How are impenetrable clamshell packages SUPPOSED to be opened?

Having struggled all morning with the packaging for a flash memory stick, fearing that my flesh might be sliced open by a hard plastic edge, I am given to wonder exactly how manufacturers expect buyers to open these things. It seems to me that before these clamshell things started up a few years ago, every product packaging came with an obvious method for opening – slide the flap out, tear along the perforation, whatever. What’s the thinking behind this style of packaging? Are we supposed to carry a special tool or heavy-duty shears with us at all times in case we want to open a package for something just purchased?

I use scissors , can’t find any other way. Amazon is starting an effort to tell all the people who they distribute products from to move away from those packages.

Well, they sell gadgets that are made to open the packages, though I don’t think those devices existed until long after clamshell packaging came to be.

I am amazed that there hasn’t yet been any kind of lawsuit (or at least one that made the news) from someone who sliced a tendon trying to open a package. I suppose the packaging industry could be held liable for not providing any means of opening the package, thereby encouraging folks to use razor knives and the like.

They are packaged this way because of shoplifting. The packages need to be too bulky to be easily slid into clothing and can’t have a tear-strip or anything equivalent because people would just tear them open in the stores.

Manufacturers and stores are not the problem. Shoplifters are.

I have a cheap two-inch gadget that has an almost invisible ceramic blade that cuts right through the packaging. It’s a shame that I need to have this but I understand why. It’s to protect me from the people trying to steal us blind.

ETA: It’s none of those things on the Amazon link. And Amazon can ask for special packaging because it doesn’t have to worry about shoplifters. But that means two sets of packaging and production and materials and workers for the companies, so it’s not a universal solution.

In a similar thread somebody suggested using can openers.

I’ve seen some of these in stores.

Do you know how they come packaged?

I do believe that’s a strong example of Irony, no?

Lee Valley tools, a company based here in Ottawa, makes, amongst other really cool things, medical tools. They took their Crash scissors and modified them to not include the protective nub - making them perfect for clamshells (amongst other things) due to the strength and angle of the blades. And they have a policy of never selling anything in clamshells - including the scissors.

You mean just use a can opener around the edge? Interesting. I’ll have to give that a shot. (BTW, searching for “can opener” on yields a pretty grotesque painting as the first hit.)

I usually just go at it with a serrated bread knife, cutting through the shortest dimension.

Instituting a system that’s actually hazardous to customers hardly seems like a reasonable solution.

Also unreasonable is instituting packaging without simultaneous development of an opening tool. As others have noted, the packages were used for years before the opening tools were available.

I used scissors. Didn’t you?

That would make it too convenient for shoplifters.

containers almost by definition have to be invented BEFORE the invention of the container opener…it only makes sense that way.

Tin cans and tin can openers as an example

Heavy kitchen shears are my weapon of choice.

I have ruined a new Playstation controller by using a utility knife to open the plastic box and accidentally severing the cord. :smack:

Yup. I almost cried with joy when I tried it and discovered that a regular “finger cranked” can-opener (like this) will open those things with stunning ease.

As to the OP, I have no idea how they’re meant to be opened. Before the can opener, I used to create a totem of my own blood and hair, and sacrifice it upon a dark altar to the elder gods, while moaning the five unspeakable incantations. And even that only worked about half the time.

It isn’t the unavailability of the tool that’s annoying - kitchen shears generally seem to work, as do a number of other things. It’s requiring a tool in the first place that’s annoying. I wouldn’t waste money buying a special tool for this - I wouldn’t like having to go find my special clamshell opener any more than I like having to fetch the kitchen shears.

As for shoplifting, one of the touted solutions is RFID, which comes with its own range of problems, customer acceptance being one of them. Nevertheless, it’s still being explored. Maybe they can make a deal with us - go ahead and stick RFID transponders on everything we buy, but get rid of the surplus packaging. That latter point might allow the manufacturers and retailers to recover the costs of the RFID tagging, which is another of the sticking points.

This evokes the issue of personal responsibilty and the litigious nature of our citizens. If you don’t know which tool to use safely in that situation (a pair of scissors works fine) and if you use a more dangerous tool (e.g. razor blade) unsafely and you cut yourself, it is not the fault of the company that sold you the package. Suppose you decided to open the package with dynamite, and you injured yourself. Lawsuit against the company? Experience, a degree of common sense, education and intelligence, not law, should be our protectors. If you’re looking for some degree of corporate responsibility, manufacturers would probably be helpful to those who clearly need it, by suggesting the use of scissors to open their packages. Although I can see the liablity-crazed lawyers of some company authoring a cautionary label: “Caution, do not use dynamite or other explosives to open this package, as that can be hazardous. If using a box cutter, do not hold box cutter on lap and carve toward self. If using a shotgun to open package, point shotgun away from self to avoid harm. Not responsible for unwise use of opening devices.” Sheesh

I have had best results with a small saw BTW (the kind you use for small scale woodworking). Much less likely to injure yourself than with knives or scissors.

Between these clamshells and the ridiculous number of stickers surrounding CDs and DVDs I wish they’d just charge me directly for the costs of shoplifting and quit wasting my time with this garbage.

Not if you sell the opening tool in a clamshell container.

I don’t want your garbage, vendors! I just want the product!

Clamshell packaging would be fine if it was treated like any other anti-theft device and removed upon purchase. Otherwise it is a cost to me and you bet your ass I take that cost into account when buying any product. Is it worth it to prevent a few cases shoplifting if it also prevents selling your product to legitimate customers?

Seriously, I am sick of companies selling me their garbage, not to mention incarcerating their product within an impenetrable fortress of hazardous material.

They already do that.

Why should I pay for your convenience when I don’t buy CDs?

If you buy that many, why don’t you have a system all worked out and carry it with you?