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Amazon Launches "Frustration-Free Packaging" 353

Posted by kdawson
from the save-the-earth-and-keep-more-of-your-fingers dept.
mallumax notes Amazon's new Frustration-Free Packaging initiative. Over several years the retailer hopes to convince many of its suppliers to offer consumer-friendlier packaging. It's starting with just 19 products from Mattel, Fisher-Price, Microsoft, and Transcend. Until this program spreads to more products, better get one of these (ThinkGeek and Slashdot share a corporate overlord). From Amazon's announcement: "The Frustration-Free Package is recyclable and comes without excess packaging materials such as hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings, and wire ties. It's designed to be opened without the use of a box cutter or knife and will protect your product just as well as traditional packaging. Products with Frustration-Free Packaging can frequently be shipped in their own boxes, without an additional shipping box. Amazon works directly with manufacturers to box products in Frustration-Free Packages right off the assembly lines, which reduces the overall amount of packing materials used."
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Amazon Launches "Frustration-Free Packaging"

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  • by CMonk (20789) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:13PM (#25620665)
    How much cost does it add to a product to make it retail shelf friendly (theft, presentation)? Hopefully this will save us money down the line too.
    • by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:19PM (#25620703) Homepage
      Given that they're the exact opposite of retail B&M store packaging (easy to open and steal, likely shippable in it's own box and thus largely unlabeled) I'd say we're not going to see the disappearance of the hand-slashing blister pack. The "features" of a retail package exist because the necessities of retail in-person sales demand them. These necessities aren't going to disappear because Amazon's mail order business isn't bound by those necessities.
      • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:13PM (#25621181) Journal

        The odd thing is that even in situation where theft isn't an issue (like, behind the counter, or in a locked case) the products are still (often) clad in highly annoying, theft-proof, finger-slashing packaging.

        In any case, the manufacturer could still use user-friendly packaging, and the stores (were it an issue) could use those reusable plastic lock-boxes you sometimes see software or videos in, which are cheap enough to buy in quantity but still need to be opened with a key at the register. One could make a case that this is even more secure than blister packaging (the anti-steal rfid is inside the locked box, instead of glued on the outside) and since the boxes are reused, much waste is eliminated.

        • by taustin (171655) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:22PM (#25621267) Homepage Journal

          I don't think you realize how cheap those blister packs are, or the economy of scale in packaging everything a given manufacturer makes in the same kind of packaging (even if not the same size). Different kinds of packaging require different kinds of very expensive machines to handle, and that means different assembly lines that can't be easily converted to a product that uses the other kind of packaging. And so on.

          Plus, at the retail end, anything the requires a key to sell requires, if not a manager, at least a senior employeed who has been vetted more throughly than the average cahsier.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bluefoxlucid (723572)
            A magnetic lock isn't a key. Well, it's a key, but it's not something you keep locked up. You keep the keys to open the $2000 laptop cage with managers and loss prevention; but you can leave a software box key for easy-to-steal $40 software in a drawer at the cashier's desk, or wired (1/8 inch steel cable) to the cash register. The privilege to open a $40 anti-theft box is different from the privilege to open a cage locking up $2000 handheld computers.
            • by taustin (171655) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:42PM (#25621907) Homepage Journal

              I can tell you have never worked in retail management. Now you have to a) train all your cashiers not simple "call a manager/whatever to open the lockup case," but rather at least two (or maybe more) tiers of "if customer wants x, call manager, but if customer wants y, call Joe the Department Manager, but if customer wants z, call Barb the Head Cashier." You also have to train the manager, Joe, and Barb in all this, as well. And no training is perfect (and cashier and sales rarely make more than minimum wage, with expected effects on their skill set), so you also back up the lines with each error made. Plus, you now have multiple lockup cases, which a) require more management to keep functioning properly, and b) require yet more multiple levels of training, different for different employees, as to what goes in which case.

              Plus, you're now gow multiple sets of security systems, all different, to maintain, both physically, and as part of your security policy.

              All in an industry with a net profit margin under 5%, and often under 3%.

              If you've never run a retail store, you cannot even imagine the value of economy of scale, and consistenty in training across all employee positions. And few things cost you money faster than a stoppage at a cash register because the minimum wage cashier can't remember who has the key to the right lockup case (or even which lockup case the goods are in).

              • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @05:18AM (#25623687)
                At a local shopping center town (in American terms it's a big mall; in German terms it's a small town made up solely of warehouses) the music department uses hard plastic shells with built-in wireless chips (this system predated RFID). The cashiers there know how to open them - it's a function built into the register and works essentially like the one that removes the antitheft tag from clothes. There are no slowdowns and buying there only takes marginally more time than buying somewhere else. We're talking five seconds tops.

                As the trend goes to software being sold with nothing much besides the DVD we might very well just give people the jewel case and put an antitheft shell around it. And then we use bigger shells with the same locking mechanism for hardware. Bam, immediately training transfers between the music, software and hardware departments.

                If your cashiers are too stupid to know how to operate the detagging device on the register - what the hell are you doing emplying such morons? The fact that they're cheap doesn't mean they're cost-effective.
          • by Cow Jones (615566) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:15PM (#25621647)

            I'm wondering if there's a local aspect to the packaging strategy as well. In the EU, if a seller uses redundant packaging material, he has an obligation to either (a) take back all the packaging that isn't necessary to protect the product, or (b) pay what amounts to a monthly packaging tax. Most retailers still opt for (b), but at least in my country they're required to offer you a way to dispose of the excess packaging before you leave the store.

            As for Amazon, I've hardly ever seen them use too much packaging. Their packets are made of recycled carton and open by pulling on a paper strap. Everything inside is exactly how I want it. I *want* the DVD cases, and the toy boxes! Getting your Legos in a bag is quite different from getting them in a flashy designed box - six sides with pictures that can show you different ways of assembling the parts.

            They could get rid of the plastic wraps around the individual items, no big deal, but that's been done before, and is not news-worthy.

            By the way... sometimes there's stuff in those packages that you didn't order. I got small packets of gummy bears a few times, and a "complimentary book" (twice). All in all, I can't complain.

            CJ

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by hardburn (141468)

              By the way... sometimes there's stuff in those packages that you didn't order. I got small packets of gummy bears a few times, and a "complimentary book" (twice). All in all, I can't complain.

              Last time I ordered from Amazon, they sent a second box, even though I only ordered one thing. Puzzled, I opened it up, and found a PS3 controller recharger inside. Though the box had an address label for me on it, the invoice inside said it was actually for some guy in Tennessee. (Yes, I did do the honest thing and send it back.)

              Every time I order something from Amazon, they find a new and exciting way to screw it up.

        • I wish they'd take off that stupid tape thing that is on CD's....damned near impossible to get all off easily. Hell, I go to my Mom's to visit...and her CD's still have most of that crap on them.

          I've found so far, best way to get it off...is run a sharp knife under it cutting it on edge..leaving enough room to try to peel each half off in one motion.

          This stuff sucks when you try taking it off in the car to listen to it...

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by thegnu (557446)

            slightly flex the bottom hinge, and swing it out the front. This opens it up with the sticker as a hinge, and it peels off easily. I learned that from a guy who owns a record store.

            I hate that shit, too, though.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        I don't know about that. I have noticed both at my local Walgreen's and Wal Mart more and more items are simply having an empty box set on the shelf with a card holder in front of it with slips you take to the check out. I personally prefer it this way since you still can read the box while at the same time avoiding the "blister packs from hell" that are such a royal PITA to deal with. Not only is this more eco-friendly but for those of us with hand problems it makes the purchase a LOT easier to deal with.
    • by barfy (256323)

      Um... Pennies. It is a negligible cost of the product.

      This is mainly a giant win for Amazon, who doesn't have to spend for additional materials for packaging or shipping of single pick orders. As a matter of fact they are probably willing to give the manufacturer some sort of benefit from this. Slightly higher costs for instance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by v1 (525388)

      Most of the "welded plastic bubbles" are NOT shelf-friendly. They often have very little flatness on the bottom, are often approaching top-heavy, and if you view it from above you can see just how much space it wastes due to the front and/or back being rounded.

      Though if you are using hooks, they are slightly more convenient to deal with but you can't stack as many of them on a hook as you sometimes can boxes on a shelf.

      I personally can't stand needing to fight a package open. I wonder how many ER visits a

  • lawsuits... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eeyoredragon (674402) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:17PM (#25620689)
    Why is it people are sued for their coffee being too hot... but people haven't sued the crap out of corporations for packages that quite frankly maim their customers?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The package doesn't maim the customer, the customer maims themself. There is a proper way to open a package, sometimes it's not all that clear, but it is possible to open a package without causing bodily harm. It's not all that apparent, but quite a bit of thought goes into designing a package; sadly, the end-user isn't always the main concern.

