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How to Open Clamshell Packaging

Why Is It So Hard to Open Plastic Packages?

Last night I was faced with the task of putting new ink cartridges in my boyfriend's printer and was reminded of how tricky it is to open hard clamshell packaging. It's honestly a battle I confront multiple times a week, so I decided it was time to do a little research. Why do manufactures make it so complicated? It's mostly to detour shoplifters — the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention estimates losses from pilferage at more than $25 million per day so keeping small goods in plastic until they are purchased is paramount. Consumer Reports says:

  • Federal safety laws require seals that will show evidence of tampering, and child-safety caps on most over-the-counter remedies, though that often makes them adultproof.
  • Products from abroad must be packed securely enough to withstand a long, bouncy voyage aboard a cargo ship.
  • With toys, it’s no longer enough to picture what’s inside. Children and parents like to interact with the toy or at least see all the pieces before buying.

All fair points, but that doesn't make getting items open any easier. So how should you get your hard to budge sealed cases open? For my tips,

I usually end up using a combination of scissors, a screwdriver and or a knife. It's neither scientific or fail proof, but eventually, I get the package open. Looking for an easier route? Check the package carefully before you start struggling. Many companies have started putting tiny perforations and tabs on their clamshell packages. When you do cut, cut the package along the seam or outer edge, don't demolish the plastic in case you want to return it later.

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