Momwithastethoscope's Weblog

November 5, 2008

Wrap Rage

Filed under: Parenthood — momwithastethoscope @ 4:16 pm
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One of the 6,500 Wrap Ragers?

One of the 6,500 Wrap Ragers?

My two sons wanted guns as part of their Halloween costumes this year.  I’m not a gun person. General surgery and trauma rotations as a medical student cemented my mindset.  But that’s probably left for a future post. I have some strict rules about what my boys can and cannot do with fake guns.  For the low. low price of $6.99 each, two fake AK-47s were all mine – including the $6.49 worth of cardboard, plastic coated wired, and industrial tape. I guess these measures are necessary to prevent shoplifting, or are they all marketing strategies meant to capture the imaginations of school age boys?

In years past we have needed a kit (screwdriver, scissors, hacksaws, needle nose pliers, and bandaids)  for all holidays involving presents for children and sometimes adults.  As we wrestle with clamshells and cardboard packaging screwed into the backs of trucks and cars, I wonder where all of this material will wind up besides my garbage can.  It seems that retailers are catching on to the “wrap rage” we’re suffering from.  

Amazon gets it – Jeff Bezos, CEO of one of my favorite websites, introduced “Frustration-Free Packaging” this week as part of an initiative to be more environmentally friendly.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the focus on easier to consume wrappings should reduce the 6,400 emergency department visits arising from opening injuries. (2004 stats).  That gets my safety radar (installed fifteen years ago when I started my career as a pediatrician) focused, and I can imagine the guaging laceration and penetrating wounds as frustrated children try very hard to get to the toy of their choice by any mean possible. 

Amazon is partnering with companies such as Mattel, Microsoft, and Fisher-Price to decrease the amount of time to entry, injuries, and wasteful packaging.  A case in point is the Fisher-Price Imaginext Adventures Pirate Ship:  3.5 square inches of ABS molded styrene, 175.25 square inches of PVC blister (whatever those are), 36.1 square inches of printed folding carton materials, 1,576.5 square inches of printed corrugated package inserts, and 36 inches of plastic coated wire ties.  That one deserves a Consumer Reports Oyster Award.

I understand that some things are safety wrapped and double wrapped for safety purposes.  The latest bottle of Tylenol I opened had a box, a plastic sealed cap and an additional tamper resistant seal over the top of the bottom – not to mention the cotton insert in the bottle before I actually got to the pills.  If I didn’t have a headache before I opened the bottle – the process certainly gave me one – but I understand the safety issues.  And while some of these changes are more amenable to internet shopping where shoplifting isn’t a problem, some retailers are following suit such as Costco’sreplacement of clamshells with a paperboard product called Natralock with a smaller plastic bubble.

So I look forward to seeing fewer wires, screws and plastic clamshells this holiday season.  Also I look forward to a more harmonious holiday morning with less “wrap rage” and more peace on earth.

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