      • Re:lawsuits... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eeyoredragon (674402) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:43PM (#25620905)

        You can dance around it all you like... but it doesn't change the end result. People every day are injured in some way by this "two plastic bubbles melted together" method of packaging. Because it practically requires bladed weapons to open.

        I have instructions on jars that tell me to twist open a cap... I'd say the whole twist cap thing is pretty self explanatory, yet people feel the need to put instructions on how to open jars.

        You know why there's no instructions on how to open a solid lump of plastic? Because it being able to be opened isn't on their mind at all... not that it isn't their "main concern". They'd put it in a solid lead bubble with a cytotoxic theft deterrent system, but sadly that costs them more money.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Waffle Iron (339739)

          Because it practically requires bladed weapons to open.

          That's the wrong tool for the job. Use a small pair of tin snips, and there's very little chance that you'll injure yourself. (Making packages that require tin snips to open is still stupid, though.)

        • by arminw (717974)

          ...Because it practically requires bladed weapons to open....

          And that is so terrible? A sharp pair of scissors is quite good for this and reasonably safe for anyone that doesn't have two left hands.

          • by HUADPE (903765)
            You are aware that scissors are a pair of shearing blades, right. Scissors, tin snips, and other shears must have the property of a hard sharp edge in order to do their job. Good scissors can cut you if you touch the blade. Also, the plastic itself becomes dangerous when cut. That stuff can be quite sharp.
            • by arminw (717974)

              ...the plastic itself becomes dangerous when cut...

              well yes, but then LIFE itself is dangerous. You will never get out of it alive! Honestly, if you don't face greater danger every day than cutting yourself on a piece of plastic, or even on a piece of paper, you are living a very sheltered life. I DARE you to get out of your mothers basement and RUN across the street. The odds are pretty good you will make it, IF you look both ways first! This packaging thing is a non-issue for most people.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by adamruck (638131)

          I'd say you are the one dancing around the issue.

          -Yes the blister packs require a knife or scissors to open.
          -Yes it is annoying.
          -Yes if you are clumsy or not paying attention or just plain dumb you might cut yourself or damage the product.

          If you screw up, perhaps next time you will be more careful. Consider it a life lesson.

      • Re:lawsuits... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:09PM (#25621139) Journal

        The package doesn't maim the customer, the customer maims themself(sic). There is a proper way to open a package, sometimes it's not all that clear, but it is possible to open a package without causing bodily harm. It's not all that apparent, but quite a bit of thought goes into designing a package; sadly, the end-user isn't always the main concern.

        That's the defence that Detroit used to fight the safety features that they were dragged kicking and screaming into introducing by Ralph Nader. Initially they blamed the victims instead of taking responsibility for producing dangerous products.

        I'm sorry, but packaging should protect the product AND be possible to access safely. If there's no obvious way to use it and avoid injury, the designer is at fault.

        There is no way that I have discovered to get into a clamshell without running the risk of serious injury either from the metal blade that I have to use to cut it, or the plastic blade that is formed when using scissors and always ends up pointing into the path of my oncoming hand.

        Whoever invented plastic clamshells should be sentenced to an eternity of sitting in a dark room opening one of his creations after another.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Firehed (942385)

        I've paid for tools specifically for opening blister packs, and the net result is only that I do less damage to myself rather than none at all. Short of wearing work gloves and safety glasses and then taking an angle grinder to the packaging, I can't think of a better way.

    • Re:lawsuits... (Score:4, Informative)

      by martinw89 (1229324) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:46PM (#25621449)

      Why is it people are sued for their coffee being too hot... but people haven't sued the crap out of corporations for packages that quite frankly maim their customers?

      The ladder is frivolous in comparison. The coffee case has largely been misrepresented in popular media. Liebeck, the plaintiff, suffered third degree burns on her thighs, buttocks, and genitals. She required 8 days of hospitalization, skin grafts, and $11,000 in medical bills. Liebeck first sought to settle out of court for $20,000 to cover said bills. When McDonalds countered with a $800 offer, Liebeck took the case to court.

      There have been frivolous lawsuits, definitely true. The scalding coffee was not. Other coffee vendors around the city were, at the highest temperature, 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than McDonald's coffee.

      Main source. [reedmorganpc.com]

    • Re:lawsuits... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816) on Monday November 03, 2008 @11:07PM (#25621603) Homepage Journal

      That woman who sued over hot coffee was not simply whining about scalding her hands. She went to the hospital with 3rd degree burns. Probably the coffee had been reheated in a microwave. One hazard of heating liquids this way is that you can make them superhot [wikipedia.org] without causing them to boil.

