The Perils of Packaging

Have you come across the so-called “child-proof” containers for pills? Child-proof, possibly, but granny-proof certainly. You have to press down on the lid, at the same time rotating it. Nearly impossible for anyone with weak fingers or arthritis. The only solution is to seek help from the nearest five-year-old.

Have you noticed that elastoplasts now come cunningly wrapped in cellophane and it’s quite hard to prize the plaster from its wrapper? Easy enough if you’re putting a plaster on someone else, but quite tricky if you are the person with the cut or gash. Actions that are easy enough when you have the unfettered use of all fingers become difficult if not impossible when you are trying to staunch a wound at the same time. Nowadays many of us oldies are prescribed aspirin against possible heart attacks and one of the side effects of aspirin is profuse bleeding from the smallest cut. 

It’s not only medicines and bandages that come in awkward-to-open containers. How often have you despaired of ever getting at the biscuits in a packet with an “open here” tear strip that doesn’t work and taken the scissors to the wrapper, often as not resulting in crumbly biscuits all over the kitchen?

At one time cakes and confectionary came without any packaging; you bought a dozen doughnuts or six jam tarts and the shopkeeper slid them into a white paper bag and twisted the corners so the contents didn’t fall out. Easy to see what you were getting, easy to carry home and best of all easy to unwrap when you were ready to eat. Now we’ve moved on from personal service and paper bags to plastic sealed containers where you can see your doughnut or jam tart through a transparent shield and admire the nice hygienic way the supermarket has packaged your food. What you can’t do is get at the damn thing. You try pulling, the plastic resists, you try tearing, same result. You search around for a sharp implement and end up impaling your doughnut or slicing your jam tart in half.  Infuriating.

I suppose one solution is to eschew packaged “convenience” (inconvenience would be more accurate) food and when on a walk or cycle trip take along an apple or a banana – these are easy-access and much better for you nutritionally.

There’s the germ of a story here somewhere…an old lady beset with modern gadgets struggling to open a tin, fight her way into a packet, unscrew to lid on a jar starves to death in the midst of plenty just because she can’t unwrap the things she needs.

Don’t laugh; it could be you …or me!



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I am a poet, therefore I am crazy - see Shakespeare "the lunatic, the lover and the poet..." I also write plays and stories and do the press reports for my local WI. I ride a recumbent trike, a Hase Kettwiesel - I love it!

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