Monday, May 22, 2006

You don't get what you pay for

I've been mumbling and grumbling for some time over the increase in product packaging that makes it harder to open a product than it was to earn the money to buy it. Most of my wrath has been aimed at the cars and multi-part toys my son buys that are tied into their packaging with so many plastic loops and threads and screws that by the time I free the playthings, he's already lost interest in them. We're talking about, like, a $10 traffic set; does it need to be secured as though it was made out of gold ingots rather than cheap metal and plastic? An article in Wired News today takes on another packaging nightmare, those impenetrable plastic "clamshells" that enclose electronics -- mostly the cheaper stuff that hangs on bars at Best Buy or Target. People have gone to the emergency room for injuries sustained trying to bust open the darn things, the article reveals. Some injuries have required orthopedic surgery. That plastic certainly doesn't cut easily, and manufacturers are only now getting the idea that they ought to give the consumer some idea as to how to get the product they paid for out of the package. The idea behind the tough casing is to keep shoplifters from slipping the goodies out of the box and spiriting them away, but when your precautions to foil thieves end up injuring your paying customers, it might be time for a re-think. And record companies, those CD wrappers that open with great difficulty only to reveal that every openable surface on the box is taped shut? Totally drove me to iTunes, dudes.

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