KFRT's Packaging Hell


Packaging in America is funny. There's a competition somewhere here, and I'm not sure if the goal is to piss off the consumer the most, or see who can waste the most raw material.

I'll give you the hands-down winner, though. Prilosec. This is the 42-count package you can buy at Costco for about $24. We're talking 42 pills here. It comes in a bright purple box (shrink-wrapped, of course) that measures 12-3/4" x 7" x 7/8". A full 78 cubic inches of pure marketing delight!

Inside the package is three more packages (note, it says "3 pack" on the outside package). And of course, each of these three packages are marked "NOT FOR INDIVIDUAL SALE." Uh, OK. But notice how well the picture on the box actually matches whats inside! Good job, marketing geniuses!

And inside each of THESE three packages are two more packages each containing seven individually packaged pills. Oh, and each package also contains a set of printed "package inserts" that are made by the same folks who fold maps. So now we have six cards, each containing seven individually wrapped pills. And now, I'm starting to need the pills even more!

You cannot open the individual pill containers; they're not designed to be opened. With a little luck, you CAN separate them on the perforations, but that's as far as you'll get. I have found that the easiest way to breach the security of these little silver nuggets is to just cut the bastards open with scissors. Even then, you have to be a little careful, or you'll break the pill inside (and I'm sure the pill cops will come running). The "little" boxes are 4-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 5/8" by the way, or 9.8 cubic inches. Heck, they wasted over 48 cubic inches just putting the little boxes into the bigger box. Here is one of them, it's contents and the requisite tool.

After about 10 minutes of this madness (15 if you lack the appropriate experience), you are left with this:

Like any good wreck, this one leaves quite a debris field (the CD is for size comparison, the pills are now in a bottle that is merely a MILD pain in the ass.):

And for our effort, just what ARE we left with? The pills fill the bottom 1" of a container with a 1.1" diameter. 0.95 cubic inches! The other 77 cubic inches? Mostly wasted material and air.

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Page last updated 29 Dec 2009