I can remember life before Tamper Resistant Packaging. That’s right, there was actually a time when all one had to do to enjoy a substance in a carton, box or bottle was simply to tug, tear or twist. Cute little cardboard tags were sometimes included to make it even easier, along with instructions which insulted the intelligence of anyone with an I Q sufficient to read them. (To open: Lift flap. Oh, really? I guess I won’t be needing this chainsaw after all.)
Alas, those days are gone. You see, some nut case, probably a guy frustrated in his life’s ambition to become a random clock-tower sniper, decided to make foreign and lethal additions to ordinary items on grocery store shelves. Tragedy and lawsuits followed. It didn’t take long for manufacturers everywhere to realize that they had better revise their product’s packaging or they’d find themselves in the tragic lawsuit lineup.
It began with thin, cellophane wrapping on the outsides of boxes, the kind which is easily removed – too easily, apparently. After a trial run, companies decided that really creative homicidal maniacs could still get into the package, tamper to their heart’s delight, and return it to the shelf for unsuspecting customers to purchase – at least those customers with Coke-bottle-lens-syndrome who would fail to notice willful cellophane destruction. (What? You’re too young to remember Coke bottles? Never mind. I’ll explain later.)
Strong measures were called for. Stronger measures answered. NASA has been begging for the formulas of the new shrink-wraps. One of the most amazing compounds to come out of this intensive research is something I’ll refer to by its code name: Plasto-Steel. It looks deceptively like easily punctured aluminum foil, but in reality is an iron and rubber alloy which cannot be penetrated by fingernails, toenails, teeth or any other body part you’d care to try. It will stretch indefinitely without breaking. Even forks are of no use against this stuff. I believe the manufacturer recommends using white-hot blacksmith tools, but they aren’t releasing this information until after NASA ups it’s bid.
The most vicious use of Plasto-Steel is on bottles like ketchup or salad dressing. Assuming you have managed to get through the outer covering of Cello-steel shrink wrap – no small feat – you pop open the E-Z Squeeze lid and attempt to deposit a blob of cucumber and buttermilk on your lettuce via the E-Z Squeeze spout. You can E-Z squeeze until you burst a blood vessel, but nothing will come out, because under the lid is an impervious layer of Plasto-Steel. By the time you find your blacksmith tools, you will have lost your taste for salad altogether and will have become a confirmed carnivore – which is good, because you will need the iron in red meat to get into the steak sauce bottle.
If not for pure malice, what is the purpose of the secondary seal? Do salad dressing bottlers really think customers would purchase a bottle which has had its outer layer of Cello-Steel sufficiently mauled to permit inner tampering? Who would risk being rushed to the emergency room to have their organs
de-tampered, knowing all the while that the Tamper- pump is probably encased in sterile shrink wrap too and therefore inaccessible until long after one’s demise?
For those like myself who have been stymied by Tamper Resistant Packaging, I will share my secret. The answer came unexpectedly one morning when I found that I had overslept. After one eye- popping look at the my treacherous alarm clock, I raced down the stairs and began preparing breakfasts and lunches for five with about two minutes per person available. Unfortunately, I had just completed my post payday shopping trip, the kind of grocery extravaganza responsible for so many bent wheels on shopping carts. Every single item in my cupboard and refrigerator was tamper proof, child proof and sandwich proof.
Cheese was sealed to withstand space travel. Cereal boxes read – To open: use crowbar. Lunch meat could only be obtained by methods rivaling bamboo shoot torture. Half crazed, I yanked open the utensil drawer and my eyes fell upon the one tool stronger even than Resistance-Is-Futile packaging: the incredible 19.95 Ginsu knife, find more.
I had purchased this little wonder as a bride to be and have had many happy years sawing tin cans in half and then slicing ripe tomatoes. It came with a nifty potato whittler which could turn a single spud into a curlicue rope long enough to encircle the entire house, presumably for therapeutic purposes. I have lost this gadget, which is sad because I could have used a little therapy at that point. In a fuzzy-robed frenzy, I began slicing, dicing and making julienne strips of Plasto-Steel throughout the kitchen. With seconds to spare, I had completed both breakfast and lunch, and all in handy bite sized pieces too.
My husband came down and kissed me calmly. Maybe cautiously is the word I want. He helped me peel my fingers from the brown plastic handle, fixed me a cup of decaffeinated tea, and placed the Ginsu set where I could not reach it for the moment. He suggested a little nap might be in order.
There it is, folks, the Ginsu solution. The world is mine now. I have conquered Mayonnaise and lunch meat. Tomorrow, who knows? Peanut Butter! Pancake syrup! Tums! I can get my bottle of stress formula vitamins and saw it right off at the neck!
Oh, yes, you still want to know about Coke-bottle lenses. Years ago, soda pop came in thick, green, Tamper Resistant bottles, and… Oh, never mind. Go ask your grandmother. Just make sure she isn’t holding a Ginsu.