Once upon a time, in the dear dead days beyond recall, stuff was easy to get into. By “stuff” I mean cans, bottles, boxes (large and small) and packets of pills, beans, pop, batteries, razor blades, elastic bands, string, coffee, and the little bells we put round cats’ necks to warn birdies of their approach despite the fact that this latter mostly doesn’t work because research shows that because intelligent cats know that their bell is on an elasticated collar, they can pull it outwards and become able to spit in the bell, leaving them free to slaughter at will.
But that apart, these days, stuff is getting harder and harder to actually open . This morning I noticed that my coffee jar was virtually empty. Its rather a handsome blue ceramic number with – helpfully – “coffee” written on it. Fortunately, I had a refill pack to hand which proclaimed that it was “resealable”.
That’s all very well. The real problem was opening the thing. They’re sealed up like those cardboard milk containers – apparently open bits at either end – and instructional exhortations to push the ends together thus breaking the seal across the middle. This is as good a way as any of spraying milk all over the place as any. Coffee refill packs are even worse and compel me to reach for a sharp knife with which to access yer actual coffee, rendering the resealable bit useless.
I sometimes think that the people in charge of sealing stuff up in factories move the dial on their sealing up machines from “easy to open” to “bloody impossible to open” – just for a laugh. I mean, being in charge of a sealing up machine’s got to be a tad boring, right?
And beans – baked ones. Once we had to labour long and hard with a tin-opener to get at them, but at least there was a sense of achievement therein.
Now, of course, all we have to do is pull the little metal loop fastened to the lid and… but what if the little metal loop comes off without opening the lid? Deep frustration.
Batteries are the same – encased in a stout transparent container (stout? you could drive a tank over them) so that, frustratingly, you can see your prey, but you can’t get at it without a great deal of pulling and pushing – which doesn’t work – resulting in final recourse to a lump hammer. Interestingly, I’ve never bought a lump hammer which was inaccessibly sealed into anything.
Finally – pills. Once these came in little brown bottles with screwy lids which came off when you screwed them. Not now. To get at your much-needed medication, you have to press down, turn to the right, release downward pressure, turn to the left… a sort of medical hokey-cokey. But far worse than that are blister packs. These enable you to press on one side of the foil and flirt a pill yards across the room. My dog’s cholesterol levels are probably fine.
Oh, I forgot. Screws. They now come in impossible to open plastic packs which means that when something needs fixing, I resort to a damned big nail and my non-packaged lump hammer.