Defeated by the plastic packaging, I attacked it with a knife.

Nov 28, 2023
Our Starts at 60 blogger takes on the daily struggle of stubborn packaging, from muesli bags that defy tearing to soy sauce lids that play hard to get. Source: Getty Images.

Don’t be alarmed by the headline – I am not a murderous grandma, just an older person totally flummoxed by the packaging containing the goods that I buy. I understand that things need to be hygienic hopefully, or safely wrapped, but getting some of these things out of the packaging is like attacking Fort Knox.

Take my muesli. I’ve got the greek yogurt and blueberries in the bowl, now to open the newly purchased muesli. Good, a tear top with a resealable thing to keep it fresh. But no, the wretched thing will not tear so I grab the scissors and cut it open. Peel back the opening, but it won’t open, its sort of jammed and my muscles aren’t strong enough to rip it apart. So the scissors again, and I pour it into a jar as the packaging won’t obviously do its job

First world problem I know, but take the packs of batteries in the rigid plastic – I saw them open with the bread knife. New lipsticks packaged so tightly they will be out of date by the time I open them, and other cosmetics too. The child safe lid on the bleach bottle and the oral mouth wash baffle me with needing to press this square thing which I can only see with my specs to prise the lid off. I’ve been known to just saw it off with a bread carving knife. Shampoo in the shower with those handy little pump things on top. I love them, but trying to find my glasses to work out which way is clockwise till I hear the satisfying pop stresses me out. And why not a large C and S to identify them to the short-sighted?

Likewise, body lotion and other bathroom things seem to lie in wait to cause me grief. The lids off jam jars I’ve worked out with a plastic thingy which pops the seal and loosens them up for me. I’ve been stabbed in the palm of my hand by a vicious soy sauce bottle lid. Cut a finger and nearly bled out trying to open the baking paper roll, and pricked on the finger like an ancient sleeping beauty with a savage fly spray.

Online shopping has become a real boon for me, and although some of the packaging is eco friendly and practical, others have so much sellotape I’m sawing away with my handy serrated bread knife. After almost cutting off a finger I finally get to the goodies hiding inside. Now I know this all sounds like a bit of a whinge, but life has enough challenges to deal with cheerfully than to take two days and a trip to a teenage grandchild to open up a litre of motor oil. So what’s the answer I ask you? Do we have things presented in a naked and unwrapped state, probably not a good idea, but surely there is an easier way than having something so encased in an airtight package sealed with the strongest glue ever, that the possibility of an injury will occur when the buyer tries to open it.

Oh dear. At least the pack of tea bags was easy to open, and the screw tops on wine bottles make life a lot easier. Cheese wrapped in foil, bread in a plastic bag I can manage and because I’m a nifty nan, I can always check on YouTube for a visual clue to my dilemma.

What household items flummox you as you try to prise them open?

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up