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  #1  
Old 11-13-2016, 04:59 PM
Lee Q. Lee Q. is offline
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Awful molded plastic and other heinous packaging

Why? Why are some products packaged in those awful plastic shell things that are nearly impossible to open without risking slicing oneself on the sharp plastic edges as you desperately hack into it with a pair of scissors?

Even worse, why are allergy and cold meds packaged in those little foil packs that often require you to "bend here" at the SHARP! again with the SHARP! corner and then painstakingly peel back the foil to get at a pill? When I'm sick and feeling lousy is the worst time to make me work so hard to get the medicine I need! There are the rare cases where you can just push the pill through the fairly thin foil, but the allergy meds I've gotten most recently do not allow for that. Trying to push the pill through will have you crushing the pill before it ever breaks through the foil. You gotta do the "bend the sharp corner then peel the foil" thing. I'm guessing part of it is wanting to package the pills individually, but why? And isn't there some other way than this kind of awful packaging? There must be reasoning involved. Why oh why? Or am I in the minority in struggling with trying to do the "bend and peel" thing sometimes?
  #2  
Old 11-13-2016, 05:04 PM
bobot bobot is online now
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I'm gonna go with theft deterrent.

Last edited by bobot; 11-13-2016 at 05:05 PM. Reason: word spellling
  #3  
Old 11-13-2016, 05:28 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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I'm gonna go with theft deterrent.
This is exactly it. It's used almost exclusively for small electronics (and electronics accessories, like headphones), which historically have had a high likelihood of shoplifting. It makes it harder for a thief to easily cut one out of its package while it's on the shelf.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 11-13-2016 at 05:29 PM.
  #4  
Old 11-13-2016, 05:54 PM
Lee Q. Lee Q. is offline
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
This is exactly it. It's used almost exclusively for small electronics (and electronics accessories, like headphones), which historically have had a high likelihood of shoplifting. It makes it harder for a thief to easily cut one out of its package while it's on the shelf.
I guess I can understand that, although is it really that easy to cut something out of, say, a cardboard without being noticed? For seasoned thieves maybe it's no big deal, but I'd think they'd figure out a way around the shell type pkgs too.

What about the meds though? They're sold in small enough boxes that one could easily slip the whole box into a pocket to steal. It's not like people are opening up bottles of loose pills and taking the pills, leaving the bottles, so anti-theft doesn't seem like it would apply in that case.
  #5  
Old 11-13-2016, 06:08 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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What about the meds though?
The packaging on OTC medicine isn't about discouraging shoplifting; as I understand it, it's about keeping the pills free from moisture. IME, private-label versions of meds are even more of a pain to get out of the packages than name-brand meds are -- I suspect that the private-label manufacturers are worried about every penny, and skimp on things that'd make the packages easier to use.
  #6  
Old 11-13-2016, 06:17 PM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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Originally Posted by Lee Q.;19779250)
What about the meds though? They're sold in small enough boxes that one could easily slip the whole box into a pocket to steal. It's not like people are opening up bottles of loose pills and taking the pills, leaving the bottles, so anti-theft doesn't seem like it would apply in that case.
Child proof. Pill packs are supposed to be difficult to open. Also, tamper proof. Pill packs have to show if there has been any tampering.

Around here, a full-service pharmacist will cut your pills out for you and put them in your pill box (you pay for that level of service). Or some of them have a service where somebody in a factory will consolidate all your daily pills into one well, foil covered and stamped with the day/date for use.

Last edited by Melbourne; 11-13-2016 at 06:17 PM.
  #7  
Old 11-13-2016, 06:22 PM
purplehearingaid purplehearingaid is offline
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OMG !! I hate trying to open a package of battery I am always afraid of having one less finger . I thought I heard something was going to be done about this b/c people were complaining it's to risky trying to open the damn packages you can cut your hand on plastic too. I finally came up with a way to open the package of batter easier , I cut the top off then pull the two sides apart .
  #8  
Old 11-13-2016, 06:57 PM
Lee Q. Lee Q. is offline
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Originally Posted by purplehearingaid View Post
OMG !! I hate trying to open a package of battery I am always afraid of having one less finger . I thought I heard something was going to be done about this b/c people were complaining it's to risky trying to open the damn packages you can cut your hand on plastic too. I finally came up with a way to open the package of batter easier , I cut the top off then pull the two sides apart .
I do that too, and I *try* to do it with other kinds of the molded plastic pkgs, but often it's impossible to just pull the sides apart (pretty easy with batteries).

