Packaging

We’ve all had the experience of trying to open a package and discovering it can’t be done without a special tool (not included) or superhuman strength. I especially detest the clear, rigid plastics that mockingly encase so many goods—it’s like peering through a display case in a museum. You can look, but don’t touch. I’m guessing the designers (sadists) have a running bet back at the factory—”Let’s see them get into this.”

Thinking about the many things that are packaged so horridly made me consider, on the other hand, those select few items I’ve actually enjoyed opening.

Here’s my list:

1. Personal correspondence. This is becoming quaint, like music on back porches in the summertime—it’s been overrun by emails, Tweets, and all the faster ways of simply saying “Hello, and how are you?” None of these involve handwriting, nor an envelope with its canceled stamp, nor surprise. Going to the mailbox isn’t nearly as enjoyable these days.

2. A present wrapped in heavyweight gift paper. These demand a slower tearing open than cheap papers from bargain bins, and you know the person who wrapped it gave part of themselves, too.

3. A pack of baseball cards. Here’s one from the 60s, when fifty cents could buy you an entire afternoon with your friends. Like a letter, surprise was the big element here—did you get a Mickey Mantle, or Walter Dropo?

4. Ice cream. Whether it arrives on a wooden stick or in a tub there’s an unmistakable delight in ripping open savoring a favored flavor. I haven’t been denied this pleasure by plastics—yet.

5. A thick newspaper. Another staple we took for granted that’s being devoured replaced by the internet. Even Monday’s edition used to be a plump excuse to sit down with a cup of coffee and a pastry, to catch up on the world around us. It was part of The Routine. Now the pages are shrinking in size and number and you can’t find anything remotely interesting in the classifieds.

6. A bag of Fritos. My German shepherd suggested this one, and it’s hard to argue against an easy-opening bag that’s filled to the top with chips, instead of air.

Finally, because it’s spring and more birds are arriving each day, I’m adding an extra item:

7. Bags of bird seed. The sacks don’t rip open accidentally like they used to, and To Open Pull Here really works. Everything else should be that easy.

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