This Holiday Season, All I Want Is A Package That Opens Easily

from the please-please-pretty-pretty-please dept

Along with the holiday shopping season, we've also got the growing fear of people dreading opening those annoyingly difficult plastic "blister packs" that way too many products come in these days. It's tough to find anyone who likes them... other than stores. Retailers claim that it helps cut down on theft, and keeps products fresh and new, but the frustration level of people trying to open the damn things is reaching dangerous levels. Apparently, thousands of people end up at the emergency room each year with "injuries from plastic packaging" according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. So, this holiday season, if you absolutely must buy anyone anything that comes in an impossible to open plastic clamshell, please be careful trying to open it. We'd recommend that you get one of the new device made especially for opening them, but they're apparently sold out in most places, and even if you found one... they apparently come sealed in plastic themselves.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 8:04pm

    ya heavy duty sisors=useless unless you want to take about 10 min... pocket knife=a little more dangrous when you get frustrated watching some one else try to open them=funny as hell

     

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  2.  
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    discojohnson, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 8:06pm

    or better yet

    a) don't buy anything that comes in this insane packaging, or
    b) open up the package yourself and repackage it in a shoebox and put the original plastic in there too, just so they'll know you care.

     

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  3.  
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    The Geek, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 8:14pm

    Re: or better yet

    That's a great excuse for opening somebody's present. I wonder if that would also work on ebay?

    "Great seller - even opens your packages so you don't hurt yourself. "

     

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  4.  
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    copperheadclgp, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 8:39pm

    Wire cutters and tin snips

    Nothing can resist a good pair of tin snips... and for those stupid "display" packages which have a toy bound by endless wire and plastic ties, a good pair of Craftsman wire cutters is essential.

     

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  5.  
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    Oliver Wendell Jones, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 8:45pm

    I bought a pair of spring-loaded craft scissors and they make a quick job of opening those packages.

     

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  6.  
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    Wade, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 8:51pm

    I work in retail and i think you answer is find a thief. Because they seem to open them blister packs up in seconds with a simple razor blade.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 9:41pm

    The easiest way to 'theif' your way into a blister pack is to cut a circle around the bubble containing the item that you wish to not be contained.
    Its easy, and fairly safe as the force needed to cut a layer of plastic is significantly less that that needed to cut a layer of plastic, a layer of cardboard, and a layer of palstic (the back side if you got lost).
    It takes seconds, and is what i do... *shifty eyes*

     

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  8.  
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    Donald Duck, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 9:48pm

    Yes Wade

    From what I understand they find those packs EVERY WHERE in stores and we are just in awe about this because some are so hard to open.

    They must YouTube how to open a plastic package. Or maybe one of you techdirt posters when you get time could YouTube how to steal the shit in the store and how to open the packages.

    Even with a good pair of scissors I'm still ten minutes away from opening the gd package. Not to mention what that would look like in a landfill 500 years from now. SAME AS BOUGHT lol

     

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  9.  
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    Sarbot, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 11:39pm

    " bought a pair of spring-loaded craft scissors and they make a quick job of opening those packages."

    I'll second that. They seem the safest option for the really heavy clamshells. You can use a utility knife but they can slip.

    I tried one of those special OpenX clamshell openers. The blades weren't sharp enough and the spring loaded starter cutter is hard to use and seems dangerous they way it pops out the bottom. Check out the photo from the "myopenx" dot com website, you can see the blade over the model's hand :-

     

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  10.  
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    Pat Ience, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 12:02am

    I've found the easiest way to open blister packs is to use the holes that are already there. Most packages have a hole for hanging on shelves. Simply insert a razor blade, craft knife, or any other NON-serrated blade in between the front and back pieces of plastic, then slit the front or back piece of plastic (NOT BOTH) all the way to the outside edges of the package. Start from each of those endpoints and make a slit down each side of the package. This will give you three cut edges that are near (if not at) the edge of the package, leaving a sort of "door" that can easily be taped closed in case the item needs to be returned.

    Its safe because there is very little force needed to start the cutting, unlike trying to make your own starting hole in the plastic or trying to trim the edges with any "magic super death opener 3000" device.

    Remember, always cut away from your body and if you manage to end up in a hospital because of a blister pack... you're probably lucky to have made it this far in life anyway.

