Thursday, July 23, 2009

Restrictive Packaging = Delayed Gratification

My daughter, Krista, loves those snotty, trampy Bratz dolls. Something about the heavy make-up, sneaky expression and removable feet has trumped poor, wholesome Barbie for years. A gift of a Bratz doll is met with giant smiles, sincere, “kissey” thank yous and anticipation. She has gotten used to the anticipation part... because it takes no less than 20 minutes to open the box and get the doll out.

Whoever decided that a Bratz doll needs to remain absolutely still throughout any mode of transportation? Someone engineered the restrictive packaging for Ms. “Stick-Thin, Mini-skirt” doll, so that she could be tossed off a ship from China into a rolling ocean without shifting a millimeter. This doll wouldn’t move if a vulture, thinking she was the “nearly-dead,” began clawing and “beaking” at her. She wouldn’t be flattened if an African Elephant were jumping on her either. You could even take a flamethrower to the package, but I have a feeling she wouldn't burn.

Like some sadomasochistic horror flick, the doll is SEWN to the her hair! Her wrists are bound with triple twisted clear elastic bands; her legs and waist are clamped with hard plastic tye-locks you have to clip with a sharp scissors. Even her high fashion clothes and removable feet/shoes are tied and sewn individually as well. Maybe that’s why it always has a pouting face.

No child could ever open the packaging. Few adults can make it through the process without a nasty cut. Even fewer could manage freeing the doll with an impairment, be it mental or physical, and be triumphant.

Idea: If only they put impulse items like Snickers, M&Ms and Cheetos in restrictive, frustrating packaging, they would be easier to resist at check-out time...and maybe then my navel would stop looking like the letter “T.”

Earlier this evening, I was helping Krista with a new bead kit. What looked to be a thin, clear plastic suitcase filled with little triangular containers of different shaped and colored beads, was IN FACT... 150 little triangular SEALED containers of beads, each one secured, on three sides, with really, really, really STICKY, transparent tape. Go rapidly (like any excited birthday girl would, at finding such a grand gift), and the beads will fly like a swarm of gnats. Open them carefully and you’re in for a 2 hour exercise in “How Not to Swear Repeatedly Before your Huffing, Growing Impatient, Quickly Losing Interest, Child.”

It’s not just toys. Even gum is hard to get into these days. I bought a 6-pack of Extra, which is now in little sturdy rectangles instead of the traditional gum stick. Once you get the 6-pack open, there’s cellophane around each individual pack that opens something like cigarettes. Once you get into that, there’s sticky flap and all the gum rectangles are also individually wrapped. I just want to chew my gum.

I also want to listen to my new CD in the car on the way home from the store. But without a special tool (which I can never find), I have to wait. The "Sticky Tape" people must be irritated about this too--always having their already "sealed and delivered" products OVER-sealed with clear cellophane from the "Cellophane" people. Sticky tape is never good enough....never.

About the only thing that’s now easier to get into is a can of soup, thanks to Campbell’s new pull-tap top for quicker entry. No more can openers required. Mmm, mmm, good.

Idea: Why not put the Bratz doll in a long, skinny soup can?

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