Evil plastic thingies and other modern conveniences
By Janice Lindsay
When faced with a major life crisis, most of us rally. We face it, figure out what to do, and get on with it.
It’s the little things that drive us cuckoo.
I recently bought a plush fleece baby blanket. The blanket was for somebody else. I wanted to give it unwrapped, laundered, and ready to use.
The super-soft white blanket, with its perky pattern of yellow and blue guitars, had hung, neatly folded, from a hanger on the store rack. The folds were held together by an army of those evil little plastic thingies. You know what thingies I mean. The thingy is a short, thin, clear plastic stick, in this case about a half-inch long, shaped like a T at each end.
The wicked little gizmos often hold new socks together. They attach various tags to various new garments. They must be removed, both ends, or their sharp little points stab you when you wear your new garment.
The tags are short. Each end fits tightly against the fabric. If you try to thread one of the little T-heads through the fabric to remove the thingy, you risk damaging your purchase. If you try to cut the head off, you risk cutting the fabric, especially when it’s soft and plushy. If you manage to cut one T-head off safely, its opposite T-head is trapped inside the garment, or it has gone flying. You will never find it unless you hear it clattering inside the vacuum cleaner or you see the dog eating it. Or you get stabbed.
For the blanket, I cut off each outward-facing T, oh-so-carefully, holding the blanket above the kitchen table. I counted the heads as I cut them, then shook the blanket over the table until some opposite Ts fell out. Then I smoothed the blanket with my fingers, feeling for vicious little points until all the opposite heads were accounted for, imagining how wisely I could have otherwise spent these minutes for the greater good of humankind or at least myself.
The nefarious T-thingies are not the only little modern conveniences that can drive us cuckoo.
How about zip-top plastic bags that don’t? Maybe they contain lunch meat, or sliced cheese. “Tear here” to open. Fail. Fetch the scissors. Try to close. Fail. The zipper halves don’t click together.
And cardboard cartons with a perforated rectangle near the top on one side. “Push here” to create an opening to pour sugar, or cat litter. Fail. Fetch a knife, stab and carve.
Then there’s the hair conditioner that’s too thick to flow through the pouring spout of its own bottle.
And those envelopes where you have to fold one edge and tear it off, fold the opposite edge and tear it off, fold the top edge and tear it off. The envelopes are nuisance enough, even when the edges tear evenly, which they don’t.
And those tiny flat square plastic tags with two sharp facing points that close plastic bread bags. The points tear the bags, so frugal persons can’t re-use them.
I don’t event want to think about electronic products, like cell phones, that come sealed so tightly in such thick plastic that you must employ your box cutter, endangering the health of neighboring objects not to mention your various limbs.
I know that these crazy-makers are not Matters of Life and Death.
Somehow, I manage to handle Matters of Life and Death.
But I just can’t figure out how to, neatly, wrestle this tenacious price sticker off my otherwise pretty new photo album. Help!
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