If you suffer from wrap rage, listen up!

Easy open? One wonders if anyone at the factory ever tried to get into one of these packages.

All I wanted was a cracker: a Triscuit to be precise.

But  I…couldn’t…open…the… package! Which had me saying all kinds of impolite things as I wrestled with the plastic bag inside the hermetically sealed cardboard box that had already tried my patience.

But it’s not just crackers that have me irritated. There’s the pet food bags that come with a string one just needs to pull and voilà the kibble bag is opened. But the thing rarely works, which has me reaching for a bone-handled camping knife I now keep on hand so I might stab those bags open. Then there are the drink containers which require me to fiddle with tiny plastic tabs that periodically break off leaving the cap useless. And let’s not forget those seals inside the peanut butter jar where one must attempt to grasp a miniscule flap and pull. I suppose the manufacturers intend for the lid to come off in one pretty, round piece, but more often than not the cover just rips and I’m off to find that camping knife and the stabbing begins anew.

My frustration no doubt stems from the fact that I’m old enough to remember when opening packages was simple. Today, however, just about everything we buy is encased in practically indestructible plastic clamshells and blister packs, shrink wrap and cling film. And though manufacturers insist their products are easy to open, we know they’re not.

I blame it all on the Tylenol Killer, a still unknown person who thought it would be just fine to lace acetaminophen capsules with cyanide back in 1982. Seven people died. And just like that, food and drug packaging changed. While I don’t generally believe in the death penalty, in this case I’d volunteer to push that plunger filled with potassium chloride, if only we could find the perp.

My go-to implement when attacking difficult packaging is my bone-handled camping knife.

So you know, I’m not the only one complaining. There’s actually a name for this “syndrome.” It’s called wrap rage, which is defined as “the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open packaging, particularly some heat-sealed plastic blister packs and clamshells.”

The thing is, it’s not like all this iron-clad packaging has made us safer. In fact, a British study revealed about 60,000 people suffer injuries annually that require hospital treatment—6,000 in the U.S. alone—because of their herculean attempts to open packages. The reason for these wounds is because, as I’ve already mentioned, we get frustrated and resort to dangerous implements—razors, box cutters, scissors, ice picks, and even bone-handled camping knives— in our efforts to open containers.

I looked for tips on how to deal with wrap rage, but I didn’t find much except that you should “never hold the item between your legs to stabilize it.” One wonders why that particular situation stands out, but I don’t want to think about it.

How can we avoid wrap rage? Next time you’re hungry try a banana or an apple. But since we can’t completely dodge impenetrable packaging, always have your bone-handled camping knife nearby.

Find Anne Montgomery’s novels wherever you buy books.



6 thoughts on “If you suffer from wrap rage, listen up!

  1. Jeff Leaf says:

    Wrap Rage? I thought that was when you get pissed off because the stuff wrapped in your soft tortilla leaks out, especially between your legs.
    To give equal time to the wrapped stuff, think how stale your cookies would be without that hermetically sealed packaging? Why not keep one of those paper guillotines you had in school handy? It would certainly keep you from putting things between your legs.
    For full disclosure, I keep a folded pocket knife available. I worry about having that blade out when my sweety goes off the rails. Opening the folded knife gives a little time to avoid an awkward moment.


    • annemontgomeryauthor2013 says:

      I don’t know if the crackers are fresher or not, Jeff. Though that seems reasonable. And yes, it’s probably a good idea to keep that pocket knife closed. 😉


  2. sharonledwith says:

    I hear you, sista! Add a flare-up of arthritis, and let the opening games begin. Now, where’s my knife? LOL! Great post, Anne! Try to keep sane. Wink.


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