Today, Black Friday, the latest American fad to be imported here to the UK, will see thousands of us buying presents for our loved ones which they will struggle to open. I’m not just talking about our elderly and less able friends and relatives; everyone struggles to open the electronic equipment or gadget sealed in the hard plastic container that can only be opened with the help of the sharpest implements in your cutlery drawer or your toolbox!
Commonly found entombing electronic goods, razors and even toys, this packaging is called the clamshell or the oyster and rightly so because you’ll certainly need something to prise it open with – bare hands won’t do the job.
With a hard sealed plastic back and front, the clamshell requires sharp scissors, a knife or tin snips to open. Some websites even recommend using a tin opener!
Once you’ve made your incision, the fun doesn’t end there – it’s all too easy to cut or scratch your fingers on the sharp plastic as you try to retrieve the item from inside. When you buy something it should be yours – you shouldn’t have to get into a knife fight with it!
This packaging is often used to deter shop lifters (why else wrap up razor blades with this impenetrable shell?) and I feel, to a lesser extent, to protect the goods inside but it has created another problem for us all – ‘wrap rage’!
Most of us have experienced it, frustration, anger and sometime injury! The latest figures I could find were from 1997 when over 67,000 people visited A&E due to an accident involving packaging and this was only 35% of the injuries. The other 65% were treated by their GP or through home remedy. Nearly 20 years later I suspect the figures are not moving South!
Whilst it’s an issue for everyone the most affected are the elderly, people with a disability and those who may have particular problems with reduced eyesight and hand strength.
What can we do? Well perhaps it’s time for some Purple protest and a good place to start a discussion with those who could change things is The Packaging Federation . Secondly support initiatives such as Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging where goods are free from wires, plastic and the usual trappings and shipped in a plain brown box with minimal protective filling and finally until things change, consider buying one of these Package Openers and post it with your present.
This Black Friday help everyone to avoid a Purple Rage and a hospital visit at Christmas!