Wrap Rage: The Real Dangers of Excessive Packaging


One product-packaging trend has given birth to a growing problem known as "wrap rage."

Wrap rage is the term coined to describe the frustration—and oftentimes injury—that difficult-to-open packaging creates.

Around the holidays, wrap rage can be a more common occurrence because of all the presents that are buried in complex packages.

American Medical News reported that plastic "clamshell" or "oyster" packaging is to blame for thousands of injuries each year.

Manufacturers and retailers favor this type of packaging because it provides protection during shipping and makes items difficult to shoplift.

Consumers can easily see the product through the packaging, but problems arise after it's purchased and can't be easily removed from the package.

In order to extract these conveniently packaged goods, super strength, patience and sharp tools are often required. And, it's the use of sharp tools that lands many people in emergency rooms each year with lacerations and puncture wounds.

Preventative Measures

Some companies have noticed how much we hate clamshell packaging - and the injuries it causes - and have announced plans to do something about it.

Amazon.com's founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, has said that it may take many years, but the company's vision is to offer all products in less frustrating packaging. Amazon will start by offering 19 products in easy-open cardboard boxes, rather than plastic clamshell packaging.

Other companies, including Microsoft, also have plans for more consumer-friendly packaging.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that an average of 6,000 people per year end up in hospital emergency rooms due to packaging-related injuries. Countless others also suffer injuries while opening products but don’t visit the hospital.

The problem is so widespread that, in 2006, Consumer Reports Magazine started giving the most difficult-to-open products the "oyster award".

The packaging has also created a market for tools specifically designed to help consumers tackle the job of opening merchandise.

Doctors hope that a trend of easier-to-open packaging will reduce the number of injuries, as well as the stress and frustration that clam and oyster shells bring to the holiday season.

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