     

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  11.  
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    roy, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 3:46am

    tools

    a cheap pair of tin snips cut right through this stuff and you would really have to work at it to hurt yourself

     

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  12.  
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    aaron, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 4:42am

    if u have an air compressor get a cheap tin cutter the one tht looks like a paper hole cutter but it goes rellly fast these make really good work of the plastic lol

     

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  13.  
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    aaron, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 4:44am

    oh by the way here is a link to show u what i mean by tht tool
    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200305417_200305417

     

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  14.  
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    kuronoir, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 5:08am

    this is tech news?

    oh and btw.. close cover before striking match.. not really tech news either.

     

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  15.  
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    jay, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 6:04am

    i hate those things

    I actually stayed away from buying anything package in that manner but I could only stay the course for so long. But it does stop the impulse purchases though.

     

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  16.  
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    spoon?!?!, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 6:08am

    @9

    Dude, I want a magic super death opener 9000!

    Fave method = straight-edge medical scalpels or hand-sharpened pen knives.

     

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  17.  
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    Dosquatch, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 6:51am

    Re: tools

    I hadn't thought about tin snips - good call.

    The best answer I've found to date is a good pair of trauma sheers. Not quite a hot knife through butter, but they make pretty quick work of blister packs.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 7:09am

    I prefer to blast.....

     

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  19.  
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    AC, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 8:33am

    I bought one of those blister pack openers, but it came in a blister pack and I couldn't open it.

     

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  20.  
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    Seth Brundle, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 8:39am

    Know who needs to take up this cause?
    The AARP!

    Obviously their membership is going to have a hard time with these products, and the AARP lobby has the power to do it.

    My worst recent experience was with controllers, wireless adapter, and chargers for XBox. Argh.

     

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  21.  
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    Unabashed Critic, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 9:04am

    ????

    I understand that some may find it difficult to open some of these packages, but I have opened dozens (hundreds?), and have never had a problem or injured myself.

    I agree that perhaps they could be replaced with easier-opening packaging, but I also maintain the opinion that everyone should be able to operate simple tools (knife/box cutter/scissors/etc.) without hurting themselves.

    It's not just the packaging issue, folks, we all need to be competent at everyday tasks in general. Repeat after me, "Personal Responsibility, Personal Responsibility..."

     

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  22.  
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    sarbot, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 9:43am

    "It's not just the packaging issue, folks, we all need to be competent at everyday tasks in general. Repeat after me, "Personal Responsibility, Personal Responsibility...""

    BS. If a majority of people are having a problem with these packages then they are poorly designed. You can't change people but you can change the design. Working around the way people **actually** think and use things is the hallmark of good design. Blaming the the public at large for the failings of a bad product is the hallmark of a bad designer.

     

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  23.  
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    Unabashed Blister Fanboi, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 10:00am

    Re: ????

    I understand that some may find it difficult to open some of these packages, but I have opened dozens (hundreds?), and have never had a problem or injured myself.

    I agree that perhaps they could be replaced with easier-opening packaging, but I also maintain the opinion that everyone should be able to operate simple tools (knife/box cutter/scissors/etc.) without hurting themselves.

    It's not just the packaging issue, folks, we all need to be competent at everyday tasks in general. Repeat after me, "Personal Responsibility, Personal Responsibility..."
    I hear ya bro!!!! PEOPLE listen to me!!! We need more products like this! Every time I hear about some idiot getting stitches from one of these things I am just disappointed that they didn't bleed to death like they obviously should have!! Darwinism: good!! ADA: bad!! Dangerous products only serve to clean up the gene pool!! We all need to prove our worth every day! That's our PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! If you can't handle it, get out of the gene pool! FOLKS, all together now in lock-step, repeat after me, "PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, ...". I personally thank our retail industry for their contribution to the cause!

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 11:19am

    Arent blister packs made of plastic?

    isnt plastic made from..... OIL? Hmm........

     

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  25.  
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    SnowDog, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 11:41am

    Blister Packs ?? Try opening a Barbie

    Blister packs are easy try opening a Barbie doll!!

    They sew her hair to the cardboard and then still need about a hundred twist ties to hold her into the box.

    SnowDog

     

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  26.  
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    Arochone, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 6:34pm

    Wusses.

