Product packaging - best , worst, most pointless?

Is the packaging industry dominated by muppets on acid?

I buy some blank videotapes. The pack of 5 tapes is shrink-wrapped, without any little ‘pull here’ tab designed to grant access to the treasures within. I hack my way through this, only to find that each individual tape is also shrink-wrapped, with glued seals either end and no ‘rip here’ tab. I need claws, talons or a razor knife to make progress.

I bought a toaster. Nazi packaging gone mad! The amount of armour-thick cardboard, polystyrene, padding, foam rubber, plastic ‘petals’ and pre-moulded Kevlar impact protection tiles could have filled my kitchen. (OK, I made up the Kevlar bit).

Sometimes, I can sort of see the point. Food needs to be kept fresh, delicate hardware needs protection in transit. But no doubt about it, we do live in an age of stupid packaging.

Any examples - good, bad or pointless? {As this is an international forum, remember not all brand names travel. You might like to add what the actual product is, just in case).

I think the toy manufacturers are in cahoots with the twist tie and tape people. Almost every toy we get TT comes bolted down on a cardboard with twist ties, or worse those plastic pull tie thingys (what are they called) that you need scissors to cut open. Then said ties are taped down and everything is of course covered with a hard plastic shell.

I know they do this so that the toys will look nice for display, but c’mon do they think the kids will stop wanting toys because they aren’t attractively presented?

Also, the boxes for most computer software are way too big. Couldn’t they just have a fact sheet at the store that you could read to find out all the info on the box and just give you the CD and manual?

That super sticky cellophane strip on the top of CD’s is most annoying. (Polite Version)

I don’t like the new cookie packaging. It’s way to noisy.

All that crinkling, crackling sounds I make when I try to stick my hand down to the bottom row is to loud. I want the old corrugated carboard stacking sytle to come back.

The recent trend in DVD packaging (at least on Amaray “keep cases”) in that annoying strip ON ALL THREE OPEN SIDES!!! Also, most DVD’s have an additional security strip INSIDE the box! I recently purchased a CD with a security strip UNDERNEATH the CD tray! I had to disable the stupid thing to get it out. Of course, I could’ve left in in there, but the tray was clear.

I’ll second the software over-packaging thing.

It used to be bad enough getting those stupid AOL disks in the mail and half the stuff you order from a catalog.

Now they send the crap out in little boxes. Just what we need - more trash.
Also, anything that comes in that plastic shell that’s been spot-welded together. I need a damn blowtorch to free the contents!

I’ll agree that CD’s have to have the worst packaging, especially when there is no little strip you can tear off to open it.

The best packaging idea though has to go to Altoids. Man, you gotta love that little tin.

OKay, me being a future Packaging Scientist, i feel that i must say something to defend my guild of choice.

  1. All that cardboard, all that padding, all that shock absoarbant produt is there for a reason. Would you rather have all that stuff and a toaster that works, or some of that stuff and a broken toaster.

  2. About the cd and dvd wrapping, my father is in the industry so i know first hand. It is for Secrurity. Plain and simple, they make it hard to open, so you cant just open the cases in the stare and walk out with a free CD.

  3. For the twist ties and toys, it has a bit to do with security, but more to do with ankle-biters. Its so that kids don’t take the product out of the box while mommy is looking the other way and brake it.

  4. The oversize boxes for the computer software is simple. It is to sell the item. Computer games need graphics on the box to sell the item. They need to tell a short story, or some other backround of the game. No one is going to want to look at some diectory(in general). They want to see the whole selection spread out before them.

Also, the packaging industry is just like any other. We are NOT going to spend any more money on a package than we have to. We are going to cut corners and skimp on materials just like any other company(you know what i mean). We are not stupid, and no package is stupid. Consumers, now thats a different story.

I’ve been getting them in little cases similar to DVD “keep cases”. Now, for once, I wish they’d send me more. Those things are great for mailing your own CD-R’s full of data to clients, and reusable, too.

How do I get more? Is there a way to add myself to the AOL mailing list a couple of hundred times? Box to supply shelf, AOL disk to circular file, Box to supply shelf, AOL disk to circular file, Box to supply shelf, …

You are offering me just two extreme choices, and I choose neither. You will have to learn a few better debating tricks than this! I choose sufficient packaging to protect the item, with some consideration for the purchaser, without excess and waste. You know, people sold things to each other just fine before the advent of shrink-wrap machines.

Again, I have no problem with the function (theft prevention), just with what seems to me to be excess, overkill and waste with precious little thought for the legit consumer. Plus, there are many items sold in stores which somehow survive without CD-style ‘security’. Plus CDs are vastly over-priced anyway. Which you will say is a separate subject, and I agree.

Sorry, but I’m not sure that’s a wholly frank answer. How about “to carry artwork that hypes and manifestly misrepresents the action, playability and brilliance of the game inside”.

One of my points is that the cutting of corners works in the interests of the packager, not the consumer. And if you have to resort to calling your consumers stupid, then I suspect you’re all out of good ammo. There’s nothing stupid about noticing that the packaging occupies about 10 times the volume of the item inside, and that I have to dispose of it responsibly.