Monday, April 09, 2007

Just how much packaging DOES a stylus need?

Sure, I occasionally cast an envious eye on my friends who are toting Blackberries. And I occasionally cast an envious eye on my friends who are still using a FiloFax or some other paper-based means to manage their schedules. But when it comes to technology I'm a second wave adopter, hold-and-use kind of consumer.

My nothing-fancy Palm Pilot has been a pretty reliable companion for the last seven or so years. (I've had it for so long I've even forgotten how weird and goofy the name is.)

I got my Palm when I worked for Genuity. Truly, it was the only way to keep track of your existence, given that the company ran on dawn-to-dusk meetings. Some days, it was just like being in high school. You left your home room/office at 8 a.m. and didn't return until the end of the day. Except at Genuity, you generally worked through lunch (food provided) and you seldom got a study hall break.

So, I was pretty much stuck on my Palm Pilot.

Over the years, the only problem I've had is a couple of lost styluses (styli?).

The other day, I lost a stylus.

No problem.

At Staples, they only came in 3-packs.

Problem, but not much of one. Just an annoyance because I only need one stylus at a time. And at my average rate of stylus loss - one every two years or so - by the time I lose my next stylus I will have long since forgotten where I stored the other two. Necessitating a trip back to Staples to buy another 3-pack.

But, no, the 3-pack purchase was not the problem. The problem is the execrable plastic packaging they came in.

At first, I was optimistic that it was going to be easy - thumb-nail, only, needed to open it.

But, no. That was not going to happen.

Unfortunately, I was in a place where there was no scissors, so I had to try to open the packaging with a knife.

I am not the most skilled knife-wielder in the history of mankind, and I lean towards impatience, so I forced myself to open the package with ultra-caution. I was not worried about poking my eye out with the knife - hey, poking your eye out is what the stylus is for, no? I was more concerned the knife would slip and I would sever a finger tip. Or - worse - that the knife-cutting-plastic would jump up and sever an artery.

And that's how my life would end, blood gushing all over a still-unopened 3-pack of styli, my last words a simple plea, "Why can't we have packaging that's easier to open....."

It will be a while before I have to purchase another plastic-fantastic stylus 3-pack. Perhaps my Palm Pilot will have run out of steam by the time I misplace my next stylus. Isn't that what built-in obsolescence is all about?

All I know is that, an hour or so after I bought (and somehow managed to prise open) my new stylus, I'd already forgotten where I'd stored the spares. 

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