Shopper sparks debate with a photo of apparently pointless tool they discovered: ‘The irony in this’

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Plastic packaging is overused in stores, causing a wide range of problems for buyers. Sometimes the inconvenience is so frustrating that it circles back around to being funny. One Redditor just pointed out one of those times: when the product you buy to help open packaging is stuck inside tough plastic packaging of its own.

What happened?

The post, which appeared on r/mildyinteresting, was titled, “A product designed to open hard-to-open plastic packages, but it’s packaged in hard-to-open plastic packaging.”

Photo Credit: Reddit

The attached photo shows a dual-blade cutting tool called the OpenX, which is bright yellow and has a notch designed to guide sheets of plastic toward a razor blade. The box says “Stop struggling with those stubborn plastic packages!” and shows a frustrated woman trying to open a clamshell pack with her teeth.

Unfortunately, the OpenX itself comes in hard clamshell packaging.

“The irony in this,” one user commented

“Intentional design to increase the purposeful feeling having bought the product, maybe?” another suggested.

Why does this packaging choice matter?

Whatever the reason, the use of plastic packaging has drawbacks for both buyers and the environment. Anyone who purchases an OpenX will obviously have to deal with the frustration of getting the plastic open and disposing of it afterward — and it’s not hard to injure yourself on the sharp edges of the pack or the tools you use to open it.

Meanwhile, this type of packaging is rarely ever recycled because of the difficulty of processing plastic. Since plastic takes decades or more to decay, clamshell packages go to landfills or join the trillions of other pieces of plastic polluting the environment and shedding microplastics.

Why is the manufacturer doing this?

Ranchmark, the maker of the OpenX, doesn’t explain its packaging choices on its site. However, it does include a 20-year-old Wall Street Journal article about the OpenX, which sheds some light on the issue. 

A heading above the article reads, “Theft prevention behind rise in hard-to-open packaging.” That makes sense; large clamshell packages are difficult to slip into a pocket and can’t be opened quickly or quietly.

What’s the solution to plastic waste from clamshell packaging?

Ultimately, while clamshell packaging is an understandable choice from the manufacturers’ perspective, recyclable options such as cardboard or a small tag would make things easier for buyers and be better for the environment. As time goes on, more and more consumers are looking for options that don’t generate plastic waste, so a more eco-friendly approach could be good for business.

If you want an OpenX — or any other product — without the annoying packaging, try buying it secondhand. Thrift stores are known for carrying clothes, but they also tend to sell a wide range of housewares, tools, and furniture. Your purchase is also cheaper that way, and you keep the item out of a landfill.

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