      Anyway, we both know that people's hatred for blister packs has nothing to do with the risk of personal injury. (I have several scars on my hands from cutting vegetables or slicing bagels. Not one from opening a blister pack.) It's the extreme frustration you experience while you try to cut away enough plastic to get at the contents. Unfortunately "frustation" aint tortable.

  • by amRadioHed (463061) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:19PM (#25620701)

    "Laceration-Free Packaging" as far as that cursed clamshell packaging goes. I hate that crap, good riddance.

  • by NonSequor (230139) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:19PM (#25620709) Journal

    I never accidentally cut the cord of something while opening the packaging with a pair of scissors.

    Knowing that you've accidentally ruined something worth $50 or more is a horrible feeling.

    • by afidel (530433) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:27PM (#25620777)
      Turn in your geek card, a soldering iron and heat shrink tubing will fix any power cord from 28AWG to about 2 gauge.
      • by NonSequor (230139) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:43PM (#25620901) Journal

        I can't help it! I'm a discrete math major. I'm like 5 layers away from the soldering iron!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've always wondered, with someone being told to turn in a geek card for something trivial in nearly every thread on Slashdot, where do they all go? Are they redistributed to approved candidates, or is there just a pile of them somewhere foretelling the eventual extinction of the card-carrying geek?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moosesocks (264553)

        ....if you're doing that with 2 gauge, it's going to take a hell of a lot of solder and heatshrink to hold it together.

        Seriously. If you're working with cables that carry enough power to mandate a conductor with a 1/4" diameter, let the pros take care of it. You'd also likely want something a bit thicker than heatshrink to insulate it.

        (A typical extension cord is ~14AWG = 0.06")

      • by Firehed (942385) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:40PM (#25621403) Homepage

        If he has a knife sharp enough to accidentally cut through 2 gauge wire, we should probably let him keep his geek card.

        • Sawsall? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by maz2331 (1104901)

          What about the numbnuts out there that use a Sawsall to open the damn things? I must admit to being tempted, but decided prudence mandated scissors instead.

  • by Scutter (18425) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:21PM (#25620721) Journal

    *sniff* I never thought the day would come!

    Seriously, as a parent, I've seen packaging on kids toys get progressively worse. Not just ultrasonic-sealed plastic clamshells, but toys attached to cardboard boxes with dozens (sometimes over a hundred) wire twist-ties and highly strecthy rubber-band-like straps.

    It took me over an hour just to de-package ONE toy for my kid last Christmas. Seriously, there is no excuse for such obnoxious packaging. I, for one, will be keeping a close eye on this initiative and it will likely make me look at Amazon first for my purchases.

  • Now the next thing they need to research is child-proof frustration-free packaging...
    • No, they don't. Children don't have credit cards and therefore can't shop at Amazon without adult supervision.
  • Shoplifting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:26PM (#25620769) Homepage

    The current trend in packaging was for two reasons. It allowed the consumer to actually *see* the produce he/she was getting. And it reduced shoplifting. Big box retailers (rhymes with ball-cart) pushed for these even though the consumer didn't want it.

    Fortunately, sites like Amazon can now pressure manufacturers to go back to the more traditional packaging. Maybe I'll finally be able to wrap birthday gifts without needing an additional box/bag. And on Christmas morning, my hands won't be sore from opening 200 packages, cutting wire-ties and tie-wraps, and dealing with having to unscrew the frickin' battery compartments.

    • If they went for the simpler packaging what would be there to help stop theft in the shipping warehouse, or on the UPS loading dock.

      Hell, I just got an order from a retailer (clothing), and the box was clearly opened and retaped... when I opened it and counted the items, it turned out that 2 were missing. So they fell off the truck, one way or another.

      Having a relative who works for UPS, I know for sure that this stuff happens all the time. When they load, they punch into random packages, and see what they

      • by blincoln (592401)

        SO anyway to get to the the point, I'm all for the more secure packaging.

        Me too. Amazon's motive here seems like a good one, but there is no way I'm going to order items shipped in easily-identifiable, easily-opened packaging. It's too much of a hassle to deal with returns/wait for the delivery window to expire if someone steals some/all of the contents.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          I've ordered several items online that have been delivered in their normal, decorated boxes with a shipping label slapped on. Three of these are TFT screens, all have a big picture of a TFT on the side of the box.

          I've also ordered flash drives etc from eBuyer, which have come loose (sometimes in an envelope, sometimes in a gigantic box, but with nothing more than a small plastic bag around the drive).

