Chastity Belt

If you work for a company that manufactures and packages toys, I have a question for you:
What. The. Hell!?
There's seriously gotta be a line where you realize that the way you are packaging your products to keep them from being stolen is actually preventing the rest of us from being able to open them at all.

Between the invisible super-glue coated tape on the outside of the box, the 15 twist ties that basically weld the child's plaything to the shrink-wrap type plastic packaging and those unbelievably scissor-resistant plastic zip-line tie downs (you know, the same ones they use to restrain prisoners with) it's getting to the point where there's basically no way whatsoever to get into the thing without the advent of a chainsaw and a blowtorch.

All I want to do is open the toy. I swear. I'm not trying to steal it. I'm not trying to invalidate the proof of purchase. I'm not a member of fucking Al Queda. I just want to give my kid the Pokemon that's inside the box that I paid for.

Don't give me your crap excuses about trying to protect products so they aren't jostled inside the boxes during freight transport from the factory to the store. I don't want to hear about your need to make the products "pop" on the toy aisle. I just want to be able to open a box without my seven year-old shaking his head and saying,
"Forget it dad, just let me do it."
He can't do it either (which is the reason he gave it to me to open in the first place), but for crying out loud -- how much time do you waste in the factory each day making sure each product is locked with no hope of parole inside the package?
And don't even get me started on those sealed-on-all-edge packages
that print cartridges and batteries seem to be sold in these days.
Apparently I'm not the only one who has this problem -- Consumer Reports has been issuing what they call "The Oyster Awards" to products that have been tested and proven as difficult to open. Do you hear me -- there's an award for this.

And don't think for a second that the whole "reverse psychology" aspect of the thing is going to make any kind of dent in this trend -- because I'm willing to bet anything that packaging engineers at toy companies probably use things like that as a gauge to see how well they're meeting their corporate expectations.

I work for a manufacturing company. Difference is, most of the stuff we make is intended for use in hospitals -- which means it needs to be sterilized. The stuff we make is sealed up tight in plastic packages so that germs and contaminants can't get inside. But all that you have to do to open them is peel open the package (which can usually be accomplished in just one move). Thank god for it too -- I mean seriously, could you imagine if a doctor or a paramedic arrived on the scene of an accident to help you, opened up his medical kit and then immediately got on his walkie talkie and started saying something like:
"Hey Joe, do we have like a steak knife or something
in the ambulance? I can't get into this package at all."
But what drives me nuts the most about this is that when consumer reports or news agencies ask packaging executives about this, they all seem to say the same thing, "We package products this way to deter theft."

I know they're small items and all -- which I guess makes them easier to steal, but the cost per unit is what, a couple of bucks? Is this really that big a hit on your bottom line? Besides, once a would-be toy thief realizes that he can't steal the tiny toy out of the package, isn't his next logical step (if he really wants the toy that badly) to simply steal the entire package itself?

If anything, this technology is being wasted on small toys. There are so many other places where these implements would be so much better used. For example:
  • Cars. Every 30 seconds in this country one is stolen. And if there's anything in this world that everyone has learned to tune out completely -- it's the honking horns and flashing lights of a car alarm. How about next time you have to leave your vehicle in a parking lot you push a button on your key chain and a pit crew from Hasbro shows up to cover it up in a plastic bubble glued to a cardboard placard that they can hang from a hook. Sure you won't be able to get back into your vehicle later either -- but I guarantee it will still be there when you get back.
  • David Beckham. Sure he looks good and has a great reputation as a player. But he's getting kind of old, and his skills aren't what they used to be. How about instead of guessing whether or not he'll play 10 minutes at the end of a game his team is losing, you just cryogenically freeze him and then seal him and his wife up in a Barbie playset package. He'll never miss a match, and he might actually make a better goaltender than the one the Galaxy is fielding right now.
  • Jessica Alba. None of us are ever going to get into that box anyways, so what's the difference?
  • Bongs. I've long held the belief that nothing in this world is more of a sham than the war our government claims to be waging against people smoking pot. Sure it's illegal to use the drug -- but it's perfectly legal to buy the paraphernalia for it. If the goal is to actually stop people from using marijuana -- how about requiring all "water pipe" manufacturers to shrink seal, twist-tie, and invisible tape their products inside the package -- and then see how many stoners actually drop the habit once they can't figure out how to get it open.
  • Although to be honest, I'd probably pay good money to see them try.

    [Listening to:    (hed) Planet Earth"Walk On By" ]