Maddening Packaging Tricks

Product packaging-boxes, blister packs, and fancy packaging-can add up to a mountain of frustration. Consumer Reports gets a raft of complaints about all sorts of packaging problems.

Opening a box of cereal shouldn't cause an "explosion.' But Consumer Reports says that's just one of many "Packaging Gotchas."

Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, "We literally get hundreds of letters, cards, e-mails, posts on our Facebook page from disgruntled consumers who are fed up with lousy packaging."

Gotcha number one-

"Oysters." They're those hard-to-open packages.

Marks says, "Several readers complained vehemently about the No-Touch Kitchen System from Lysol, saying it was basically impervious to every implement they could bring to the table."

And freeing a Barbie doll isn't much easier!

Marks says, "Trying to pull her out, can't do that...We've got those ties on the back going through her head...She's still stuck. DING!"

Another gotcha-

"Downsizing." These Barbasol shaving cream cans are the same size. But one is eleven ounces and the other is ten.

The company says, "A slightly reduced product volume improved function..."

Ivory Soap used to weigh four-and-a-half ounces. Now it's just four.

Marks says, "They're keeping the price the same but giving you less for your money. Well, gosh, that amounts to a price increase if you ask me."

Then there's the Black Hole...packages that make products look bigger than they are. Take this container of Velveeta Shells & Cheese. Once you're done making it, look how little food is actually inside.

And check out how little is inside this box of Nice! Apricots.

Marks says, "Companies spend roughly 130 billion dollars a year on product packaging. Roughly seven percent of a product's cost is in the packaging. So it's coming out of manufacturer's pockets, and it's coming out of consumers' pockets."

Consumer Reports contacted companies regarding the packaging complaints.

Lysol says a scissors should be enough to open its soap dispenser.

Mattel had no comment.

Kraft says it leaves room for water in the Velveeta Shells n' Cheese and that noodles expand.

Ivory says its half-ounce bar soap reduction is due to increased production costs.

And Nice Apricots said it will evaluate its product.

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