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John Eggers: Easy-open package? Yeah, right

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I would like to see someone invent an easy open package, which can be opened by someone other than a golden retriever.

Whenever I see boxes and bottles and jars that are labeled “easy open,” I think of an episode on the old Jackie Gleason Honeymooner’s TV show where Ralph (played by Jackie Gleason) is about ready to sit down and watch a program on his new television. On the round kitchen table he has all of his TV snacks: pop, a huge sub sandwich and a bag of chips. He pulls at both sides of the bag of chips and it explodes spewing chips all over the table and floor. Since this was live TV, the audience had a big laugh but Ralph didn’t bat an eye and just went on like it was an everyday happening, which it was and still is today.

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I recently locked my keys in my car. It took the service guy about two minutes to get it open. Why does it take us ten to fifteen minutes to open an easy open box or a bottle of medicine?

Colleges should begin to offer degrees in “The art and science of easy open packages”? Businesses could be created whereby service people would come to homes to open containers. Community education could be offering classes on “100 ways to open up a box of cereal.” (Each participant is to bring five boxes or bottles labeled “easy open” to class.)

I eat a lot of cereal so I know all about easy open boxes. Is it so hard to invent a box without the top tearing making it impossible to put that little flap into the slot? Why doesn’t each box come with a piece of tape, which you eventually end up using to seal it anyway?

I consider myself fortunate because I have developed a sure proof solution to open anything. It feels good to get revenge on those box opener creators who, I really believe, lay awake at night just trying to create new ways of inventing an easy open box that’s impossible to open. Well, I’ll show them. I just shout, “Here Simon.”

My golden retriever could open up Fort Knox if he wanted to. People who are still angry because they who wanted to work for Disney but instead ended up working for the Kellogg’s making “easy open” boxes are no match for an animal that can chew a six inch log into toothpick size pieces.

The outside of the cereal box is bad enough but when you get halfway home, you discover the second defense line, the indestructible inner plastic bag. This can only be opened with special tools and they do not come with the box of cereal nor does a golden retriever.

There ought to be a tag or something taped to the inside bag that gives you suggestions on which tools to use. “First choice, a knife. Second, choice, a scissors. Third choice, a stick of dynamite. Fourth choice, find a golden retriever who doesn’t like corn flakes.”

Of course they can’t really do this because often kids have to open up these boxes and you wouldn’t want to get these tools in the hands of a child. This is why after kids try to open them for ten or fifteen minutes and you come to their rescue, there is nothing left but corn flake dust.

Cereal boxes are bad enough but what really drives you and me berserk are bottles, which say, “Push down and turn to open.”  What the directions should say is “To open apply chainsaw to top of bottle.”

What about those little silver tabs you find on top of the bottle after you have finally applied the use of pliers or crowbar to pry off the top? Aren’t they fun? First of all they want you to find the little flap that will easily pull off the tab.

You have to search for the little flap with a magnify glass and when you find it you then search for a tweezers that will grab hold of the tiny flap. After several hours of frustration with your headache getting worse, you eventually find it but you tear it off. What you end up doing is shoving your finger through the silver enclosure. By this time your headache is gone or, God forbid, your dead.

The directions should read: “First wash your index finger and then with great pressure apply tip of index finger to top of bottle and push directly down puncturing the easy open tab. Call doctor if you notice any immediate swelling in your finger.”

All of this foolproof packaging began in 1982 when seven people were killed in Chicago who took poisoned Tylenol tablets. The murderers merely unscrewed the top of the bottle, placed the poison tablets inside and the result was no one would ever again open up a Tylenol bottle without a chainsaw or a golden retriever.

Okay, I guess I understand that but isn’t there an easier way of making “easy open” packages easier to open? By the way, Simon rents out for $50 an hour or $50 a container.

JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

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