Wednesday, July 24, 2024

PHALON’S FILE: Overpackaging

I didn’t know kryptonite actually existed until I purchased scissors. No, the scissors weren’t made of kryptonite. The packaging was.

I’d purchased this two-pack of scissors as an impulse at the dollar store. While they didn’t cost an actual dollar, they were a bargain at $7.

They seemed like they’d be a good hedge to having to dip into the Good Scissors. You know what happens when you touch the Good Scissors.

But when it came time to use the new scissors, I needed scissors just to open the blister package that was cast in what could only be kryptonite. But the reason I bought the scissors was because we had no scissors. And I sure wasn’t foolish enough to sneak Good Scissors for the task.

A steak knife didn’t work, so I hiked out to the garden shed in the dark and cold, and found a pair of pruning shears. The shears cut right through the edges of the krypto-packaging, but as anyone who has ever used pruning shears for actual cutting knows, they don’t exactly cut with surgical precision, kind of taking a left-turn halfway across the package.

I cut right across the directions. Yes, the pair of scissors had directions, along with a safety warning and a “Limited Warranty.” The warranty reassured me I’d have at least some redress since I did not opt to purchase the service plan for the scissors.

It should have included a warning about hacking across industrial-strength plastic and risking opening the arteries in your wrists. Are we really having our lives put at risk to protect scissors that work out to be $3.50 each?

The scissors were freed. Just in time to deal with my other impulse purchase that day, a $4.95 DVD of an obscure movie I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was the first DVD I’ve purchased in a while and I had forgotten about the barriers that stand between a movie and a viewer.

Our newly liberated scissors were a great help in opening up the first level of resistance, but not much good as we moved deeper into the anti-piracy system. Under the Defcon One of cardboard on the outside was shrink wrap that was attached as tightly as gum to the bottom of a shoe.

Next came the “Security Seal.” There was a little arrow that showed where to pull it. If you did it just right, the whole thing came off in one piece. I did not do it right, and ended up ripping my fingernail on it before it came off.

Not so fast. Level 3 Security was a multi-step process. There was one more strip on the long side, and another on the bottom. And these two seals lacked the arrow to show where to start the removal process, as if it mattered.

All this for a DVD that retailed for $4.95? It would be easier to steal a manhole cover, and they retail for about $300. And they’re made of steel, none of the foreign kryptonite.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.

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