To others' comments about meds, some of those things make sense but it still seems like other ways to deal with the issues. Like with moisture, isn't preventing moisture what those little packets are for in some medicine bottles? And child-proof, I've seen some child-proof bottle caps that *I* could barely get open myself...! I did not realize that some pharmacists will remove the pills from those foil packs for you, with or without a fee.

I suppose on balance it's a small thing and I'm not frothing angry about it or anything, but it sure is annoying.
  #9  
Old 11-13-2016, 08:27 PM
Mean Mr. Mustard Mean Mr. Mustard is offline
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...I finally came up with a way to open the package of batter easier , I cut the top off then pull the two sides apart .
I found this brand pretty easy to open.


mmm
  #10  
Old 11-13-2016, 08:28 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Utility knife and/or snap-blade knife;

I have them all over the place, no rummaging required.

They both slice through both blister pack (the hard shell plastic) and the backs of the pill packs.

The snap-blade give you 10 points per blade and the blades cost pennies each; utility knives last longer, but are more trouble to change (Stanly used to sell utility blades in wall-mount dispensers of 100 blades each. I bought 2. Still going,, but I may yet out-live them.

Also: snap blades are what paper hangers use to get wall paper into those really sharp corners.
  #11  
Old 11-13-2016, 09:01 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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Originally Posted by Lee Q. View Post
...
To others' comments about meds, some of those things make sense but it still seems like other ways to deal with the issues. Like with moisture, isn't preventing moisture what those little packets are for in some medicine bottles? And child-proof, I've seen some child-proof bottle caps that *I* could barely get open myself...! I did not realize that some pharmacists will remove the pills from those foil packs for you, with or without a fee.
...
The other reason to package pills individually is for overdose prevention.

I recall reading that people in the UK took to using acetaminophen / paracetamol / Tylenol as a suicide drug of choice. That's not good. It's also the case that it's easy to OD on the drug but with less than a fatal dose, producing massive liver damage and a long lingering painful next year or so before you finally expire.

So they altered the packaging so each pill or two-pill group was in a separate foil pack. Use of that drug for suicide went from epidemic to nearly zero.

Folks who were sufficiently desperate to want to kill themselves found that peeling open 10 or 15 little foil packets was just too much work. So they stayed alive and uninjured instead.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-13-2016 at 09:03 PM.
  #12  
Old 11-13-2016, 09:58 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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I've been using the can opener hack for a few happy years now!
  #13  
Old 11-14-2016, 01:23 AM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Oh yea, the pill problem.

Once again, the Web is the source of, and cure for, all things:

If you search, you will find bulk pills for dirt cheap, and in bottles, not foil-back blister packs.

I paid $20 for a bottle of 1000 (yes, 1,000) diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
If I out-live that bottle, gasp!, I will have wasted as much as $10.
  #14  
Old 11-14-2016, 02:03 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Lee Q. View Post
I guess I can understand that, although is it really that easy to cut something out of, say, a cardboard without being noticed? For seasoned thieves maybe it's no big deal, but I'd think they'd figure out a way around the shell type pkgs too.

What about the meds though? They're sold in small enough boxes that one could easily slip the whole box into a pocket to steal. It's not like people are opening up bottles of loose pills and taking the pills, leaving the bottles, so anti-theft doesn't seem like it would apply in that case.
For meds, it's probably going to be to prevent tampering and degradation.

For other products, it's not just just to make the item more physically awkward to steal - the other aspect of theft deterrent is that there may be electronic security tags inside the packaging - it makes sense from a security perspective to make these hard to remove (increases catch rate for theft)

Also, hard-to-open packaging keeps the stock in saleable condition - I've seen people unbox things in store to take a look at them, then inexpertly repack them, then take a pristine unopened one from the shelf and buy it. The one that they repacked is less saleable.

Last edited by Mangetout; 11-14-2016 at 02:04 AM.
  #15  
Old 11-14-2016, 05:01 AM
Crazier Catlady Crazier Catlady is offline
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Oh yea, the pill problem.

Once again, the Web is the source of, and cure for, all things:

If you search, you will find bulk pills for dirt cheap, and in bottles, not foil-back blister packs.

