Attack of the clamshell
On this Sunday morning I’m nursing deep lacerations on the fingers of my left/dominant hand, suffered in the noble cause of freeing a cinnamon donut from the edges of the scourge to humanity known as razor-sharp clamshell plastic packaging.
You’ve all fallen victim. All you want to do is remove the product so you can actually use it or eat it, since that’s why you bought it. You must first figure out the first layer of security. That’s the sticky label placed across the spot you believe to be the leverage point that will allow you to open the package. Sometimes this label is easy to breach. You just snip it with scissors, or, in rare cases, zip across it with your finger nail. Recently, though, my breakfast pastry was guarded by a strip of material I can only imagine was developed to prevent rhinos from entering one’s SUV. Neither scissors, jackknife, razor blade nor hedge trimmer could break the seal. As ridiculous as it sounds, I had to resort to using a hacksaw. Success was gained after dulling two blades in the process. At that point, I’d kinda lost my taste for danish, but I nevertheless persevered.
Having broken the first obstacle, step two was actually opening the package. As you may be aware, clamshell packaging is held closed by several big plastic dimples on the lid that fit tightly into recesses on the bottom half. Simple technology. Cruel operation. In order to separate the halves you must hold one side and find purchase on the other so you have sufficient leverage. That’s where the packaging has its say as to whether or not you will enjoy the delicious delicacy it contains. As you slip a finger into the thin, tight margin between the sides, there is not enough space to avoid being rasped bloody by the sharp plastic edges. You are not happy, but you are hungry and your coffee is getting cold. However you must continue because in the words of George Costanza’’s mother, “I feel like an idiot having a cup of coffee without a piece of cake!” Indeed.
And so you ignore the blood and growing pain and pull and tug and curse and stomp and scream until, until…you hear that lovely crackling “pop!” of the two side separating. Finally, there are no barriers between you and those bear claws, or jelly donuts or cinnamon sticks or apple danish. They give you that look of “take me…take me…but please don’t take cream or sugar.”
Your unpackaging ordeal now over. Your lips smacking with sugary reward you ignore the blood dripping from your index finger, the pain that won’t go away till dinner time or the futility that preceded your eventual success. Those are mere battle scars. You have won. You savor your victory. Until you again march into the kitchen…tomorrow…at breakfast.