Nearly everything I purchase requires some sort of tool to open the packaging. It has passed the stage of bothersome; it is driving me nuts.

Let me share some examples of what I mean about this new wave of packaging:

• Medicine bottles that are protected by a child proof cap and covered by a heat shrunk film of plastic. The bottle mouth also is sealed with a tinfoil membrane. The container is usually one-quarter full.

• Impenetrably thick clear plastic cases that surround batteries and assorted small parts are found everywhere.

• Peanut butter jars whose caps are tightly held by a strip of clear plastic. They are particularly aggravating at an early breakfast.

• A tab top can that will rip off your fingernail when you try to lift it or cut you when you pull it open. Very dangerous.

Another example of modern packaging involves the lowly cereal box. After crushing the grain, adding water and assorted vitamins and extruding it into a long stringy shape, it is allowed to dry. It then is broken into short pieces that resemble what is usually found around mouse holes. Finally, this cereal is sealed in two tough plastic bags — designed to keep it ultra-fresh, I guess — and placed into the cardboard box. These plastic, air-inflated tubes can be opened only with a keen-edged instrument.

I’m just an old guy who remembers when packaging wasn’t a science. It was merely a means to ship a product. Bare hands, regular fingernails and two sharp teeth would open those old containers.

It was much less frustrating and a whole lot cheaper.

Richard Joseph LaPorte, Skowhegan

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