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Listen, I'm no jive turkey. I get that we live in an age of convenience and we're at the forefront of innovation and futurosity at any given moment. I know how many gigaflops are running my air-conditioner, and I can't wait to use my fridge to watch porn and make sandwiches, the way Jesus and the Founding Fathers intended. But I'll tell you what, man. We let ourselves down when it comes to technological innovation in the field of product packaging. Because fuck product packaging these days. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and I'm just displeased.

Slick Freezer Packaging

Catherine Lane/iStock

This entire article exists because of these fucking things. Have you purchased frozen vegetables or frozen fruit lately? Most of it comes in these handy-ass little bags, right? NO! Fuck no!

I like the convenience of mangoes and strawberries all year round. I want them at 3 a.m. in January. I need that in my life. I want to put it in my blender and add some tequila and shit and be instantly transported to an island vacation. Or my sofa, but with a cold, fruity drunkening on the way. I like that.

But listen here, fruit and veggie packers of America, I want to teach you something about the nature of freezers. Freezers, where one stores frozen foods, freeze. When you package your product in a slick and amorphous plastic satchel, you basically create a displaced, three-dimensional, full-coverage, scale-model ski slope. Every surface is as slick as ice and will not allow for stacking in any way, shape, or form.

Evgenia Bolyukh/iStock
Are you working for Big Tupperware? Why am I the only one asking these questions?

If you have two of these bags in your freezer, it's no big deal. If half of your freezer is crammed with these, then every time you open the freezer door it's like Walter Pecker shutting down the containment field in Ghostbusters. Shit screams forth from a frozen underworld with an unheard-of speed and tenacity. How does it build up momentum if it's just sitting still in my freezer until I open the door? I don't know, but that shit can launch a frozen lasagna out the door like a Major League pitcher.

I can't count the number of times my freezer has hurled heavy chunks of icy pain at me because I dared disturb the delicate balance of the frozen bag Tetris game that was barely holding everything in place. Once one piece is dislodged, the rest turns into a Jenga avalanche of frosty fuck-youity. You can grab about four of them before the rest spill out and land on your feet with whatever else you were trying to hold in place, which is always heavier and more frozen than the fruit. Cans of frozen juice, a roast, whatever. It's heavy and hard as a rock, and it's on your foot because someone thought a fuckin' bag was more convenient to use than easily stackable boxes. You know who thought that? Thomas Raymond Asshole, food packaging scientist and Hecubus worshiper.



Apparently, around 6,000 people a year have to go to the hospital thanks to injuries sustained trying to manage clamshell packaging. PVC clamshells are most often used to hide electronics from the sticky fingers of shoplifters and the elderly who have used up all the rights they once had to new things. I don't know how people injure themselves on them -- I read they get cut somehow, so I assume again these are the elderly who put their tissue-paper-over-gushing-blood digits into their newfangled pet trimmer package after using a screwdriver to open a tiny hole, and the resulting mayhem almost bleeds them dry. Regardless of one's ability to slice and dice themselves, clamshells in general are bullshit. In the annals of needless packaging, clamshells will go down in history as the plasticized incarnation of a person you don't know slipping a finger into your ass on a bus and then looking you in the eye. It's needless and an affront to your sense of goodness and justice.

Emails sent to that address are just long strings of profanity.

Packaging should ideally serve to protect your item, whatever it may be, from rain, urine, the fingers of dirty children, DNA, and turds. Plastic wrap does a great job of that. Any standard box that's effectively sealed does a fine job. You don't need to use some kind of titanium-infused plastic armor to protect your $7 Walmart nose hair trimmer.

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© woodygraphs/iStock

I like a nice brick of cheese. I like brick forms of food. Bricked food is powerful and manly as fuck. I bet bear meat comes in bricks. A brick you can just bite into and then wince about five minutes later as you feel your pulse quickening while your whole body tries to work that godforsaken cheese on through.

I think one brand of cheese on Earth has clued into the fact that no one eats a pound and a half of cheese in one sitting and we may, in fact, want to reseal our cheese for later.

And its packaging is, if possible, even weirder.

Everyone else just wraps that brick all loosey-goosey in plastic. So you cut open the cheese, you slice off enough for your delicious, grilled sandwich, and then you have a section of cheese the size of your forearm that you now need to wrap up like a fatty dairy baby in a babushka. Who the hell has cheese babushkas on hand? I might have a freezer bag if I'm lucky, but you're being real presumptuous, cheese. Why should I have to plan ahead to store my cheese when all you needed to do was add a Ziploc seal down one side of the damn brick? I'm not even an engineer and I thought of that shit; don't tell me the dairy farmers of the world can't figure this one out.

