Beware of the plastic shell crisis and overpacked goods

Sunday, August 15, 2021 4:00 a.m.

Consumers are victims of a packaging industry that is so focused on protecting the goods they sell that they ignore the needs of buyers, especially the elderly. Perhaps they don’t know that shoppers of all ages are tired of the agony of cutting through the plastic wrappers used to protect goods like razor blades, toys, and even medicines. They’ve had child-resistant pill containers. And you run into these instructions and warnings on packages so tiny that you need a magnifying glass to read them.
Surveys show that the packaging crisis is real. One such survey of 2,000 consumers found that a large majority – 66% of them – said they “suffer from wrapping rage” when they come home and try to open overpackaged goods. 40 percent of them said they were injured and 25 percent said they had to use scissors, knives, screwdrivers and even hammers to get through the packaging. Another survey found that 75% of respondents felt that packaging is more difficult than necessary these days and that 67% are downright “frustrated” with modern packaging.
It’s not a competition. Plastic clamshell packaging takes the lead in the “difficult to open” category. Consumer Reports magazine used to have an annual post on packaging. One of the last such articles published was invariably the items wrapped in shells: a toy that took more than 15 minutes to open; a cordless phone that took nine minutes to unpack; and a toothbrush, “which is housed in a sealed hard plastic folding shell and sits so tightly between the plastic skin and the box that it was almost impossible to open with scissors. When the tester finally managed to open the packaging, her work table was littered with sharp plastic splinters. “
So why is the packaging industry not paying attention to the message and not using mussels? Everything revolves around shoplifting. For this reason, razor blades are packaged in these plastic bladders, even though most retailers keep them under lock and key and store staff must hand over the goods in person. After all, razor blades are small and easy to hide, they are expensive and therefore easy to sell on the black market.
There are other reasons why plastic clamshells are preferred by retailers. They are see-through and give a prospect a chance to take a peek at what they’re buying, which will make it easier to sell. And then there is the transport. Clamshells protect sensitive products in the shipping process.
In order. But what about unhappy consumers who risk injury and frustration trying to open their purchases when they get home?
Maybe Plastics Today answered this question when it suggested to plastic clamshell manufacturers: “Although it seems a little unlikely to imagine people injuring themselves with packaging, I have to say that I’ve been on scissors before I resorted to trying to open clamshell packaging. Fortunately, I have not (yet) suffered any injury from the use of a ‘weapon’. But it might make economic sense for packaging designers to develop packaging that still uses the clamshell design but is easy to open. That would be a great presentation of innovative packaging. “
The 2.3 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] www.amac.us is a lively, vital advocacy group for seniors, which receives its marching orders from its members. AMAC Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that represents members in our nation’s capital and in local convention districts across the country.

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