          Maybe the dodgy couriers need to fire their dishonest employees (possibly put more CCTV in the depot, and tr

      • by Bios_Hakr (68586)

        My only answer for that is that you need to hold your shipping company accountable. Clear packaging and tie-wraps were never intended to stop theft in the transit system or warehouse theft. They are there to stop casual shoplifting. Clothing was never protected with the clear packaging.

        To be specific, what we are talking about here is when (mostly) kids' toys come in the clear, celloplastic coverings or half-embedded in cardboard. The celloplastic is hard to open and frequently damages the opener or the

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:28PM (#25620783) Homepage

    Now Amazon needs to do this for DVDs. After all, Amazon doesn't have a shoplifting problem.

    Given that DVDs are a shock-insensitive waterproof object shipped inside a rigid case, they should be mailed with far less packaging. A manila envelope would be sufficient. Most of the perimeter seals, "Security Device Enclosed", and shrink wrap could be dispensed with. One seal that's broken on opening would be enough to identify packages that have been opened.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ITEric (1392795)
      If the companies do decide to address DVD packaging, I hope they do something about the little round disk retainers inside the package. I know the idea is to keep the DVD from falling out when you open the case, but do they have to make the retainers so difficult to release that one worries about breaking the disk trying to get it out?
    • You ever ordered a box set or one of those DVDs packed in cardboard boxes?
      Pack that in envelope only and you can look forward to scratches, dents and tears on the boxes.

      Special edition (read - more expensive) tin boxes are even more sensitive.
      Bumping those around even in a cardboard box can lead to dents on the boxes.

      DVDs are bought for collections or as gifts. Or for resale. For watching there are cinemas, TV, downloads and torrents.
      In all cases - even the slightest damage or sticker mark on the box is a B

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:10PM (#25621149) Journal

      ... that ruin the clear plastic cover over the artwork when you try to remove them.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Given that DVDs are a shock-insensitive waterproof object shipped inside a rigid case, they should be mailed with far less packaging. A manila envelope would be sufficient.

      A tyvek sleeve in an ordinary envelope is sufficient to mail a DVD. That's how Blockbuster Online mails theirs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:29PM (#25620789)

    You know what I mean. Plastic snack bags where the tops are fused together so tightly they're near impossible to open. When you apply the force required to get the top open then the cheap plastic bag splits all the way down to the bottom. Chips/pretzels spill out. Oh joy.

    • MOD PARENT UP!

      Why I'm treated like a criminal when all I want to do is dust the front of my Sephiroth t-shirt in Cheetos orange is something I'll never know!
    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:06PM (#25621115)
      Exactly. And how about yogurt packaging that doesn't spray your shirt with yogurt when you start peeling off the top? How about soda cans that you don't have to push the opening (that rats were peeing on back at the warehouse) into the soda itself? How about those fancy bottle caps that you are supposed to pull open and closed with your teeth so you only need one hand, except that there is no opening for air to enter the bottle, so when you start drinking you create a tug of war for soda between your mouth and the vacuum inside the increasingly flattened bottle? The list is endless...
      • by xaxa (988988)

        Exactly. And how about yogurt packaging that doesn't spray your shirt with yogurt when you start peeling off the top? How about soda cans that you don't have to push the opening (that rats were peeing on back at the warehouse) into the soda itself? How about those fancy bottle caps that you are supposed to pull open and closed with your teeth so you only need one hand, except that there is no opening for air to enter the bottle, so when you start drinking you create a tug of war for soda between your mouth and the vacuum inside the increasingly flattened bottle? The list is endless...

        1) Turn the yogurt around, then it'll spray the other way. No longer your problem!
        2) You already have a choice for soda -- buy the bottled version.
        3) Squeeze the bottle. Release to allow air back in.

      • How about soda cans that you don't have to push the opening (that rats were peeing on back at the warehouse) into the soda itself?

        Perhaps, but be aware that rodent urine is probably more fit for consumption than the soda.

  • I haven't shopped Amazon all that much recently (used to be a big customer, but just slowly drifted awa) but this will bring me back if it gets widespread.

    As a parent of two children under 5, I believe the person who invented those wire-wrap fasteners should be shot, drawn, quartered, and hung from the neck until dead. In whichever order is most convenient.

    • how about twist-tied and rubber banded inside a plastic & cardboard package filled with red army ants.

