Opening Plastic Packages
October 14, 2004 10:54 AM   Subscribe

CameraFilter: So I just bought this memory card from Best Buy and I... mmphh... grr.... there must be a way to open this.... arr... okay, I'll try my knife... ARRRGGGH! How the heck do you open these stupid Vacuum Sealed Plastic Packages that everything is coming in nowadays??? I think I'm bleeding!
posted by Stan Chin to Media & Arts (23 answers total)
scissors. don't run with them.
posted by plexiwatt at 10:57 AM on October 14, 2004

posted by Stan Chin at 11:03 AM on October 14, 2004

I hate these packages as well. I'm sure they were created to prevent shoplifting, but they are such a hassle. Sometimes you'll get one that you can pop apart, but for the most part you will have to use scissors (as suggested) and completely destroy the packaging in the process of opening it. I shudder to think of the consequences when you have to return something in packaging that must be destroyed just to get your product out. Guess it makes it a little harder for the folks at Fry's to stick defective merchandise right back on the shelf. So maybe it's a good thing. Just don't get me started on the 3+ pieces of "security tape" put on each edge of DVD packaging, in addition to the shrinkwrap.
posted by robbie01 at 11:03 AM on October 14, 2004

I flip open my Spiderco and stab the hell out of the damnedable thing, oftentimes slashing my fingers. Once I did so on a faux-marble countertop and took a big gash out of it.

The worst are the 1-square-foot packages that memory cards come in. They take an object the size of a postage stamp and put it in a plastic bubble large enough to hold a gallon of milk.
posted by waldo at 11:06 AM on October 14, 2004

box cutter. don't run with it.
posted by swift at 11:19 AM on October 14, 2004

The nicest way is to get a pair of kitchen scissors and cut all the way around. All four sides, or at least three if you're really lazy. Pretty painless after you start the cut. Trying to just cut one side and getting it out through the opening is an exercise in frustration.
posted by smackfu at 11:23 AM on October 14, 2004

If the actual product is in a raised portion of the package (like in a little bubble), I find it works well to take a pocket knife and cut around that raised part. Usually once you've gotten 2 or 3 of the sides cut you can grab the product out.
posted by Coffeemate at 11:24 AM on October 14, 2004

Scissors. Or ceramic/titanium fingernail implants.
posted by carter at 11:47 AM on October 14, 2004

ceramic/titanium fingernail implants.

Don't run with them.

I second the box cutter, and cutting around the raised portion.

I hate that type of packaging. It makes me mean mad.
posted by amarynth at 11:58 AM on October 14, 2004

Wirecutters are best, especially when powered by concentrated HATE. A papercutter would be pretty cool too. Shwonk!
posted by furiousthought at 12:41 PM on October 14, 2004

I'm so with you. And if you don't happen to carry a pair of scissors with you at all times, forget about opening anyting to examine it once you've left the store and are sitting in your car.
posted by GaelFC at 12:56 PM on October 14, 2004

I think those Ronco-type scissors that cut through tin would work well for this.

A boxcutter (are they still legal?) that only exposed about 2/16 inch would work well.
posted by mecran01 at 12:58 PM on October 14, 2004

Doesn't everyone carry a nice sharp Leatherman with them at all times? ... puncture the plastic, slice away from you, and *schniiiiiik*, those annoying things fall right open.

Sharp knives are the key. Dull knives are some of the most dangerous things on the face of the earth. And sharp knives one of the most useful.
posted by jammer at 1:23 PM on October 14, 2004

I've seen some new clamshell designs with perforations (one on a weather radio, one on some action figures), but the thought doesn't seem to really have caught on yet. A pity, because I think about my aging parents and how difficult it can be to open stuff.

I also use a sharp Leatherman - it should cut through the plastic "window" part with no resistance if your knife is good enough. If there isn't a window, I cut somewhere in the interior - where cardstock is inserted. The plastic is still thin here. Trying to cut through the thick, curled edges of the clamshell is too much of a hassle & it's easy to wreck lesser-quality scissors or hurt yourself with a knife.
posted by Sangre Azul at 2:16 PM on October 14, 2004

I damaged a memory card because I didn't cut around all four sides before wrestling it out. Take a deep breath and be patient as you cut, and eventually you'll get the Precious.
posted by maudlin at 4:20 PM on October 14, 2004

Christ, I'm glad I'm not the only one. I go with the boxcutter when handy. Everytime I pick up a new video game controller, it's like a 15 minute wrestling match. I bet the guy who designs the packaging is wicked into S&M.
posted by yerfatma at 5:35 PM on October 14, 2004

Perhaps it's time for the personal injury attorneys of the world to concern themselves with this menace, this environmental scourge, this offense against reason and the elderly.
posted by mwhybark at 5:36 PM on October 14, 2004

I damaged a memory stick while trying to free it from bondage with a car key, allen wrench and a ballpoint pen. I suppose I could've gone home and used a nice normal pair of scissors or a flatblade, but since I was 250 miles away at the time, it seemed a tad bit inconvenient.

I returned the damage stick and got a replacement, and made them open it for me in the store. They tried to tell me that it was against policy. I told them that I wanted to verify that it worked before I left and if they didn't open it, they'd lose the sale. There was suddenly no problem after that. I use the "open this for me so that I can verify it before leaving" gambit now whenever I'm faced with the scourge which is vacuum sealed plastic.
posted by Dreama at 7:49 PM on October 14, 2004

I was going to post something about this the other day after purchasing a keyboard for my Palm. I just about killed myself on it. I can understand the shoplifting deterrent aspect, but if this is the case, why are these nightmare packages used primarily with electronic gizmos?

Also: Remember when CD's came in long boxes and there was an environmental outcry? How did that happen, and how can we bring those same forces to bear on wasteful memory packaging, etc? If it worked before, surely we can pull it off again.
posted by aladfar at 9:07 PM on October 14, 2004

Usually those packages are two sheets of fairly hard plastic, bubbled out around the product, and sealed at a crimp around the outside edge. Run a sharp knife around the inside of the crimp and they come apart in two pieces, no problem. The ones with the two sides sealed to each other over their whole contacting surfaces are more difficult.
posted by Nothing at 10:16 PM on October 14, 2004

You have to be at least as smart as the package.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:37 PM on October 14, 2004

I think another reason for this kind of packaging is that you're less likely to return an item after destroying the packaging.
posted by MiG at 12:27 AM on October 15, 2004

I think I'm bleeding!

You mean you don't know? Its red....falls out of unexpected openings in your body....
posted by mattr at 5:23 AM on October 15, 2004

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