Friday, January 21, 2011

South of the Border


Today's picture was taken in about 1900 in Caracas, Venezuala. It looks a lot like the shops I remember in Mexico in the 1960's. Now this is a shop I could really get excited about. The guy in the back . . . I bet those are 50 pound bags of pinto beans he is sitting on. It looks like fresh coconuts under the counter. What I like about these types of shops is how there is no wasteful packaging. If you wanted pinto beans, they would have a simple sheet of paper, they would weigh out your beans, pour them onto the paper, and then fold up the neatest little package from the paper. Then, as a customer, you would have your own canvas satchel that you would put the packet of beans in. As I have mentioned before, I am NOT part of the green movement, but I really hate all the waste in packaging of our groceries and other items today. Take razor blades for example. The blades are in a little case, which is in a bigger case, which is encapsulated in a plastic bubble which is connected to a large plastic/cardboard backing. Ridiculous, and hard to open I might add. I hate the waste, and I hate the hard to open part. Some of the packages are such tough plastic, that even normal kitchen scissors can not cut through them. I have actually cut my hand pretty bad on the plastic on some of these packages trying to get them open. I really wish we would go back to a simpler system for purchasing grocery items in bulk and with less waste in the packaging.

19 comments:

  1. I do hate the wasteful packaging we get nowadays. A while back one of the major supermarket chains over here started selling individually wrapped apples.
    I don't think it lasted long before the green crowd grabbed them by the gonads and made them change it.

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  2. It seems at time that the packaging may cost more than the product inside.

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  3. So true about the packaging and I agree completely (and I'm not green, either). If it were merely things like the razor blades, then I'd think maybe it was because of safety issues. The store really doesn't want a shoplifter to get cut while pilfering, then suing the store, the manufacturer, ad nauseam. Now nearly everything is packaged or super-packaged!

    When I went to the T.G.&Y. as a kid, most of the cheap toys were piled in shallow bins on the shelf - no packaging at all. There are a few places (like Cracker Barrel) that still do this, but they are rare.

    Why did this happen? Does anyone in manufacturing or marketing know the answer?

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  4. I love watching movies/shows where they wrap the packages in brown paper and string :)

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  5. by far the worst waste of packaging has got to be kids toys . having 3 girls age 11-23 ive probably filled a landfill with needless packaging from barbie dolls alone

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  6. I've been told that cumbersome packaging is a deterrent to shoplifting. I don't really understand that. Other people have told me that complicated packaging is an attempt to keep people from tampering with the contents of items on store shelves. Makes more sense, but still...

    My favorite things are products that shriek concern about the environment, but wrap themselves in the carbon footprint of an elephant. It's like people with five kids and six cars going berserk when someone discards a plastic bag.

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  7. From what I have heard it's a common emergency room theme... cutting yourself trying to open those tough packages. I've had close calls in the past trying to open them with utility knives or pocket folders. Now I use a pair of metal shears (tin snips).

    John

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  8. Barbie dolls ! Talk about over packaging! First you have to cut through the thick heat sealed plastic without cutting the dolls hair or fingers off. Then the hard part begins. How many twist ties, rubber bands and fastners does it take to hold a Barbie doll to a piece of card board? Lets say you get the barbie with the kitchen set, or some other theme, all the little plastic pieces are also individually held to the cardboard with more twist ties and fastners. I think they use the same devices to hold the space shuttle to the space station when docking. Meanwhile a 5 year old is jumping up and down with anticipation while I'm trying to get all these little accesories free. Don't even get me started on all the little decals that have to be attached to the barbie kitchen. Whew, thanks for this site. I've been meaning to get this off my chest since Christmas! I feel so much better.
    Dave 107

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  9. Something most people dont think about, they will sell you a special tool to get into those hard to open packages but what do you open the tool package with . just something to think over. todd from N.C

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  10. Re packaging, one Christmas I gave all the mothers on my list side cutters.
    http://www.wanderingfree.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Side-Cutters.jpg

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  11. Some parents drop their kids off in the toy department to wander while they shop elsewhere in the store. The toys would all be broken and used if they were to easy to open! I guess each large dept. store need to have a babysitter/clerk in the toy dept. might not be as expensive as all that safe pkging. but some parents allow their kids to play with the toys that don't belong to them.

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  12. When I was a kid, looking at the toys didn't mean playing with the toys. Unsupervised or not it wasn't on my radar to do anything but look. I guess some parents don't want to discipline their kids or burden them with a sense of right and wrong for fear it will "break their spirit".

    John

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  13. You don't need to be part of the "Green Movement" to detest wastefulness, especially wasteful packaging, and nonsense. Further, bulky packaging doesn't discourage theft; it is the presence of other human beings watching those who might be inclined to commit shameful acts they otherwise would not save that they see their reflection in the eyes of another human being.

    My childhood was the same as John's in that being in the toy department, even unsupervised, meant looking at toys and did not mean playing with them because they did not belong to you. You learned this from your parents who cared enough to give you guidelines on how to behave as a human being. IMHO, the parents (of those children who don't know better) are the ones who should be supervised into being better adults and better citizens.

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  14. About what Astrocrabpuff said, Hear, hear!

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  15. Amen brother. The packaging at Costco is especially annoying. Those hard, plastic display packages are not easy to open with or without arthritis.

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  16. The biggest reason for the excessive packaging is so the product will survive the journey from overseas in various tumultuous conditions and still be intact. I have heard the 90% of the hard plastic shells are there solely for that reason. When you have to survive a 2 month trip on a boat and then another couple days being jostled in the back of a semi just to get to the store shelf, contained in a hard shell guarantees it looks just like when it left the factory in China...

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  17. Looks like a young Dianne Feinstein

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  18. In Madrid, they have traditional markets where they put your fruits and veggies in little paper bags or they roll up a paper in a cone shape and then close it. Must people bring a food trolly to put their goods in. Italy has currently banned all plastic bags after a report that they were the European country that consumed the most amount of bags.

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  19. I must have let this one slip last time I looked for updates on your site. As always, I'm glad to see things crop up from South America. Very interesting. Keep going!

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