An aisle to call our own

Tamper proofing is actually not a modern invention. Letters were always sealed with wax in ancient times, then cans of baby food brought back concerns of tampering, but it was the Tylenol debacle back in 1982 that started the modern ideas for packaging.

Of course, I can see the manufacturer’s point of view, but don’t you think we’ve gone a little too far on keeping products sealed and safe?

Mothers surely have learned by now to lock down all that scary stuff in the medicine cabinet and those monster chemical products under the sink. But, no, everything you buy these days is sealed to perfection — and I mean everything.

It all looks pretty, totally encased in plastic, but take it from me, scissors don’t always do the trick if you have arthritis in your hands, and particularly your thumbs.

I am a lover of sardines, which I believe are full of protein. They come in a rectangular tin, and there’s a tab to pull. Here’s where a husband comes in handy! Alas, if there’s no one around and the tab breaks, then what? Out comes the special can opener designed for the older lady of the house. These little gadgets are supposed to run around the lid unaided by the human hand, and Presto! Open.

These gizmos work with round cans of soup and such, but try it with an oddly shaped container and you’re out of luck. Mine just kept buzzing in one spot until the battery ran out.

Many will say, “Well, the old-fashioned can openers work quite well for that odd shape.”

Yes, if you can turn the handle! That Arthur-Itis will get you every time. I have ended up in tears, and that’s no joke.

In my gardening world, I treat my roses with an occasional dose of systemic granules that come in a beautiful plastic jug. Instructions to open: “Squeeze and Turn.” You’ve got to be kidding. Here’s where a hammer and a large screwdriver come in handy. One good stab with the screwdriver and a whack of the hammer, and you have a neat hole opposite the handle. Perfect.

Just to finish this whole charade, I must add that Listerine bottles are the worst. It’s impossible for me to “pinch and turn” the top. I asked the nice man at the checkout counter in the store to loosen the top for me. I arrived home with my groceries floating in mouthwash.

I do think manufacturers should give some thought to packaging for those of us who are handicapped with arthritis. I would prefer a special aisle in a supermarket with a sign, "Senior-packaged Products Only."

Now, what would be wrong with that? At least that’s how I see it.

— Emma A. Ewing lives in Brookings.

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