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Struggling to open a new jar of mayonnaise.(Jeff Cook/QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Jeff Cook

This morning I will try to get into a new box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. It will be simple enough to open the box, but the plastic sack with the corn flakes promises to be an awful frustration. Human hands cannot rip or squeeze open that sack. I will have to use scissors or knife.

Such frustration is not necessary. The Kellogg brothers first marketed corn flakes 105 years ago. If their successors cannot simplify their packaging, we should turn to the despair of eating oatmeal.

Opening everything is a conspiracy. The struggle is a cruel distraction to take our minds off the high price we must pay for all goods.

Jars of everything, pickles to peanut butter, are becoming tougher to open. That is another ploy because now they are selling grippers that are supposed to make it easier to open jars.

Those grippers, like every other thing you buy, will be in thick plastic packaging that dares you to break through. Everything is in impenetrable plastic. A friend bought new door knobs that were sealed in such thick plastic that he had to use a hacksaw to open the package.

Nothing is spared. A tiny battery is so encased in bulky plastic - 10 times the battery's size - that it could take an ax to get at it.

Few things are more irritating to open than CDs. There is no way to get off the plastic wrapping unless you rub it on something with texture, like your sidewalk. Once the plastic is off, there is the challenge of getting to the CD. I did not play my latest Tony Bennett for three days because I couldn't figure out how to open the case.

There is no excuse for the makers of salted crackers to seal them so tightly into packs of four waxy paper tubes to a box. They have done that since the 1870s. By the time I have wrestled open a tube of saltines, the crackers at the top have crumbled. The rest cannot be extracted by fingers without breaking them up. If we can get to the moon, can't someone package crackers so they don't break into pieces when a hungry luncher is trying to get them out to go with tomato soup?

Plastic bags of munchies are a torment. I give up trying to pull open the top. In desperation I usually pop the package. The chips or pretzels then explode all over.

Pet owners say the packaging of cat and dog food is cruel. The tops of sacks and their tricky strings are a misery.

For safety's sake, it's OK to hermetically seal medications. But I shudder to open a new bottle of headache killer. First, you line up the cap and an arrow to pry it open. Not easy. Then, there is a tightly glued foil seal. Beneath that, the ball of cotton takes a tweezers to extract. By then, my headache is gone.

Even Uncle Sam can be accused of packaging torment. I just bought a roll of postage stamps that was so tightly bound I wrecked the first couple of stamps just peeling off the cellophane.

Contact Bill Wundram at 563-383-2249 or