Monday, July 18, 2011

Closures! An opening to madness!

The food industry has lost the plot.
If it was not bad enough to have taste-free tomatoes genetically modified so they will not wet the bread in a sandwich, bananas deceptively skin-ripened by gas but hard and green inside, peaches picked rock hard for travelling but which shrivel before they ripen, beans which are sprayed for a glossy appearance and then go slimy after a day in a plastic bag....
That is all simply vile. It is all a profiteering scam which exploits hapless shoppers - but can be sidestepped if one has access to a farmer's market.

But now it is openings.
The market has gone to work on openings, making things so secure, sterile and tamper-proof that - forget tampering, one simply can't get into them.
My rage at closures has been rising for some time.
For years as a supporting mum, I surmounted difficulties of opening the odd seemingly impenetrable container with determined techniques. And I won.
Now with all that self-sufficiency under my belt, I am older, wiser, more adept and experienced - and utterly unable to get into containers.
My favourite curd cheese requires one to bruise fingers and break nails to dislodge the security flap on the rim of the container.
Delicious dips require one to resort to teeth to get purchase on the wicked pull-tab which needs to be peeled off before the lid can be removed. Oftentimes, the tabs simply tear off, leaving one prising with sharp knives and generally endangering oneself trying to get to the contents.
Then there are the jams and sauces in today's uber-secure jars.
All the tapping on the rims, banging on a flat surface, knocking at the centre...reliable techniques of yore, are fruitless. Calling in the forces of the men is simply to have angry and frustrated men struggling with teatowels and muscle, looking for that pop of release. It is belittling. The other week my super-strong male hero simply gave up and threw the whole jar in the bin. He was too  furious even to go and get his money back.

In itself, that is a hassle which should not be so often required of consumers - keeping the receipt, lugging the product back, going to the inquiry desk, waiting around for attention, then the calling of the superior, the issue of replacement or credit. Do we want another impenetrable jar of the thing we want to eat or do we just want money back and deny ourselves the product we needed or wanted? Do we have to unseal the product at the checkout to ensure that we can open it when we get home?
It gets worse and worse.

One needs a PhD to get into many products.
Most recently, it was just a plastic bottle of canola oil. First I took off the tight clear plastic casing on the lid. Then I looked for the usual tear strip to wrench off before removing the top. Oh, don't say the tag bit is broken? No? It is molded into the strip? No? Maybe it screws? No. After much intense scrutiny I perceived a slight indentation into which I could force a fingernail and, hey-presto, I  flipped off the top. And there inside was a whole new puzzle of plastic pull tags which uncoiled to reveal a finger-pull. I slipped my finger in and carefully tugged. The plastic stretched and stretched and became cloudy. I was very careful, steady. I've experienced these plastic ring-pulls before. And, of course, the plastic was not strong enough to open the plastic. And there I was with a piece of plastic in my hand and the bottle of oil still firmly sealed. I had to get a sharp knife and stab it open. Bad for the knife and dangerous for me. Insane. Impractical. Where do these manufacturers get off? Who is being paid to invent closures that will only close but never open?

It is an accumulative thing. It has been steadily growing worse as our consumer market is more oppressed by regulations doubtless incurred by people who have sued because they have bought things badly sealed. Well, I'm going to sue, too. I'm going to sue the lot of them.
I'm gaining closure psychosis - a fear of opening anything.
I recoil in apprehension as I load the supermarket trolley. How will I get all this stuff open?
The final straw was the bottle of Vitamin B tablets. I've been buying them for years.
But now, suddenly, they are so well enclosed in their little brown bottles that - well, hell...
I removed the plastic cover, and, oh, bliss, the lid opened with ease. But wait. There's a liner sealing the pills inside. No worries, I'll prod it open. And so began another closures trauma. That internal seal simply would not budge or break.
I poked and pierced and stabbed and prodded, I probed gently, looking for for some new open-sesame trick.
I was suddenly overcome by realisation of the amount of time one spends these days struggling to open things. Those damned stupid milk cartons which I think are downright unhygienic. Ziplock grain bags with the cut-here lines. Candy bars and cheeses with a "tear here" which will not tear. Cartons, jars, bottles....
An increasing chunk of our lives is being consumed by closures.

And I gave up on Vitamin B and grabbed a beautiful bottle of screw-topped wine. At last something I could open. Aaah.


Amanda said...

I'm with you, sister - as I struggle with broken nails, the sharp pointy ends of my good knives and the ring pulls on just about anything. I suspect there is a large committee behind the current fashion in securing openers.
And I, too, bless the inventor of wine screw caps - no committee there, probably just a woman.

badumna said...

Hahahha. I larfed and larfed.

badumna said...

hahahaha. I larfed and larfed.