get me wrong.  It's made our lives so much easier and thousands of ways and plastic's benefits cannot be denied.  Hey, not even approaching the important stuff like medical, defense, and common everyday items like combs…but little kids would be hard pressed without plastic.  It's just the packaging that is so anti-consumer.  Even though much of that is due to protecting the product from theft or damage, but if you can't get it open to use it…why bother?


On Christmas morning, after being presented with two items to open for my happy child, both enshrined in those hard-plastic shells, I paused.  Daddy-dearest had shuffled off to the kitchen, or was it the next state, for another cup of coffee and left me with a problem.  I looked at her and she looked and me.  Then I said, "Honey, go get me Mommy's pocketbook…"  (I had a pair of ultra sharp nail-clippers hidden away for such an emergency.)  However, the savior in the house finally returned in time and brought with him his Gerber® tool, one of those "multi" things that no man should ever be without and he deftly sorted out the prize from its plastic prison. 


I've decided that next year I'll either rent "The Jaws of Life" for the holidays or make sure that I bring in the coffee so I don't have to open anything.


What happened to cardboard boxes and pull-string bags?  That's what I wanna know.




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