I’m sure you’ve noticed that your Christmas presents have gotten harder and harder to open over the years. Once the sheer joy of ripping of the colorful wrapping is over, the utter hell of penetrating the hard plastic shell of your new ipod, camera, or electric shaver begins.Hard shell plastic packaging (two layers of PVC and plastic soldered around the edges) became more popular to protect high end consumer gadgets from damage during shipping and theft while in stores.
Retailers need to protect their products, but they also need to take some consideration for the people who buy them. Hard shell plastic pacaking earns the title of ergonomic nightmare of the week because opening them is not only annoying and frustrating, but also dangerous.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 200,000 people a year are injured trying to open plastic packaing. ER rooms see a heavy increase in this type of injury the week after Christmas. You’ve probably had a similar experience yourself. I know I have gotten a “plastic cut” and it is definitely more painful than a paper cut.
While researching this post I came across a neat little product called the Pyranna. It is a tool designed to allow you to open hard shell plastic packaging with one easy swipe across an edge, with breaks the plastic soldering and creating an openig with out sharp edges. OpenX is also a similar product designed to open all kinds of difficult to open packages. For only $5-10 it makes a great stocking stuffer, and can be used right away to open the rest of your presents!
Wired Magazine: Tales from Packaging Hell