SEALED FOR YOUR PROTECTION: The Shrink-wrap Conspiracy

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The other day my mom told me she’d called a company about a spin-brush toothbrush she’d recently purchased because there was no way to extract the toothbrush from its package without causing major injury to her person.   Mom has arthritis in her hands, so opening jars and other lids can present a challenge.  Still, she has developed methods for dealing with this.  In fact, that’s one of the reasons she married my father–his strong grip.  One of many reasons, but at this point in her life, having a husband with a strong grip is definitely a plus.  Still, she has figured out all sorts of ways to overcome the limited flexibility in her fingers.  When encountering a difficult package, mom whips out her trusty scissors or rubber grip, and can usually negotiate the product out of its plastic overwrap–called shrink-wrap.  However, no matter what method she employed(short of diffusing fireworks), this toothbrush wouldn’t budge.  Using a finger bloodied in the heat of the extraction battle, mom wisely called the company.  The cheerful voice on the other end of the line asked, “How can I help you?”  “Well, I’m having trouble getting my new toothbrush out of its package without needing a blood transfusion.”  “I’m sorry for your trouble, we’ve had lots of problems with that particular brush.  Let me send you a coupon for another toothbrush that’s easier to open.”  Within a few days the company did indeed send mom the coupons.  Sure enough, the new toothbrush was much easier to retrieve.  And, thankfully, no blood was shed during the process.

I’ve had my own encounters with shrink-wrap and other plastic coverings, most notably DVD covers.  How do you take those things off without damaging the contents, or your fingers?  I’m still trying to work out the mechanics of this maneuver.  By the way, it should be noted that whenever something is shrink-wrapped, the label usually reads, “Sealed For Your Protection.”  Based on my and others’ experiences, this surely means you’d be better off never purchasing/opening the product in the first place–unless you’ve made a sizable contribution to your personal blood bank account, and have an experienced paramedic standing by.   Perhaps, “Enter At Your Own Risk”, is more accurate.

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