Puma gives shoe boxes the boot, crafters and school kids despair

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Puma ends shoebox use...crafters and kids despairIn an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, sporting goods manufacturer, Puma, plans to give shoe boxes the boot. Instead, the company will introduce an eco-friendly "frame" design expected to save 8,500 tons of paper, which, it helpfully points out, is the equivalent of more than 1,400 adult elephants.

I ask you, when was the last time elephants had to shop for shoes? We have already witnessed books turning into Nooks, cars going keyless, voice-activated phone dialing, and mail without stamps.

Perhaps, I'm just feeling sentimental, but somehow the new frame-style packaging leaves me cold. Why don't we just tie the laces together and pile everything in a heap. Order be damned. Of course, there's no sales help to speak of, so we'll just be rummaging around on the floor with the rest of the shoeless population.

On the plus side, Puma expects the change to reduce the amount of energy required to produce the old-fashioned boxes by 60%. Transportation costs are also expected to benefit as a result of lighter packaging. Maybe the elephants can pull the trucks.

However, in spite of the environmental benefits, Puma doesn't expect to reap financial reward from the change. Puma executive chief, Jochen Zeitz, told Reuters, "To begin with, we don't expect to save costs with this. It may even have a negative impact in the short term. But over the long run, there should be cost savings."

I'm just wondering if they've really thought this through. I mean, is this the end of elementary school shadow boxes? Does it spell doom (or perhaps freedom) for garden caterpillars and creepy crawlies often housed inside by young, backyard scientists? Where will we keep our tax receipts, and what will become of my photo filing system?

Does Puma suggest we start thinking outside the ... frame? What are we supposed to compare New York City apartments to? Will future romantics save old love letters in a sling under the bed? And consider the sacred ritual of creating desktop mailboxes for Valentine's Day? Hamster burial? Oh, the humanity!

I saw an Egyptian entombing jar on Antiques Roadshow the other night estimated at thousands of dollars. Maybe we should save a couple, museum quality examples of shoe boxes for our grand kids, because where Puma leads, can Adidas be far behind? Et tu, Nike?

Obviously, the time has come to seize the day and make those crafts you have been putting off. Haven't gotten around to making that miniature shoebox float, diorama, or shoebox TV (remember when they were box shape?) -- the latest news in packaging suggests immediacy is in order. Check out Kids-Rooms-And-Crafts.com, FamilyCrafts.about.com, Enchantedlearning.com or Artistshelpingchildren.org. Type "shoe boxes" into the search box (I said box, not bladder or frame). It would be a great way to spend some time with your favorite kid and an item that might quickly go the way of spats and shoe shine boys.

Of course, if you're not feeling crafty, you could always just go fondle the boxes at Loehmann's or Payless, admire the neat stacks and consider the price of progress.
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