Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Minute-By-Minute Play Of Opening A Packaged Toy

A satirical look at opening any toy package.

Minute 1: I evaluate the packaging. Looks like I'm going to need scissors to cut the cardboard open and a knife to cut the white plastic zip ties off. There are only 14 pieces to the toy, I should have this open in less than 10 minutes.

Minute 2: I cut the first layer of cardboard. It sucked. I had to stab the corner with the scissors to get an entry point because the cardboard was too thick to start cutting at the edge. The kids are climbing on my back, excited about the toy. I politely tell them to back off; I don't want to accidentally cut them.

Minute 3: Oh my God. There's a second layer of cardboard. What a bitch. This doesn't make any sense. Why do they need a second layer? Not only that, they zip-tied the layers of cardboard together. WTF? I stab and cut some more, terrified that I'm stabbing a critical component of the toy. The kids ask when the toy will be ready to play with. I tell them to just be patient.

Minute 4: I free the bottom and left side of cardboard. Accomplishment! Almost there. Then I flip the toy over and see that the base of the main part of it is encased in hard, clear plastic AND screwed in with actual screws. A small part of my soul, along with my optimism, dies. I get a screwdriver, swearing under my breath.

Minute 5: I cut open the hard plastic, cutting one of my fingers on the sharp edges. Fuck. Now I'm bleeding. I get a Band-Aid. The kids ask again when the toy will be ready to play with. I bite back the urge to tell them to just shut their faces up, and instead say, "Give me a few minutes!" through gritted teeth.

Minute 6: I finally get the plastic free, receiving another cut in the process. I don't bother with more Band-Aids. I'm sweating and swearing and bleeding, and I've barely made any headway. My blood pressure is rising. 

Minute 7: I start in on the screws. Holy shit. There are eighteen of them. Are you fucking kidding me? Not only that, the heads of them are so small I can barely get the screwdriver in them. YOU SUCK, SCREWS.

Minute 8: The first two screws come out somewhat easily. The third screw's head strips. Jesus Christ. I get the tiny screwdriver for my eyeglasses and perform surgery to get the screw out. Only 15 more to go. I hate this toy with every fiber of my being.

Minute 9: One kid jumps on my back and the screwdriver stabs into my thigh. The kids ask again when the toy will be ready to play with. I ignore them and mutter profanities under my breath while using the cardboard from the packaging to soak up the blood dripping from my leg BECAUSE I'M NOT GETTING UP AGAIN.

Minute 10: I get five more screws free. My hands are cramping from using the tiny screwdriver, and they're soaked with sweat, making it even harder to get a grip. I'm seriously so pissed off. So. Pissed. Off.

Minute 11: The ninth screw's head also strips. I suppress the urge to beat the fucking toy into the ground until it comes free. WHY DO THEY HAVE TO USE SCREWS? IT'S A FUCKING FIFTEEN DOLLAR TOY! I angrily hack at the hard black plastic that the screw is screwed into with the screwdriver, knowing that I'm probably going to injure myself again but past caring.

Minute 12: This is hell. I get three more screws out. I realize that the actual toy cost the manufacturer 32 cents and the packaging cost them seven dollars.

Minute 13: I finally get all the screws out. I should feel better but I'm too pissed off. I need a drink. The kids ask when the toy will be ready and I scream at them in my psycho-mom voice that it will be ready when I FINALLY GET IT OUT OF THE GODDAMN PACKAGE.

Minute 14: With the screws out and another layer of packaging broken away, I now see that they used those wire twist ties encased in flexible plastic to secure parts of the toy down. Holy shit. There are 25 of them. And, they didn't just twist them and leave them, they turned up the edges and twisted those around the lower part, too. What the fucking fuck 
The pants of my sons' future girlfriends better be this hard to get into. 

Minute 15: Figuring out which way to untwist the first section of the tie without further tangling the second section of twists makes a Rubik's Cube seem like child's play. I hate the world.

Minute 16: I finally get three ties untwisted. I'm pretty sure my heart is going to explode. I should walk away now but I'm too invested. This toy will not defeat me.

Minutes 17 & 18: I pull the first of the 14 toy components free, but it takes two minutes because the ties are all kinked up and I have to rotate my wrist in 42 different directions to get them out of the tiny holes in the third layer of cardboard that they're stuck through. But when I rotate in one direction, the other ties somehow slip back into the hole, effectively making me start over. Eventually, I step on the cardboard and, powered by utter rage, wrench the fucking toy free. But then, once the toy is loose, the ties are somehow stuck into the toy and it takes the strength of three men on steroids- or my pure rage- to rip them off. Three down, only 22 more to go. I want to die.

Minute 19: The unnecessary molded plastic coverings that stick to the toy I finally freed fall down around me. I impatiently brush them off my legs and arms and they land with the 12 billion other scraps of discarded packaging. 

Minute 20: I work on the next section of ties. I'm confident that I'll be able to untwist these faster because I figured out the flow of the twists on the first section. No. The bastards are twisted in the other direction now. What the hellThere is no God. 

Minute 21: I'm ready to call up the person who gave this toy to the kids and tell them to come open the goddamn thing. I hate them, I hate me, I hate the toy, I hate my kids, I hate everything right now. Jesus Christ. 

Minutes 22-23: I black out from rage.