I paid $20 for a bottle of 1000 (yes, 1,000) diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
If I out-live that bottle, gasp!, I will have wasted as much as $10.
Not a very good idea. Most of those pills sold online are fakes and at best harmless. At worst they contain something that'll destroy your kidneys or something like that.
  #16  
Old 11-14-2016, 08:51 AM
ftg ftg is offline
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Pill packaging is quite inconsistent.

One OTC item I use comes in very small quantities in blister packs. Can't reliably open them without crumbling the pills. Or I can buy them larger quantities in bottles. No blister pack or anything. And for a lot less per pill.

Any excuse based on moisture, reducing easy ODing, etc. is out the window here.

I think making the package seem bigger is the main thing. People would be unhappy to buy a box and find a tiny bottle with 12 pills in it. Plus you can charge more per pill.

There might be some people who want to split up the packs and carry around just a pill or two instead of a bottle. But there are simple ways to do this with your own holder.
  #17  
Old 11-14-2016, 09:28 AM
misling misling is offline
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For things that come in plastic shells, I use a pair of tin snips. Meant to cut through thin metal, they nip right through that plastic as if it were paper.
Cut around the sides, lift off the plastic, no problem.
  #18  
Old 11-14-2016, 10:26 AM
BubbaDog BubbaDog is offline
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I've had one of these for a few years. It's always my go-to device for hard shell packages.

Worth the money if you ask me.

Last edited by BubbaDog; 11-14-2016 at 10:27 AM. Reason: Link messed up
  #19  
Old 11-14-2016, 01:42 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazier Catlady View Post
Not a very good idea. Most of those pills sold online are fakes and at best harmless. At worst they contain something that'll destroy your kidneys or something like that.
Actually, I trust the licensing authorities which regulate pharmaceuticals (Warning: BIG PHARMA!).
And, I'm guessing Amazon does some vetting.

But don't let such facts ruin a perfectly good bit of paranoia.
  #20  
Old 11-14-2016, 01:45 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Dueling cites!

Amazon Snap Blade knives

Dirt cheap
  #21  
Old 11-14-2016, 06:35 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Also these!

http://www.qvc.com/Kuhn-Rikon-Ultima...ct.K35518.html
  #22  
Old 11-14-2016, 06:54 PM
GaryM GaryM is offline
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Originally Posted by BubbaDog View Post
I've had one of these for a few years. It's always my go-to device for hard shell packages.

Worth the money if you ask me.
I've had one of those for years. It works very well indeed. I have them as christmas presents a few years back. Everyone said it was the best present they'd gotten that year.



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  #23  
Old 11-14-2016, 07:16 PM
Lee Q. Lee Q. is offline
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Ok that does it, I'm getting myself one of those handy Zibra things. I can at least mitigate a lot of my frustration over the shell type packages by using something other than regular scissors to open them! These were great suggestions, thanks all.

The meds will continue to drive me nuts for the most part. I don't want to buy loose, bulk meds online, just too iffy and even if it's as cheap as $20 for a whole pile, that's $20 I'd prefer not to throw away on placebo pills or worse!
  #24  
Old 11-14-2016, 07:34 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
And, I'm guessing Amazon does some vetting.
Why? It would only cut into their profits, and the profits of the sellers.
  #25  
Old 11-14-2016, 09:07 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Originally Posted by Lee Q. View Post
Ok that does it, I'm getting myself one of those handy Zibra things. I can at least mitigate a lot of my frustration over the shell type packages by using something other than regular scissors to open them! These were great suggestions, thanks all.

The meds will continue to drive me nuts for the most part. I don't want to buy loose, bulk meds online, just too iffy and even if it's as cheap as $20 for a whole pile, that's $20 I'd prefer not to throw away on placebo pills or worse!
Many Kirkland (Costco) brand OTC meds are sold through both Costco and Amazon. The same 600 count bottle of Benadryl generic you get at a Costco store, for example.
  #26  
Old 11-14-2016, 10:19 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
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on nat geos 100 inventions that changed the world they say clamshell packaging came about because of Walmart and Costco's volume of sales because they could hang 40 or 50 Walkman style cd players on a single rack peg rather than maybe a boxed 10 or so on a shelf
  #27  
Old 11-15-2016, 04:30 PM
dataguy dataguy is offline
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My dark, twisted fantasy:

Kidnap the CEO of a company that uses those unopenable packages.
Lock him in a room with pile of them.
Tell him he won't be released until he has opened every one of them--with his BARE HANDS!

