The subtitle for this column is, “and the tools we use to outsmart or overcome them.” Reclosable and easy-open are two word-phrases that I’ve learned aren’t self-fulfilling.
Because this is gift-giving season, there’s a lot of packaging to be dealt with. This won’t exactly be a PSA, more like a pet peeve or a venting session.
My first question is, for whom are these packages easy to open and/or reclose? Identify yourselves. What secret skill is it that you’ve got, that I don’t?
Second question. Who identified this packaging as easy to open and reclose? It must have been easy for the creators of the packaging.
Let’s just all assume we received the gift or product inside said packaging with gratitude and joy and move on to my problem with certain types of packaging. Some of this packaging is from everyday stuff we use from foodstuffs to household appliances, toiletries, and so on.
Everything comes inside some package or another. The recycling, reuse, or repurposing of this packaging is another whole subject for another time.
As to easy-open packaging, there is a certain frozen food delivery company from whom we buy, well, meatballs. These are the basis of one of my husband’s Sunday-special meals. However, he always calls upon me to open the easy-open packaging with my special ninja package-opening skills in just this one instance. This ability is akin to what I will call the “if mom can’t find it, it can’t be found” skill-set that we moms seem to develop.
Oh, and the other one that really gets my goat, are the easy-open and storage packages of 24 AA batteries from a certain discount store. Short of using a blow torch, chainsaw, cutting torch, my teeth (don’t tell my dentist or hygienist), or some such “Mission Impossible” move, I find them impenetrable let alone progress far enough to store the batteries in them.
When I’ve finished opening those battery packages, the remains look like a mountain lion has just had lunch from yours or my dumpster. It’s possible that I may have resorted to my ancestral hunter-gatherer ways of using a big bad rock to pound that package to smithereens. Or better yet, I’m an ingenious contestant on the television show, Naked and Afraid (where this little lady would be neither naked nor afraid, but determined to work the tools I’ve got to make shoes, as my first priority).
In our household, we resort to the wire cutters pretty frequently when scissors aren’t tough enough and shrub pruners aren’t sharp enough to open stuff like those battery packages. But even the wire cutters won’t open them.
I’ve made many mistakes in my life and one of them might be that there is some obvious formula for opening those battery packages which is obscure to me and has gone completely over my head, when I’ve made a big deal about it now, publicly. For example, if I must confess, last week’s column has a grammatical error that a young friend, corrected me on, many years ago, when he was about eight years old and I, a grownup.
The error is between cursive(ly), the written-script, and cursorily, which means flippantly. Some people never learn, my friend. I’m sorry. Maybe this packaging thing is all my problem and doesn’t affect ya’ll.
Reclosable packaging is another problem for me. Usually, these things are some variation of a Ziploc bag. Personally, I don’t care for Ziploc because unlike most zippers, they don’t zip, to my liking anyway. I like slide-lock because they slide generally like a well-oiled machine. Unless they’re old and have been reused many times and they’re just broken. It’s time to throw them away then.
But Ziploc whether it’s a single zip or the new-fangled double zip, can rarely be closed, by me anyway. I just can’t seem to line up the male-female thing, and I know how to do this.
When my husband and I find it truly impossible to close those things, he resorts to his preferred closure, an old-fashioned wooden clothespin. I fall back on my old standby the twist-tie, some of them four inches long so that they truly close without one having to be a Hemingway kitty with an extra digit to help out.
Having the right tools for any job makes the job easier. It was the 1950s when labor-saving devices in the household became the thing. And the 1825 English Bankrupts Act, concept of “tools of the trade,” along with our own contemporary tax expense category, “tools,” have monetized the use of tools in today’s culture.
As a people, we’ve come a long way, or have we? Haven’t we got a tool for just about anything we must contend with?
I will admit, over the last few weeks, I’ve more than once exclaimed how grateful I am to have obtained some kitchen tools which have made all the difference in my baking tasks. For decades I’ve turned out some pretty delectable cookie treats using rudimentary tools. But, what a difference a few particular tools, like silicone baking mats and a tiny cookie scoop, have made, transforming my baking experience into something a little warmer and fuzzier than a job.
But, since I’m no tool engineer, I’ve fallen short of possessing the tools to adequately understand how to reclose those Ziploc bags that my husband can’t even open in the first place. Who knew when I got that Master’s degree and my husband, his PhD, that what we really needed was to have mastered the tool subject of household engineering so that we could reclose those dumb packages?
Merry Christmas, and like our cats I hope you enjoy your packaging as much as the contents of those boxes and bags, underneath the ribbons and bows and colorful paper.