  • by Krishnoid (984597) * on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:32PM (#25620811) Journal
    I heard this product [myopenx.com] mentioned elsewhere. It's inexpensive enough that I'm thinking of buying one and asking a cashier to keep it under their counter at a local electronics store I frequent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fez (468752) *

      I have a couple of these and they really do work well. Between that and a pair of cutters for wire ties, I can open almost anything in under a minute. Including convoluted child toy packaging.

      Toy packaging these days is far, far worse than the plastic clamshell. Dozens of industrial strength wire ties, miles of tape, plastic screwed into other plastic through cardboard, plastic pull-tabs, and obnoxiously shaped boxes. They make me pine for simple hand-slicing clamshells.

    • Also called aviation snips -- they'll go through the packaging, and they'll clip the wires like they're butter.

      Don't go for the heavy duty models -- they have smaller jaws, and aren't really needed for going through plastic.

    • What about a pull strip cutter? Anyone remember cigarette packs? They came in cellophane wrappers with a red strip that you pulled to cleanly cut the packaging open. Surely the same idea could be scaled up to open any sort of packaging?
    • Call me paranoid, but I have the slight suspicion that the guys who invented this product are the same ones that sell clam packaging machines.

      Let's hope not, but at least we can be sure that clam package openers are an artificial need in the same way antiviruses are an artificial need for Windows systems.

  • Better opener (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thaelon (250687) on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:33PM (#25620819)

    That thing on thinkgeek is a piece of crap. It's a flimsy knife with a weird handle. This is much more effective [amazon.com]. And cheaper (since you get three). And you can cut metal with them. They're called tin snips. AKA, the manly alternative to the overpiced ones designed by and for women [amazon.com].

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anpheus (908711)
      Isn't it slightly disparaging that there exists widespread, near universal packaging that requires an implement that cuts metal to properly open?
      • by Anpheus (908711)
        You know, someone is going to word nazi me and say, "Disparaging is the wrong word" but I meant toward the consumer, hope that clarifies it. It's insulting to the people receiving the product.
  • I recently purchased a new XBox controller. The packaging was so ridiculous that I ended up slicing my finger and started bleeding - not from my mishandling of the scissors or razor blade but from the plastic packaging itself.

    I mean seriously, I get the appeal of the plastic sealed packaging for retailers. It's light, and see through, usually hangs in a display properly, and very, very shoplifter resistant. But what about a nice cuboid cardboard box with a plastic see-through window and some high-quali
  • by ASimPerson (138798) <asim@asi[ ]b.org ['mwe' in gap]> on Monday November 03, 2008 @09:56PM (#25621033) Journal
    The Space Devil [penny-arcade.com] will not be pleased.
  • by syousef (465911) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:18PM (#25621229) Journal

    I'd quite like to know that shiny new 8GB SD card is actually brand new and not returned or refurbished goods.

    Just how hard do people find it to use a knife or scissors anyway? Have schools gotten so over cautious that you now need a college education before you're permitted anywhere near safety scissors?

    • by Valdrax (32670) on Monday November 03, 2008 @10:27PM (#25621299)

      I've never injured myself with the tool used to open hard plastic clamshell packaging before.

      I have, however, had my fingers or hands cut open numerous times by the cut, torn, or ripped edge of the plastic itself when the packaging finally gave way to my cutting implement. I tell you, Boy Scout training on knife safety when cutting wood or animal skins does Jack to teach you about how to open nightmare packaging.

      Happens with scissors, knifes, box cutters, or whatever. It's the plastic that scratches me up. I'll admit to being a klutz, but that style of packaging is just an irritating menace.

    • Clamshell packaging is not proof that the package came from the manufacturer as new. Returns can be sent back to the manufactuer and reclamshelled same as the originals, your only defense is truth-in-labeling laws.
  • This could spell bad news for the action figure collectors if it's possible to easily open the packaging without any damage - how will traders & buyers know the figure genuinely has never been removed from it's packaging?

    *nonchalantly whistles whilst trying to hide his extensive ReBoot collection* (where do you think my user ID came from)
  • It's about time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me&hotmail,com> on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @08:41AM (#25624551) Homepage Journal

    I will NEVER forget being forced to buy a CAT5 cable while on travel once upon a time. Upon returning to my room with it I was faced with one of those damned impossible to open packages. Thanks to TSA I had no knife, no scissors, no normal way to slash open the damned package. I ended up sawing it open on the metal frame of the bed like a madman! Truly disturbing to get so desperate to open one of the damned things.

    I really miss cardboard packaging and I hope that Amazon's example starts a trend...

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