There are some folk who don't see the gem inside my rough exterior who might consider me a hot head. To which I say a hearty "bite me". But let this opinion be a caution that within this blog may lurk items of a venting nature or perhaps those which might be considered a rant. So be it. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blisterpack Clusterfreak

What in the name of Beelzebub is up with packaging? This morning as I nurse a nasty late winter cold I get into my desk drawer pharmacy and attempt to get two softgels of daytime cold medicine. For the next 10 minutes I fight the following battle: 1) attempt to tear on the perforation to separate the individually packaged two softgels from the card containing their compatriots. Fold back and forth, attempt to tear, repeat; 2) give up on the dysfunctional perforation and search my desk for a scissors – I know I have a pair, I’m sure I saw it somewhere before the presidential election; 3) OK I have the two objects of my quest separated on their individual little card topped by a blisterpack otherwise known Plastic Containment Device From Hell (PCDFH); 4) being careful not to puncture my fingers with the exposed edge of the PCDFH I now attempt to “peel at arrows”. Peel?! I scratch ineffectively at the corner of the card as the paper adhered to the PCDFH clings with the tenacity of a barnacle; 5) Paper at last removed in tiny shreds I now must “push product through foil”. The analogy to a barnacle becomes more apt as it takes both thumbs and some muttered cursing to collapse the shell of the PCDFH causing the foil to at last give up its prize. I can scarcely suppress a cry of triumph as I toss down the pills.

It seems that we have reached the point where any item smaller than a bread box needs to come from the factory in the hated PCDFH. (Sidebar: Is there such a thing as a bread box anymore? In my youth almost any guessing game would include the standard question “Is it bigger than a bread box?” The question even appeared regularly on TV panel shows. But I digress.) When and why did this PCDFH ubiquity happen?

I’m sure I don’t have to go into much detail on this. Who among us has not suffered an unkind cut rendered by the sharp edge of a partially torn PCDFH? Though some manufacturers attempt to ameliorate the terrors of opening such a device by using the technology of a snap-apart clamshell PCDFH, manufacturers of small tools and hardware generally found in large discount home improvement chains scoff at such wussification of the genre. Want to use your new (insert name of small tool or appliance here) right away when you get home? Not so fast. Better get your machete, small hatchet, bowie knife or bayonet out first. Should you attempt to extract your prize using your bare hands, small pen knife or box cutter you are going to shed some blood as the PCDFH uses all its defenses to keep you from your rightful plunder. In the category of “let’s create a need for something that shouldn’t be necessary at all" we now can purchase heavily bladed PCDFH opening devices created solely for that purpose. So long common sense, we hardly knew ye.

“But we need to (in the case of pills) make sure they are tamper proof.” You already have another DFH for this purpose, the child proof cap with inner seal. Yeah, if I have arthritis there will be some suffering involved but it won’t involve actually incising my epidermis. “But we need to prevent shoplifting”. That’s just so much bull output. A determined shoplifter is going to shoplift a small PCDFH as easily as a small unpackaged item. If you want to stop shoplifting then get on the phone to your legislators and ask them to stop coddling criminals. 30 days with free meals and lodging might not stop shoplifting but 30 days at hard backbreaking labor overseen by Strother Martin might. “But PCDFH allows the shopper to see fancy graphics, advertising hype, usage warnings and the like.” What a steaming pile! I know what a can opener is for; I can see your hype just as easily on a card if you staple or twist tie the product to it. Bottom line, packaging using the PCDFH is easier for robots to apply. To hell with that – people need jobs. I’ll pay 10 cents more for an item packaged by a human and save the petroleum it takes to make the PCDFH at the same time.

The inventor of the blisterpack needs to suffer the death of a thousand cuts. Inflicted, of course, by the torn edge of a PCDFH.


homercat said...

Amen to that. If the cold pills don't come in a bottle I won't buy it. It's the big items in that hard plastic that really chaps my a**. Good rant.

Blue said...

Great rant! I have thought this so many times myself, and the situation seems to be getting worse. Medicines have a safety reason, off course, we've seen it go wrong with Tylenol but not to this extent! They're meant for ill people. Ill people who don't have the energy to fight through a very aggravating and sometimes painful (so many sharp edges on the plastics) obstacle course! One Tamper Proof Seal would do it. And maybe if they provided a removing device too. That'd be just fine.