Wrap Rage is a Thing

VaporTrail-225It’s pretty common knowledge that thermoformed packaging is tough to open. Especially if the edges are factory sealed, or there aren’t easy-to-understand opening instructions. I thought it was just one of those things. You know, like ‘dogs chase cars’ or ‘bees sting.’ But now I know it’s not just a thing, it’s a Thing.

Wikipedia defines Wrap Rage as “the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-open packaging.” It’s further defined as any packaging that claims to be easy-open but is, in actuality, nearly impossible. Such was the case of a vacuum-packed sausage for columnist Lori Borgman. She had to go through two sets of shears to get at her dinner.

Speaking of shears, products are even banking on wrap rage for their marketing plan. A cursory examination of one wrapragecure.com will eventually reveal itself as an advertisement for a product called the Open It™, a fancy-schmancy scissors for opening blister packaging. However, the irony is not lost on me that the Open It™ itself is encased in one of the tightest thermoformed plastic bubbles I’ve ever seen. A chicken-or-the-egg scenario if I ever saw one.

Open It_the wrap rage cure

Image: Bed Bath and Beyond

But even Borgman, sausage sufferer extraordinaire, admits that blister packaging is a necessary evil. Why? Because it’s still one of the top theft deterrents on the market. Or rather, in it. Blister packs and retail go together like peanut butter and jelly. Gold standard. As much as we may dread the eternal struggle that comes from purchasing a blister-packed product, we know that the reason the product was even there to purchase is because that plastic bubble protected it.

Products in stores aren’t supposed to be easy to open! Hello! It’s a sad fact that folks will steal anything not nailed down. I knew someone back in high school that stole display frames from eyeglass stores. For Display Only printed on the plastic lenses and all! But much the way animals know to avoid electrified fences, we humans know not to bother with stealing blister packaged items. The battle too exhausting, the sound too loud, and the risk too great. Therein lay the beauty of custom blister packaging.

Not too mention the reasonably low cost of thermoformed plastic packages means that virtually any product can enjoy the protection. Because people steal low ticket items too, let’s be honest.

So even though wrap rage is a thing, we all accept it. And there are options to making even hard-to-open packaging into easy-open. (Clear instructions being a biggie.) So next time you nick your thumb trying to open that pair of headphones, replace that expletive with a hearty Thanks, Blister Packaging! You’re just doing your job! I get it!

Clearing the Air on Clamshell Packaging

Clamshell packaging is capable of storing an array of products from electronics to toys. Clamshells are often criticized for contributing to wrap rage; the heightened level of anger and frustration resulting in the inability to open hard to remove packaging. Although clamshells have gotten a bad rap, they are a very beneficial packaging option. They provide increased security and protection for products. They may be difficult to open, but they keep products safe and secure.

There are a couple different kinds of clamshells. The first kind is the clamshell packaging most commonly found in retail. These clamshells are thermoformed. This is a manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, then formed to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product. Clamshells are named because of the hinge it possesses. They can have one or more hinges. A clamshell with a single hinge usually includes a hanger tab, allowing it to hang from store pegs. Clamshells with multi hinges allow the packaging to have a flat base so the product can stand upright. Although these are the ones that gives us the wrap rage, they are a wonderful way to showcase products. The clear plastic allows great visibility to consumers. They are also very versatile, in that they can be designed in many ways that cater to specific products.

The next type of clamshell packaging is clamshell CD/DVD cases. These are a great alternative to traditional jewel cases and paper sleeves. These cases provide excellent security with is strong center hub to keep discs in place. Clamshell CD/DVD cases are a fantastic way to save on storage space. Their slim design allows for more to be stored at once than standard disc packaging.

Ever wonder how clamshell packaging came to be?
Look familiar?