Friday, August 11, 2006

Packing it In

New York
Forget airline security issues.
Pooh pooh gasoline prices.
You know what the real detriment is to peace, prosperity and the American way?
Product packaging.
That will be the downfall of civilization as we know it.

It seems anymore that anytime you buy something, it’s vacuum sealed in an impermeable shell of clear plastic that is impossible to open. I realize this is an offshoot of the retail security issues that have worted shop owners the world over. How to reduce inventory shrinkage? Make the product packaging more difficult to hide.

The music and game industry were the first to adopt this strategy. There is no rational reason for putting a compact disc recording in a package that is twice or three times the size of what it contains. Just makes it harder to slip out the door without paying for it.

I could accept that.
But now, even the most ordinary items are sealed in thick layers of clear plastic packaging that require diamond tipped tools to access.

The level of difficulty to get into some products does not correlate with their value. It took me an hour to get into one of those multi-function tools (which the airlines will not allow you to bring on board) that would have been helpful in opening the package. A supreme irony.

The other bugaboo in product packaging and labeling is the adhesive sticker system for fresh produce. Because I don’t care to ingest the numeric code labels for fruits, I will spend a little time to pull them off. They’re tenacious, those stickers, and the problem is, you could literally starve to death trying to pull off ‘em off.

I think the solution to putting passengers safely on commercial jet aircraft may be to create personal plastic cocoons in which they could be easily transported. Locked tight inside their clear, hard plastic shells, arms immobile between the transparent pod cases, TSA officials could be assured no one would be trying to ignite their tennis shoes or assemble liquid explosives.

Of course, when you arrive at your destination, you’d need one of those multi-purpose tools to crack open the shell. Maybe we need to rethink this a little more…

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