I decided that I fear old age for only one reason: packaging.
I have difficulty now with many of the child-safe, tamper-proof plastic wrapping and caps; so I imagine the need at some point in my life to hire someone to open things for me…
If anyone has, like me, eclectic reading taste, you should enjoy The Daniel J. Boorstin Reader. The writer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. His collection is entertaining, enlightening, and thought-provoking,
Today, I thought of one piece in that tome, which was about packaging and titled From Packing To Packaging: The New Strategy Of Desire. In earlier times, people were sold small quantities of goods from barrels, crates, and sacks. These were wrapped in paper or put into cloth sacks, which each brought along. At some point, as described by Professor Boorstin, improvements in packing led to packaging, which in turn led to individual packages with brand names for what were only generic products (such as sugar, flour, soap powder, etc.)
Unfortunately, evolution does not stop, either in humans or packaging. I’m not going to touch the subject of flaws in humanity, but I will rant about excessive packaging. Some many resources are wasted on too much packaging material. And, don’t get me started on double-sealing to prevent tampering. I do not know how old people open things.
I carry a cloth bag to the baker to buy bread...and have to refuse the paper bags (one for each bread and another for rolls) each time to show up. Every clerks default reflex is to reach for a bag, printed with the store’s branding. I collect, return, and reuse bags from the green grocer. I use a larger, sturdier sack for purchases at the grocery store.
Unfortunately, I am one of the few people on this planet to attempt such foolishness as to swim against the stream of the Big Packaging...
I hate people.
Why? Because some do stupid and evil things, the reaction to which forces the rest of us to suffer. Case in point: packaging. Consumer goods and food products used to come in easily opened packages. Now, after one person, somewhere, tampered with one product, all must be rendered difficult to access. I do not know how old people manage to eat and take pills...
I do not hate people: I hate things.
Today, as with many days, I was reminded of how much I hate modern packaging. I realized that most food packaging, which is becoming increasing difficult to open, is not designed to protect consumers: it is designed to protect manufacturers from lawsuit. I would be willing to accept the minuscule risk of someone tampering with a package, and my even smaller risk of grabbing that package, if it meant easier access to the contents. Many food and medicine packages have more than one level of defense, making the experiences multi-frustrating. I have even refused to buy certain products a second time, because the packaging was so idiotic.
The pleasure of patronizing a butcher, baker, green grocer, etc. is enhanced by the lack of plastic and other defense mechanisms. It would be nice if the old-fashioned milkman would return...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.