Monday, January 03, 2011

january three

My wife will attest that I get annoyed at small, inanimate objects. She maintains it is the result of some deep, unexpressed rage I feel at the universe. I reckon it's attached to my deep disappointment that human civilisation is incredibly fragile, even frail. After hundreds of millions of years of evolution (if you buy into that premise), the universe - including humanity - really doesn't work very well.

Case in point. Cold Power. All of human civilisation and its achievements (or lack of) can be summed up in the example of this Cold Power box.

I have opened many of these boxes. We go through ... ummm, one a month? Six weeks? So, over the years, and since this particular design of box came out, I can honestly lay claim to having opened enough of them to consider myself very experienced at it.

And lest I be accused of picking on Cold Power, I have to say that other brands of washing detergent use the same design of box. And, lest I be further accused of picking on the washing detergent industry, I am happy to indict other industries, for example the cereal box industry, among others.

In my many years of opening these boxes, whether washing detergent, cereal, or, for example, tomato sauce refill boxes, I have yet to successfully open one of them according to the manufacturer's instructions.

I've ripped slowly; I've ripped fast; I've carefully slid my finger along the inside of the perforations; I've grabbed the "lid" and yanked; I've ripped it from the opposite end. Never once have I succeeded in opening a Cold power box so that the entire "tab" rips off smoothly creating a perfectly "re-closable lid". Never once have any of these boxes lived up to their simplistic promise - that pulling the tab will, in fact, open the box.

Now, before you side with my wife and adjudge me an angry old man, in my defense it simply disappoints me that after a couple million years of human evolution (if you buy that, too), the best minds in the universe can't make a cardboard box that opens easily every time. Is that expecting too much? Is that too lofty a goal for gurus in the box-making industry?

And don't get me started on the recent trend of encasing anything and everything from small plastic toys to barbeques in vacuum shrink-wrapped industrial strength plastic that is double-welded at the edges.

Is there an underground school of designers whose raison d'etre is to make packaging more and more difficult and complex? Is it some evil executive's practical joke?

So (Jackie et al), getting annoyed by the Cold Power box's intrinsic inefficiency has less to do with repressed rage than a heartfelt disappointment in human civilisation.


Anonymous said...

even when you rip it off right it still doesn't close properly it always springs back up and if it is damp goes all hard.

Anonymous said...

OMG, when I read this I was laughing so hard, the tears were falling down my face. I thought it was only me that had this trouble, being left handed. I usually find that when I pull the tab, I only end up with half of it coming off and having to use my finger nail to finish it off - not easy when you are a nail bitter. So now we have a left handed nail bitter! As for opening cereal boxes, which have a tab to aid in closing the lid after. After carefully sliding finger under tab to release lid, I find I have totally desecrated the lid and the tab has gone for good.
And there is one you missed.. the single serve packages that tell you to rip here. They either dont rip, leaving you to find another means of opening these little packages.. teeth are good, or else they rip so easily you end up wearing the contents of the package.