Minute 24: After coming to, I free one tie, puncturing my finger on the tip of it. My blood pressure is so high that the blood actually squirts, not drips, onto the toy. 

Minute 25: I free three more ties and one more component of the toy. I tell the kids, "Hey I got part of the toy out!" but they don't hear me because they've lost all interest and have gone outside. Quitters.

Minutes 26-28: I get all the ties untwisted and am sweating profusely. This is ridiculous. I swear to God, if the person that packaged the toy walked into my living room right now, I would slash their throat with the sharp plastic then stab their eyes out with the wire ties. 

Minute 29: I discover that several of the toy components are also tied together with a thin, rope-like string. String. WHY? I want to hang myself with the string but realize that it's not strong enough to support my weight. I start laughing instead, but it's the kind of laugh that a person does right before their mind snaps.

Minutes 30-31: I lose a couple of minutes laughing/crying into my hands. If the government hired the people who designed the packaging to run our national security, we'd be the safest nation in the world.

Minute 32: I go to cut the string away but can't find the scissors. They're lost somewhere under the current count of 17 billion scraps of packaging. I try to untie the string but the fucking knots are glued. The KNOTS are GLUED.

Minute 33: I repeatedly slam the toy on the floor in frustration while screaming profanities. Miraculously, the movement sweeps aside some of the packaging and the scissors are revealed. So there IS a god. And he's laughing at me.

Minute 34: I cut off the string. As I pull it free of the toys it sheds approximately 22 trillion specks all over my lap and the floor. A few specks fly in my eye. Son of a bitch. I rub my eye, smearing blood all over my face from my bleeding fingers. I want to burn the world.

Minute 35: THE TOY IS FINALLY ALL FREE. I look at the 14 different parts and have no idea how they are supposed to go together, nor do I give a shit. I get up, kicking aside some of the packaging and spy the package of batteries. Son of a whore. This thing makes noise, too? My mind breaks and it's like I am floating outside of my body.

Minute 36: I pick up the package of batteries. They are encased in plastic that is crimped on all edges. I cut one end with the scissors and gingerly pry open the plastic, then cut along the top to create a flap.

Minute 37: I lift the pack of batteries out as if I'm removing a beating heart from a chest cavity. In spite of being careful, I still cut my finger on the plastic. It's the worst pain in the world. To make matters worse, I can see that the batteries are also wrapped several times over with tape. I've given up wondering why. The redundancy of the packaging makes it clear that toys are packaged in a MENTAL INSTITUTION. 

Minutes 38-39:  I can't find the edge of the tape. I repeatedly turn the package in my hands, visually inspecting the surface as if I were diffusing a bomb. Then I run my fingernail along every millimeter of surface, waiting to feel the difference that indicates the edge. Nothing.

Minute 40: I have lost all reason and angrily stab the package with the scissors. In spite of trying to get the pointy edge of the scissors in the gap between the batteries, I miss, puncturing one of them and a bit of acid spills out of the hole and onto an un-Band-Aided cut. I jump up screaming and step on the pile of tiny screws, embedding several of them in my bare foot. 

Minutes 41-46: I hop on the other foot to the bathroom and wash the acid off my hand. I catch a glimpse of my face in the mirror and don't even recognize myself. I look completely deranged and like I've aged about 20 years. The look in my eyes would make people happily run into a serial killer's basement over being in my presence. 
After the acid is washed off, I remove the screws from my foot. It's impossible to keep Band-Aids on the bottom of a foot so I don't even bother.

Minute 47: Limping to the kitchen and trailing blood on the floor behind me, I find replacement batteries in the junk drawer and unscrew the EIGHT screws that secure the lid to the battery compartment, because a sensible TWO screws, one on each side, would never do. THAT WOULD MAKE TOO MUCH SENSE AND BE TOO EASY.

Minute 48: I carefully follow the positive/negative designations for each battery section, looking for the printed + or - sign on every battery because even though I've placed literally tens of thousands of batteries in various baby and kid things over the last seven years, I can never remember which end is positive or negative.

Minute 49: Before I screw the cover back on, I check that the batteries are right by turning on the toy. It blasts on at full volume and even though I was expecting it, it scares the holy bejeezus out of me and I reflexively drop it on the floor, spilling the batteries everywhere. My head EXPLODES.

Minute 50: Staring in utter defeat at the batteries scattered all over, I grab the bottle of wine off the counter and start chugging like my fucking life depends on it, because it does.

Minute 51: While picking up the batteries, I actually want to bang my head against the floor. Repeatedly.

Minute 52: I replace the batteries and screw the cover back on as my hand becomes numb and turns white from the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has set in.

Minute 53: I call the kids in to play with their toy. They run in, super excited. Seeing the delight on their faces is starting to take away some of the blood, sweat, tears, and angst of removing the toy from its packaging. They love it! They're going to play with it for days! It was worth it! The 29 ounces of wine I just guzzled helps erase some of the angst, too. 

Minutes 54-56: I begin cleaning up the massive mess of packaging while the kids play with the toy. Within two minutes, before I'm even done cleaning, the kids are bored of the toy and run back outside to play.

All that, and they played with it for two minutes.

I'm writing this from the mental institution. They let me out for my (supervised) hour. Sometimes, late at night, I can hear the patients hard at work packaging toys and their sinister laughter echoes in my mind for days.

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