    God. I hate how EVERYONE keeps bitching about these things. I got a pair of friggin' little kids scissors that cuts 'em just fine. They're about 4 inches long...cost about 2 bucks....can find 'em in the school supplies section at walmart. I've never been injured by one of these things, I've never needed more than 3 minutes to open one, and I sure as hell have never needed friggin' metal cutters like some people claim. I mean, I can understand older people having problems with them...I don't know how well my gradma would be able to open them or something...but really, if you can't put sufficient pressure on a pair of scissors to cut through some damn plastic, you REALLY ought to start exercising. It's just a side-effect of the whole obesity thing I think.

     

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  27.  
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    Chris Maresca, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 6:48pm

    Class action lawsuit...

    ... that's all it would take to get rid of these things. With these numbers of people injured, I'm quite surprised it hasn't happened already. Not that I'm a big fan of lawsuits, but this seems tailor-made for one...

    As far as theft goes, I don't see how this would stop anyone. With 5 seconds and a razor blade, you can get them open.... And they are almost always around sub-$20 packaging, not the most attractive things for thieves.

    I think the real reason for them is that stores will only take returns if "the packing is intact". Blister packs pretty much make that impossible and thus eliminate the cost of returns on cheap, low margin items.....

    Chris.

     

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  28.  
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    Andrew Pollack, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 7:44pm

    I wear a leatherman tool at all (daytime) times

    It's on my belt next to my fire department pager/radio. When I travel, it goes into the suitcase as I enter the airport and comes out in baggage claim.

    A bit of effort keeps the blade sharp and I find those blister packs don't resist a good blade very well at all.

    Still, the waste involved in that kind of packaging is frustrating. The only thing worse, is the way Mattel packages Barbie dolls. I have daughters and -- omfg, that is the most insanely overpackaged product I have ever seen.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 7:49pm

    um... a sharp knife, a teensy bit of intelligence, and some moderately minimal dexterity?

    Or, drop one of the latter two, hold the thing in your lap and improve the gene pool.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 8:15pm

    Re: I wear a leatherman tool at all (daytime) time

    Have you ever seen the packaging for camera memory cards? 12" by 9" of plastic to hold a 1.5" by 1" card. 7100% overpackaging. Stupid!

     

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  31.  
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    paul`, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 10:10pm

    I dont see whats so difficult abut them, i open them in two seconds with normal scissors...

     

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  32.  
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    Unabashed Blister Fanboi, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Wusses.

    I'm with ya Arochone!!! Read my comment above!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  33.  
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    Cool, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 11:35pm

    Re: A Package That Opens Easily

    Imagine cutting yourself trying to open a "First Aid Kit"? You bleed to death with help right at your fingertips!

     

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  34.  
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    Cool, Dec 2nd, 2006 @ 11:36pm

    Re: A Package That Opens Easily

    Imagine cutting yourself trying to open a "First Aid Kit"? You bleed to death with help right at your fingertips!

     

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  35.  
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    maui max, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 2:23am

    Purchase a good "gut hook" knife in a sporting goods store. The hook can be pulled easily through one layer of plastic without risk to anyone with a modicum of common sense. I've used one for years!

     

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  36.  
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    Boris Jacobsen, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 4:47am

    All part of the fun....

    Isn't opening the package part of the fun? With your bare hands? It'll keep you occupied for longer than whatever is inside the package will, quite often.

     

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  37.  
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    Peet McKimmie (profile), Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 5:58am

    It depends on the tools you have to hand...

    ...personally I find running the tip of a hot soldering iron round them just inside the edge does the trick nicely. :-)

     

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  38.  
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    Prometheus, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 8:45am

    Power Tools

    No one uses a sawzall? I like AC's method (blasting).

     

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  39.  
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    Ben, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 1:54pm

    Re:

    I think the biggest issue for me is being able to return an item.

     

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  40.  
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    Bob, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 2:16pm

    Unless its defective there should be no reason to return something. If you dont want it DONT BUY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE !!!!!!!!!!

     

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  41.  
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    Jeff, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 5:33pm

    I hate those packages too. Why should I have to go looking for scissors, knives, tin snips or anything else. I just want to get to the damned product. I fear the day that condoms are packaged like this. By the time you get it open, the mood will be long gone.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2006 @ 6:05pm

    Hey - just another reason to sue! Get cut opening, just sue them, why not? The RIAA's happy to be in court!

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 12:00am

    Blow torch is the best way....

