Defeated by Plastic Packaging and Seeking Therapy

Comedian Gail Forrest is defeated by plastic packaging and wonders: why should it require help from a Special Ops team to open it?

I am certain I am not the only one who doesn’t want to risk their fingers, teeth and sanity, slicing, sawing, and chewing through molded plastic to open a package or twist off a cap.  I cannot afford chipping a tooth from gnawing at plastic corners or spending the day in the ER while my finger is being sewn back on. My patience is wearing thin. There is always the option of running the package over with my car to access the contents but even in my frenzied and frustrated state that seems counterproductive.

I believe there should be special containers for people who simply want to rip open the product they purchased — no muss, fuss, bloody hands or anti-anxiety meds. Bring back cardboard! I appreciate the skilled men and women who have studied product design and pride themselves on their ability to find a way to make plastic packages secure with tightly folded and molded corners but STOP IT. They shouldn’t require help from a Special Ops team to open.

Even my plastic bottle of orange juice has become a challenge. It used to be easy, just twist and pour. Now I could tear a ligament in my wrist trying to get the cap off.  They don’t twist anymore.  Are they Super Glued on?  I’ve tried pounding the container on the counter in a fit of frustration and twisting the top with a towel so I have traction, all to no avail.  My nerves are shattered and no juice!  I contemplated using a machete or musket but had neither and settled for a knife. I was at war with the orange juice. I donned my gardening gloves for the next maneuver as I realized my fingers could be a casualty. Was my Tetanus shot current?  I laid the giant container on the counter and carefully started slicing around the cap.  One by one the little plastic holders keeping the top secured snapped and broke. Yes! I had won the Great Orange Juice Wars.  This was nuts and I was nuts by the time I poured a glass.  

And what’s up with the zip lock packaging? Ironically, you have to be able to open it to enjoy the zip lock aspect. I have Swiss cheese in my fridge which looked easy to open and re-seal but the little corner which reads “peel back” didn’t.  It took all my will to resist using my teeth or throw the package on the floor in a fit of despair. I was hungry. I spent ten minutes trying to peel and failed as the corner held fast. Cheese has become an existential nightmare. I resorted to scissors which thwarted the ability to zip lock.  I hate cheese.  

Last Sunday morning, which is my time to relax, read the paper and calmly drink coffee, I decided to put up a shower curtain.  A simple task, I fantasized.  Then irrespective of risking my life by placing a dangerously tall stool in the tub in order to reach the curtain bar, I had to also open a hermetically sealed package of rings.  It was closed so tightly that I had to repel down from my teetering stool to open it on terra firma.  I think I also had altitude sickness.  Once down I ripped and tore and bent the corners but the plastic didn’t budge. I fought mightily to perforate the packaging and stopped just short of jumping up and down on it but didn’t want to risk blowing a cruciate ligament.  Although screaming and throwing the sealed rings against the wall was cathartic it didn’t help.

With tears in my eyes I headed for the kitchen and grabbed a lethal size serrated knife.  I madly sawed through the package and a little bit of my thumb.  Was this a joke played on me by the god of domestic chores, who I was certain was resting, reading and drinking coffee because it was Sunday? I gathered myself together and tried to remember all my years of therapy in order to stop crying and get up from a fetal position.  Slowly with sweaty hands, nervous hives and bleeding finger I loosened each curtain hook from the plastic molding. Ninety minutes later victory was mine.  I threw away the mess, bandaged my bleeding thumb and no longer wanted a shower curtain or to ever shower again.

Now I’m begging for someone / anyone to come over and open a prescription bottle I just picked up from the pharmacy. 

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


  1. Good one. Yeah, the “peel here” never works for me either. That’s why I have a whole cabinet full of clear plastic containers – that’s where I put the contents of the peel-here packages after I take scissors to them.

    I know it can’t really be true, but I’ve wondered if they make the products really difficult to open *by design* in order to make the products seem more exclusive. Like, this stuff is so hard to get to, you know it’s got to be great.

  2. “I appreciate the skilled men and women who have studied product design and pride themselves on their ability to find a way to make plastic packages secure with tightly folded and molded corners…”. No, don’t appreciate them! Several years ago Steve Martin opined that there is a special place in Dante’s Circles of Hell for these people!

    • I agree with Steve. I was just trying to be nice for some remote reason. I hate hate hate the packaging and wishto see them have a specially marked circle in Dante’s Inferno.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. I end up using plastic containers also and sometimes saran wrap except I am even more inept with that crazy wrap. It ends up in a ball. I never feel a product is better just that I never want to eat it again

  4. Thank you, once again for addressing life’s most aggravating issues with your spot on sense of humor. I appreciate your removing the stinger from life’s most annoying bites.


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Gail Forresthttp://www.gailforrest.com
Gail Forrest is a comedy writer and stand up comic. She studied at Second City in Chicago and has performed at Pretty Funny Women and Flappers in LA, as well as Second City to name a few. She has a published book Gonepausal on Amazon about women in midlife and is working on a new book which includes men and promises to be just as funny with even more insights on aging.


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