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Good things in maddening packages

The Examiner

Happy new year everyone. Here’s to a brighter one than the last.

That out of the way, I’d like to have a general moan about packaging. 

I’ve moaned before about packaging that requires a science degree in physics to work out how to open the thing, or that needs the expertise of nuclear weaponry to breach its impenetrable walls.

Annie Dear

I’m talking about sneaky packaging.

So, you’ve gone to the store and have bought, let’s say, your favorite peanut butter.  Everything looks the same as it always has, until you turn the jar upside down and realize where its bottom used to be flat, it’s now pushed in quite dramatically in the middle.  That means you’re getting x percent less of the actual product than you used to get, and the manufacturer saving money and thus you’re paying more. Very sneaky indeed.

You men won’t in all likelihood relate to this next one. Skin products. Have you ever bought a moisturizer and have been tantalized by the promises apparently made by their titles? Skin firming, overnight mega-moisture, anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, skin smoothing, turn you into Bo Derek in three weeks – the end result is, of course, that there’s not much of a change, but it makes you feel better that it looks like you’re actively trying to do the right thing for the largest organ of your body.

The packaging is stylish, the logo well known, and the graphics are pleasing to the eye.  It’s not until you carry your mortgage-payment-like package home and get into it than you realize the six-inch-high cardboard is carrying a three-inch-high pot of crème. 

This to me takes sneak to a new level of deception, and I for one have reached a level of tiredness thereof unto which I’m prepared to scream.

Now onto what I call “precious” packaging.

This is the parceling up of a product with such affected trickery and complication that I have been heard muttering that the manufacturer must be so inordinately proud of it that it has gone to such lengths to present it to us, the humble consumers who should be grateful for its magnificence.

Remember when you used to by packaged shirts? You end up needing a metal detector to figure out the positioning and quantity of the myriad pins holding the whole thing in place. And darn it all, it still needed ironing anyway.

Heavens, just buying socks can bring you to your knees as you bust open the robust cardboard and then have to resort to scissors to snip your way through plastic ties holding the toes together. I mean really, how far can a sock go all by itself – unless, of course, it’s in the clothes dryer where it can wander off into the unknown quite happily.

And lastly, to irritating packaging.

Please don’t use sticky labels on stuff which doesn’t necessarily have fond memories of glue, for heavens sake. Glassware and china don’t want your adhering patches, as their new owners now must go to the hardware store to buy “Goo-be-gone” to get the gunk off.

Manufacturers? Here’s a small tip. Save your tricksy-wicksy packaging and just bung the product in a paper bag – we’ll all save a whole lot of money – and temper – that way.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at