Monday, May 22, 2006

Clam-Hell Packaging

I rudely reprint this Ezra Klein post in full because I’ll do anything to advance this cause:
Glad to see someone taking on the big issues. Wired has an article today on clamshell (or Oyster) packaging -- those hellish sheets of thick, soldered-together plastic that entomb all manner of electronics and make extraction a project requiring enough sharp pieces of metal to fill a medieval armory. The little buggers are so irritating that Consumer Reports named an award after them, the Oyster Awards, given to the most difficult to open products.

If everyone hates the stuff, why is it used? Well, retailers, apparently, love the packaging style: it cuts down on in-store theft, reduces damage during shipping, and allows for easy visibility of the internal product. But the clamshells are so tricky to open that a fair number of folks slice themselves while trying to cut into the buggers. Most just get a quick gash, but according to ER doctors, a fair number rip through tendons and nerves, requiring orthopedic surgery. And that's to say nothing of increased cardiovascular disease and domestic tensions brought on by the stress of trying to open your AV cables. Retailers, however, are unrepentant. John Zittrauer, a spokesperson for Best Buy, admits that clamshells "are a lot of times a pain to get open. But it's a tough line to walk to make things not easily accessible for theft protection before purchase and easy to open after purchase."

Think a boycott would work?
Amen, brother. I’m so sick of virtually all packaging these days -not just the “clamshell” but almost everything- I could, and usually do, scream. Just the other day, Mrs. TEH came home with greeting cards that were sealed in plastic. Greeting cards! I damn-near ripped the cards trying to extract them. Most often heard from me while trying to open something these days: “This is bullshit”.

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