Bwahahaha...
  #28  
Old 11-15-2016, 06:42 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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Manufacturers hate the packages too; they're expensive.

All you have to do is convince your fellow citizens to quit shoplifting and to quit opening and damaging boxes of product then putting them back on the shelf.

Solve that problem and CEOs will be paying you handsomely.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-15-2016 at 06:43 PM.
  #29  
Old 11-15-2016, 07:53 PM
Patx2 Patx2 is offline
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Imodium is a nightmare to open I think it is a dark and sinister plot by the manufacturer.
  #30  
Old 11-15-2016, 08:31 PM
Backwater Under_Duck Backwater Under_Duck is offline
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People forget about stuff. Hardware, electronic and otherwise, packed in those impossible to access packages are about theft. Medicines and other health products are sold that way because of the incredibly fiendish Tylenol Murders from the 1980s.
  #31  
Old 11-15-2016, 08:59 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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The tylenol murders introduced the sealed foil/plastic cover over the mouth of the bottles. Some went with the tape around the cap that must be removed to unscrew the cap.

The over-sized packaging from which the product is nearly impossible to extract without causing a commotion is anti-theft.

A couple of generations ago, only blankets, lanterns, pails - thing you cannot conceal were left in the open - everything else was in a case or on high shelves behind the cases. Think Pharmacy Window.
People would make a list - some would just hand it to the person behind the counter and wait while he/she pulled every item.
You couldn't steal much, but you rarely made an impulse buy, either.
IIRC, it was Woolworth (see Wiki) who came up with the idea to put small items out on the floor and allow customers to select whatever piqued their fancy.
A huge success - even if 10% (a high number) of product walked out, the sales tripling covered the loss.

Now we want to have the stuff sitting out shouting "Buy Me! Buy Me!" but resent the "shrinkage" - and now materials and machinery are dirt cheap.
Until recently, if you wanted to prevent theft, you put it in a box and sealed the box.
This has two huge problems: it costs lots of money to buy and seal the box, plus it took up space on transport AND display - making it doubly expensive.

A blister pack adds pennies to packaging costs, and takes up trivial shipping/storage space.

Hence: keep sharp blades around, it's going to be a long time...

Last edited by usedtobe; 11-15-2016 at 09:02 PM.
  #32  
Old 11-16-2016, 08:17 AM
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loperamide (Imodium) is another example of an OTC drug that's easy to find in both blister packs and bottles. It's also something that is really handy to have in an easy to open container when the need strikes.

I don't see how "Tylenol Murders" can explain so much stuff available in both package forms. Especially since Tylenol itself is generally available in bottles.
  #33  
Old 11-16-2016, 08:43 AM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is online now
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One use of blister packs that has me completely befuddled. Hardware stores here often have fasteners and allied bits (nut bolts screws drywall screws etc) in blister packs. Yet they will also have exactly the same item available loose right next to the packs on hooks. Just a drawer or small bucket full. Without fail the unit cost of the items in the blister pack is over double that of buying them loose. There is zero reason to ever buy the items in the pack. Yet they clearly sell.
  #34  
Old 11-16-2016, 10:14 AM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
One use of blister packs that has me completely befuddled. Hardware stores here often have fasteners and allied bits (nut bolts screws drywall screws etc) in blister packs. Yet they will also have exactly the same item available loose right next to the packs on hooks. Just a drawer or small bucket full. Without fail the unit cost of the items in the blister pack is over double that of buying them loose. There is zero reason to ever buy the items in the pack. Yet they clearly sell.
There is one reason to ever buy the items in the pack: you're lazy and can't be bothered to count out the number of nuts, bolts, or gewgaws you actually need from the bulk bin, and put them in the little envelope, and write the part number and the count on the outside of the envelope.

And that's the overwhelming majority of the hardware-buying customer base. Grab a package with >= the number of bits you need and go.

Perhaps you mean "zero good reasons", but that's not relevant. Bad reasons (like laziness or demand for convenience) are the reliable path to profits. Hence, the consumer's bad reason is the seller's great reason.
  #35  
Old 11-16-2016, 07:22 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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Those little bags are perfect for the 'weekend warrior" who doesn't know the difference between bolts and machine screws, has only a vague idea of what is required.
This is a classic of "put it out so people don't need to know the name".

