May 23, 2013
Written by Ellen Beveridge
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 11:04
Up front, let me make it perfectly clear where I'm coming from. I'm coming from a time in my life when I've been labeled a senior citizen for more years than I care to admit, and I'm coming from a physical state where there is not the strength in my fingers and hands there once was.
This being said, I'll launch into some of my everyday frustrations. They have to do with all the child-proof bottles and containers one has to contend with and the new-fangled packaging some manufacturers come up with; packaging that often makes life more challenging than I think it needs to be.
Let's begin with a plastic prescription medicine bottle: On the cap are instructions to press your palm firmly on the larger-than-normal bottle cap and turn counter-clockwise. Why this does not work for me nine times out of 10?
I've sometimes solved the problem by putting the bottle in the kitchen sink; at this lower starting point I find I have more leverage to press down and success may then be mine.
There is the smaller-size medicine bottle that comes with a little arrow on the cap that you must line up with a matching arrow on the bottle. I think I'm being very precise with my matching up, but here again success is not always forthcoming.
"Why can't I do this?" I ask myself in desperation. Sometimes I solve the problem when I grab a bottle opener and literally pry the cap lose.
Speaking of bottle tops, I have a favorite liquid toilet cleaner that presents another frustration. Reading the instructions, I find I must press my index finger and thumb on specific spots on opposite sides of the cap, squeeze and turn, again counter-clockwise.
Here's where my lack of strength frustrates again — it doesn't work for me! I've solved this problem by asking the supermarket check-out clerk to open the bottle for me; then I wrap it separately in a plastic bag and very carefully bring it home ever mindful not to screw the cap back on tight.
Oh, how I dislike facing the can with the "convenient ring" as the way to open it. I hook my forefinger in the ring and pull with all the strength I can muster, but nothing happens; all I get for my effort is a deep impression in my finger, almost to the point that it hurts.
This was my aggravation with a small can of crushed pineapple. Pull as I might, I only managed to get a very small opening in the can, and, as it turned out, I was sorry for that result. It was only after my lack of success that I read in small print around the lid that a can opener would work on the bottom side of the can, but not on the top where the ring was.
Ah, success! Well, not completely. My tried-and-true opener worked just fine, but most of the liquid dripped out on the counter from the hole I had created on the top side of the can. Some days you just can't win.
I will say in defense of these cans with rings that for some reason I never have any trouble opening a can of sardines.
Let's move on to a bottle of maple syrup, the sugar-free brand that I buy. The top comes off easily enough, but then there's this thin cap of aluminum foil that covers the opening. There are minuscule tabs on four side of the foil, far too small to get a finger grip. So I resort to stabbing the foil with the tip of a knife and lifting it off that way. Who thinks up these challenges, anyway?
How about those heavy plastic wrappers that cheese slices come in? There's a little notch at the top of the package where, when pulled at, makes for a convenient opening, at least that's what the manufacturer would have you believe. But it doesn't work for me — so scissors to the rescue.
In this same plastic packaging category, the bacon I purchase comes with a small red half-circle at the top that says to "peel here" to open. Once again the frustration surfaces; it seems to take me forever to find just the right technique so that the peel really works the way it is supposed to.
So, I've come to some conclusions: Not all the modern ways of packaging are what they're cracked up to be; regarding the child-proof caps, some of them might as well be considered adult-proof too.
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