Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Safety Sealed Hell

What do you most fear about old age? For me it has to be opening food and medication packaging. I’m so tired of struggling to open sealed pouches that boldly proclaim “New! Easy Open Tab”. I squint trying to find the tab. It’s usually a nearly invisible thread. I grasp it between my big clumsy finger and thumb and tug. Zip! Out comes the little thread. The package remains stubbornly sealed shut.

Brick cheese and many other food products now come in resealable bags. You tear off the top only to discover there isn’t enough surface left to grab on to for opening the reclosable seam. I’d rather use my own ziplock bags. Maybe if they would spend less on gimmicky packaging they could either lower the price or improve the product.

Then there are those annoying plastic safety seals under the outer lid of just about everything – butter, pudding, coffee cans, microwave entrees, you name it. I find it challenging enough just to find the one small area along the edge that is a hair wider than the rest, laughingly referred to as the pull tab. Impossible for me to grasp. I usually resort to poking a knife through the top and tearing it off in pieces.

You can forget about saving any unused portion by covering it with plastic wrap. The sharp serrated band, which is supposed to allow you to tear off just the right amount of wrap to do the job, is very good at tearing apart your fingers but useless at cutting through plastic wrap. You’ll end up with at least one third of the roll before you manage to wrench it free at which point you can admire the superior clinging ability it has used to wrap itself into a ball.

I’d like to condemn the inventor of child proof caps to an eternity of trying to open them. I don’t know if they prevent children from opening the bottle but they sure defeat me. The last thing I need when I stumble into the bathroom in the middle of the night to retrieve the aspirin is a bottle I can’t open. For that reason alone I purchased a Dremel rotary cut-off tool.

While I’m sentencing inventors of cruel products, I may as well include the jerk who came up with blister packs. You know, those things that hang from metal rods in the stores like miniature versions of back-of-the-door clothes hangers. I understand their appeal to the retailers; they don’t have to pry the damn things open. Nor do they have to pick up all the pieces when the lid finally springs open and spews out its contents all over the floor.

Speaking of spewing, beware any carton that boasts of it’s new, improved no-spill spout. That’s a guarantee that you will be mopping up every time you use it. The absolute worst is International Delight coffee creamer. I wonder how many people have returned that stuff to the store because nothing comes out, not realizing that the entire top third of the bottle is an empty “no spill” spout with an aluminum foil seal hidden inside. If you do manage to get the foil ripped open and put the contraption back together you can expect equal parts of creamer in your cup and on the counter top.

From individually bubble wrapped pills to easy-open safety sealed food, I see a rough old age ahead for me. No wonder Meals on Wheels is so busy.

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