I refuse to be limited to eating cheese in string form for the rest of my life.

Unwrapped cheese has a shelf life of exactly the amount of time it takes you to shut the fridge. As soon as the light turns off, the final inch of your cheese wizens up like great grandpa's pucker, all dried out and cracked at the edges with a vaguely greasy sheen to it. Within five days it'll develop that white, mossy layer of almost mold, like mold's Rogaine, threatening to develop into a full-on aquamarine '70s bush all over your cheese by week's end. All because no one in Cheeseland could be bothered to invest in Ziploc technology.

Plasticized Foil Tear-Open Packs

Joe Potato Photo/iStock

I'm not sure why plastic foil was invented, other than to look futuristic to people from the 1950s. It's shiny and thin and seems great for bagging potato chips, which is the one truly solid purpose I feel this product has. Could chips be packaged just in plastic bags? I bet they could. I have no idea why they're not. We choose this foil plastic instead. And as far as that goes, it's OK, because chip manufacturers put that seam in there so if you grab the bag just so, you pull it apart and the bag pops open like a shiny gift from the salt gods. Praise Jesus!

Making whatever Pinterest crap this is completely unnecessary.

Now look at 95 percent of everything else packaged in that godforsaken plastic foil. Like the tiny spice packets they include in ramen noodles. The tiny spice packets that, if the noodle company is too cheap to include a pre-made cut to start tearing it open or if something happened on the assembly line and your little pre-cut didn't get stamped into the packet, are now harder to get into than a pair of golden panties on a nun in Fort Knox.

Have you ever seen a grown man fight with a spice packet? Seriously wrestle and struggle with this quarter ounce of MSG and pepper flakes and lose his cool because the spice packet is winning? I've done it dozens of times. And it pushes you to the point where you decide to be the smart guy and bite the packet open, so you take a salty corner off and nothing happens. Nothing happens! You still can't tear the damn thing open. It just stretches and writhes in your impotent grasp until you finally lace into it with a cutting tool, but you've already wasted 10 minutes of not just your day but your soul's very existence on this plane, struggling to loose the vaguely chicken-like flavor of elevated blood pressure and the ennui of dinner for one.

Totally worth it.

I wish this wasn't the case. I wish I had the grip strength combined with the upper-body strength to not just lay waste to phone books (ask your parents what those used to be, young readers) but to tiny plastic satchels. But I don't. Humankind's ingenuity has made me a fool in the face of barely there shiny polymers.

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Red Sticker Ties


A sealed bag is your friend in the kitchen because that seal is holding in freshness. When that seal is broken, your fresh food hurls like a comet toward shitty staleness and butt flavor. So I get it. You get it. We all get it. And if we all get it, someone tell me who the fuck invented these little red sticky ties, like an asinine ribbon of tape stuck to itself around the top of a bag, usually containing some kind of bread product, that can never be undone by any alchemical process known to man?

The only way to circumvent these preposterous sticky ties is to jam a knife behind one and slice it in twain, much the same way you'd dispatch rebels who found their way from the jungle into your secure compound. We mean business, fuckers.

Sasha Radosavljevic/iStock
I leave crumbs behind as a warning to the other loaves.

Slicing it open is fine and all, but now you've got not only a busted tie but a hole in your bag. A hole through which freshness will bubble forth like precious oxygen being lost into space because someone left the screen door open.

In 1961 a guy named Charles Burford started using twist ties to close up bags of bread to help keep them fresh. The twist tie, a simple metal wire with a paper coating, is easy to tie and untie and is about as versatile as all get-out. It was invented in 1961! Put it on your bags! This shitty sticky plastic tie is usable one time and then ruins the bag. It's just volatile and horrible and infuriating in every way. And also less environmentally friendly than a twist tie. Metal and paper can biodegrade. That shit heel red plastic sticky tie? That's going to be sitting in the ground forever making everyone angry.

Twist ties, on the other hand, make me just as excited as this bread.

Is it shameful that I am so often bested by packaging? That I am so frustrated that I was motivated to write an entire article on the subject? No. This is a public service. This is for your benefit as much as mine. Don't you bend over and let the packaging industry penetrate you with plastic bumblefuckery. Demand better for yourself and for all of us. Demand paper that can be easily torn or shit that has a little strip you can tear. Or those plastic boxes they pack croissants in with the little nubby buttons you can push to lock and unlock. That shit's clever.

Learn more about packaging in 5 Reasons Packages Get Destroyed (Learned Working At UPS) and If Product Packaging Had To Tell The Terrifying Truth.

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