Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Convenient Packaging, My Ass! (Not to be confused with conveniently packaging my ass, an entirely different matter)

            Since it is voting day here in the US and people are taking the time to battle long lines, annoying people with signs, and interacting with old ladies at desks who match address and name on a piece of paper with whatever you tell them (SERIOUSLY, here in midsize town New England I could walk in and vote for any person that lives on my street), just so they can put in their two cents on which idiots they want wasting their money on things like new designs for quarters, I thought a rather serious topic should be addressed. We need to discuss why food manufacturers think that it is acceptable to put liquid foods in containers which render you unable to get the last freaking sips out.
Looks like a smart container design, does it?
 I don't think so.
            I have been in a rage about this for months in the matter of coconut water. It’s not just one brand. It seems to be a multi-brand problem. For those of you who aren’t fans of coconut water, let me share the crux of the issue. Coconut water, being a somewhat crunchy, neo-hippy, yuppy sort of beverage, comes in cardboard recyclable containers. That’s all well and good, except the containers are rectangular boxes with a round hole un-centered in the flat top with a port stuck in it for pouring. A milk container, or an orange juice container, or a cream container, ALL in cardboard rectangular boxes, would open from the box into a spout so you can pour ALL of the liquid out. A juice box is manufactured in such a way that you can squeeze the life and last drops out of the box while you suck the fluid up with a straw. But with coconut water, which is about as cheap as a movie theatre fountain soda, they (the evil tropical fluid packaging empire) make it physically impossible to get the last drops into a glass or your mouth.
I have tried all kinds of strange neck acrobatics, with my head tilted back, to the side, weeble-wobbling to and fro, and practically upside down, to try and wrangle those last drops from the sides of the cardboard towards that port on the top of the box to absolutely no avail. It’s a wonder I haven’t given myself a slipped disc. It’s like trying to play one of those ridiculous cardboard games where you tilt it back and forth to put all the little tiny metal balls in recessed holes. Impossible and unbelievably irritating. I am not a quitter. Throwing out that box that still has coconut water in it makes me feel like I have failed and disappointed myself, not to mention the feelings of waste, loss, and being cheated out of something I paid for.
That makes a hot dog look
like a health food. 
            Last week I decided to bring some Campbell’s salt, I mean soup, in a cup to work for a snack. Their microwaveable sippy-cup of soup is really a great idea in theory. Heat it up and drink it out of the cup shaped container, which is even ergonomically shaped to fit your hand. I chose Chicken with Stars. It’s a favorite from my childhood. Star shaped pasta tastes better than long noodles, obviously. You would think a company like Campbell’s would have their shit together, but, apparently, that’s just not the case. 
           Just like with the coconut water, I got to the end of the cup, and there was an obstruction where a whole bunch of the stars got stuck! So then I was sitting at work, a place where I’d rather people didn’t think I was mentally disabled, trying to get the rest of the soup out of the cup. Again, I instinctively charged into the “You’re probably going to regret this later” head tilting routine. This time it was accompanied by some vigorous shaking to account for the solid nature of the star pasta. I managed to get some of the stars out! But they didn’t end up in my mouth. The angle wasn’t quite right and they launched themselves down my shirt. They might as well have stayed in the cup. I wasn’t about to eat them off my chest.
            Just think about all the other foods in containers that are cheating us out of our last drops. Whipped cream. Spray cheese. Beer – you know how those last drops adhere to the glass bottle. Although I suppose I can’t blame the breweries for the physical and chemical properties of water.  
            Eating is not supposed to be this difficult, especially when the foods are packaged in what is supposed to be “convenient” packaging. I don’t enjoy being forced to waste things simply because they won’t come out of the box. I end up feeling that I was screwed out of a few cents. I hope that whoever is elected today will address this issue. With so much talk of waste, here is an actual example of waste that I feel directly affected by. I want to be compensated for the food that I do not get to eat because it remains in the package. I also think that compensation for the emotional distress that this issue is causing me would be nice as well. At the very least, someone should send me some coupons…

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