If you want something to replace the "bolt" the lawnmower threw, you just look for "ummm... - THIS looks like it might work" - and you're out of the store while I am still counting and bagging my fender washes, self-tapping metal screws, etc.

See those little organizers with a few brads, a couple of machine screws, washers - all neatly packed in a cute little box - a "Starter Junk Drawer".
They go well with the cheap tool sets for apartment dwellers - those "tools" would last about two days of serious use, but: if you need to tighten something, hang a picture, replace the plate over a wall switch - good enough.

Last edited by usedtobe; 11-16-2016 at 07:23 PM.
  #36  
Old 11-16-2016, 08:09 PM
Lee Q. Lee Q. is offline
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Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
Many Kirkland (Costco) brand OTC meds are sold through both Costco and Amazon. The same 600 count bottle of Benadryl generic you get at a Costco store, for example.
Only Kirkland thing I've ever bought was a big thing of chocolate almonds. Don't judge! Not a Costco member but I bought them via Amazon no problem. I guess it makes sense since they sell everything else in bulk but it never occurred to me that a Costco or Sam's Club would sell ginormous containers of, say, allergy meds. I'd trust the Kirkland brand more than some no-name nebulous pharma company, so I just may check this out. Thanks for the tip.
  #37  
Old 11-16-2016, 08:10 PM
Lee Q. Lee Q. is offline
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Originally Posted by dataguy View Post
My dark, twisted fantasy:

Kidnap the CEO of a company that uses those unopenable packages.
Lock him in a room with pile of them.
Tell him he won't be released until he has opened every one of them--with his BARE HANDS!

Bwahahaha...
I like the cut of your jib.
No pun intended.
  #38  
Old 11-16-2016, 09:36 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Originally Posted by Lee Q. View Post
Only Kirkland thing I've ever bought was a big thing of chocolate almonds. Don't judge! Not a Costco member but I bought them via Amazon no problem. I guess it makes sense since they sell everything else in bulk but it never occurred to me that a Costco or Sam's Club would sell ginormous containers of, say, allergy meds. I'd trust the Kirkland brand more than some no-name nebulous pharma company, so I just may check this out. Thanks for the tip.
I know exactly the almonds you mean; they're worth every penny and calorie! If they ever start selling their cinnamon-coated almonds on Amazon I'm doomed.
  #39  
Old 11-18-2016, 05:09 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Originally Posted by BubbaDog View Post
I've had one of these for a few years. It's always my go-to device for hard shell packages.

Worth the money if you ask me.
Looked great so I bought two to use as stocking-stuffers this year. Durn things came in plastic packages.

  #40  
Old 11-18-2016, 05:38 PM
GaryM GaryM is offline
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Looked great so I bought two to use as stocking-stuffers this year. Durn things came in plastic packages.

Yeah, but after the first one is out you'll have some practice material.

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  #41  
Old 11-20-2016, 04:47 PM
OffByOne OffByOne is offline
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Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
I've been using the can opener hack for a few happy years now!
That works on packaging made completely of plastic. I usually just use a pair of heavy scissors to open them. Just the other day, I bought a wall wart (USB charger w/o the cord); it came in a bubble between a solid cardboard back and a cardboard front with a cutout for the blister. Sometimes, I can get a knife between the layers of cardboard, but if not, a sharp knife along the blister/cardboard interface will slice it open.

Still, a danger for all concerned.
  #42  
Old 11-20-2016, 05:20 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
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Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
I've been using the can opener hack for a few happy years now!
Inspired by the post above I finally watched that short youtube vid.

Funny to watch her use the can opener wrongly and struggle like mad to hold onto the package and to struggle at the end to separate the partly detached halves. Had she tried to actually extract the item from the clamshell she'd have failed at that too; the opening she made was real marginally sized.

She may have a good idea. I've not tried it yet. But she sure didn't demonstrate it's ease very effectively.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 11-20-2016 at 05:21 PM.
  #43  
Old 11-21-2016, 11:25 AM
misling misling is offline
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Since everybody's posting links, these are tin snips similar to what I use:
https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-35103-...ords=tin+snips

Basically very strong scissors that can cut thru thin metal, plastic, whatever.
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