     

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  44.  
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    Michael, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 12:35am

    Plastic Clam Shells

    Although the article suggests that plastic clam shell packaging is hard to open, I feel that it is not.
    Plastic clam shell packaging is easy to open with the proper "tools".
    Anyone that has a kitchen has a sharp knife and many have a utility knife or box cutter. If the item in the clam shell is placed on a stable surface it can easilly be opened by using a sharp knife by cutting around the product or just inside of the seal of the clamshell packaging.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 12:38am

    if a razorblade is just too much to handle for some folks...utility knife version.

    Or better yet one of them new fangled pocket knives that uses a razor for the blade.

    insert point at the thinnest part of the plastic ( where it's molded around the product) follow the outline. no problem.

     

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  46.  
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    bugsy3333, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 1:59am

    ummm....STOP

    Anti-Ummmers unite. If you start your post with "ummm" you are an f****** idiot.

    Ummm, piss off

     

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  47.  
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    Tim, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 3:26am

    Take 'em back to the shop and demand the cust.services assistants open it for you.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 5:49am

    Speaking as a former shoplifter blister packs aided me in removing items from the store(don't worry I've already been arrested and have fully reformed/repaid the stores I stole from, out of guilt, not duty). When I was stealing the packs would make it so easy to find the alarm tag. A good box cutter and a spotter made removing the items from the package in the restroom easy. It's much easier to hide a blister pack on you than it is to hide a cardboard box.

    Not that I'm the least bit proud of what I did but the idea that blister packs make it harder to steal is ridiculous.

     

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  49.  
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    Coward, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 6:36am

    Tools not always availible.

    I usually carry a letherman type tool (Gerber), but got out of the house without it. We decided to pick up a portable DVD player for our son at Walmart. I got out to the car to plug it in, and I couldn't open the package. It seems that a tool beyond keys to cut tape shouldn't be necessary. I took it back in to get Customer Service to open it.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 6:41am

    Re: Plastic Clam Shells

    Although the article suggests that plastic clam shell packaging is hard to open, I feel that it is not.
    Plastic clam shell packaging is easy to open with the proper "tools".
    Anyone that has a kitchen has a sharp knife and many have a utility knife or box cutter. If the item in the clam shell is placed on a stable surface it can easilly be opened by using a sharp knife by cutting around the product or just inside of the seal of the clamshell packaging.
    So easy, a child could it! Just give them a razor knife!

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    Unless its defective there should be no reason to return something. If you dont want it DONT BUY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE !!!!!!!!!!
    And if it is defective, THE SELLER SHOULD BE PUNISHED !!!!!!!!!!

     

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  52.  
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    Pete, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 7:18am

    RE

    Shoot you all are doing this the hard way, down here in Texas we just fire up the ole chain saw, opens all them silly plastic packages right easy

     

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  53.  
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    R. Ragnar, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 12:21pm

    I have one of the Openx openers mentioned above. It's not perfectly smooth but it keeps your fingers out of there and works well enough to get the job done. Damn plastic ruins the fun of tearing in to something on Xmas morning.

     

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  54.  
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    aReader, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 1:30pm

    I saw a commercial of powered Black and Decker scissors on the TV that is based on this very idea of people getting frustrated with this kind of packaging. I haven't seen or bought the product yet

     

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  55.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 5:38pm

    THe little thinblister packs are fie, and so are most clamshells, it is the ones where the shell is so thick and hard there is a risk of the knife slipping and damaging the contrents. even worse are the ones where the hanging hole is outside the seal.

     

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  56.  
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    Tyshaun, Dec 6th, 2006 @ 11:48am

    evolution...

    Isn't one of the major difference between man and the lower order primates the fact that we can utilize tools effectively?

    For my daughters I just take all of the stuff out of the plastic and put them in boxes. It's easier to wrap, makes for fast cleanup on Christmas day (a lot of the trash is already in the dumpster), and as noted earlier, doesn't detract from the "magic" of ripping open the package.

    One other thing it does is to make sure that parts don't get missing. The thing I hate is when they hide AC Adapters or other stuff in those cardboard folds. If you are not looking for them, or carefully examine the post-mortem of the clam shell, you can miss some smaller components.

    For opening them, I have a $10.00 pair of "medical scissors" that can cut through it like paper (also can cut sheet metal just as easy).

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Lyla Burns, Jul 16th, 2012 @ 10:13am

    vertical smokers

    The only other thing I want besides easy open packages, is easy set up gifts. I actually don't usually set up the gifts we get, my husband does, so I shouldn't be complaining. This year I want vertical smokers, hopefully those aren't too difficult to open and set up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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