Sarah Silverman Hates Things

21 04 2008

Here’s an old article from Wired in which Sarah Silverman identifies things she hates, and then explains why.  Interesting.  One thing she hates is clamshell packaging, which is something I can agree with, as I hate clamshell packaging more than I hate most things.  She also gets points for using one of my favorite words (fecund) and for mentioning the band Sigur Rós.

Here’s the rant about the above mentioned anathema:

The thrill of buying a new gadget or toy can vanish if it comes locked in hard plastic “clamshell” packaging. Those sturdy crimped edges defy scissors, knives, even teeth, and frustration mounts as jagged shards of plastic fly. But the clear, airtight packages threaten more than our mental health: In 2004, nearly 6,500 Americans were admitted to emergency rooms with injuries sustained while trying to liberate portable CD players, memory cards, and Bratz dolls.

Are there alternatives to clamshell packaging? Sure — Natralock, for example, makes an easier-to-tear paperboard-and-plastic combo. But stores love the clamshell: By adding bulk to items that could otherwise be slipped into a pocket, it deters shoplifters and lets retailers display big-ticket items in aisles instead of keeping them behind counters.

Even if retailers were amenable to change, manufacturers probably wouldn’t be. Industrial packaging machines are “terribly expensive,” says Laura Bix of the Michigan State University School of Packaging. Factories are loath to invest in new equipment, and most companies don’t want to pay a single penny more per item, even if doing so would keep your sanity — and fingers — intact.

Bix thinks that retailers might abandon clamshells in favor of security cables that keep products tethered to shelves. “But that would mean having more service personnel on the floor,” she says. Hmmm. Helpful “customer associates” are as rare as California condors. We’ll just shop online, thanks.

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