From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Consumer Reports announced its first-ever Oyster Awards in this month’s issue, with first prize going to the hard-plastic clamshell packaging for the Uniden Digital Cordless Phone set, which took nine minutes and 22 seconds to open — not the longest, but by far the most dangerous, requiring box cutters and a razor blade. Second prize went to “American Idol” Barbie and her packaging, which didn’t require the same kinds of lethal weapons but took 15 minutes and 10 seconds to untie all the wires, rip the stitches from her hair and slice the thick plastic manacles off her arms and torso.
“Today’s packages force consumers to fight tooth and nail to get at what’s inside,” said Todd Marks, a senior editor at Consumer Reports, who conducted the tests and also singled out video games, pills in blister packs and cereal packaging as high up on the frustration meter.
Concerns about hard-to-open packaging may not be just about consumer inconvenience. According to 2001 Census Bureau data, people suffered more than twice as many injuries related to household packaging and containers than from skateboards or swimming pools.
“Organized retail theft is a huge, multi-billion dollar problem, and unless someone can invent a pilfer-proof package, manufacturers are not going to change,” said Mary Ann Falkman, editor-in-chief of Packaging Digest, an industry magazine. “These products are very high-theft items, and larger retailers like Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R Us cannot afford the amount of theft that occurs in their stores otherwise.”