This is a rant about packaging, you know, the easy-opening aspirin bottle—just line up the arrows and press down, or the twist off cap that needs a thin knife to get under the plastic that encloses the lid.
I understand the need for Fort Knox wrappings. Yes, there were nasty, evil people who used to open jars in grocery stores and spit in them or put something toxic in them. Or curious shoppers who would unscrew a bottle, breaking the seal, just to smell the contents. Or those who drank said contents and then screwed on the top and put the half empty container back on the shelf.
Child-proof containers are unfortunately quite necessary. They were made for kids like my daughter who, as a child, ate an entire jar of Flintstone vitamins and promptly broke out in hives. We were lucky nothing worse happened.
Knowing why super strong Houdini-proof packaging exists doesn’t make them any easier to open for normal adults and even harder for adults with aging fingers and weak hands. So what is the solution?
There should be clear instructions that actually work. Start here with your needle-nosed pliers or pull the secret tab (hint: it’s a different color) or insert scissors here for easy snipping of the plastic cover, then get a strong neighbor to twist off the cap. Caution: Don’t use your teeth.
Keep scissors handy for the “tear here” resealable bags that don’t tear and quick-frozen items like fish where your kitchen scissors often have to cut into the meat in order to get the plastic off.
Request easy opening caps for your prescription drugs and search for that kind of cap on shelved pharmaceuticals. Hopefully you can get the plastic wrapping off.
My son gave me a portable electric can opener that fits on the top of the can and cuts along the outside of the lid. Works great and saves my fingers from dull manual can openers. My daughter gave me a cone-shaped piece of rubber that fits over a jar lid and actually makes it easier to twist off. (You still have to grab hard and tug so not for arthritic hands—find that neighbor for this).
Finally, let’s talk about wine-bottle openers. Lots of products on the market are designed for imbibers with weak hands (I think the wine industry has this down). I lived in Sonoma for 20 years and learned to be a wine snob so I love bottles with corks and have a handy dandy device that pulls it right out—usually.
But if you still have trouble, don’t fret. Find a wine you like with a screw top. Even I can usually get that off unaided, but a sharp knife blade around the opening usually does it. Have a Band-Aid handy, just in case.
The last bit of advice is particularly important if you can’t get other bottles, jars, or packages open. Just sit and drink while you contemplate ways to annihilate manufacturers who tout “easy opening packaging.”
I also write kissing books. You can find me here: