Comebacks we'd like to see: #3 -- Easy to open packaging


This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.

On Christmas morning, my house, like thousands of others, is a chaotic, frenzied scene, with children frantically opening gifts and squealing with delight.

But the joy in my children's faces inevitably turns to frustration after they tear off the gift wrap and are unable to get their little hands on the toy inside the package because the darn thing is sealed up tighter than a coffin! If you haven't opened a doll lately, with a plastic hairbrush, barettes and the like, all smaller than your fingers, these toys and many others are taped to the cardboard box, then each piece is individually wrapped in a twist-tie that makes it hard even for parents to open without a well-stocked toolbox.

I miss the days when it was simple to open a new package, like an over-the-counter medicine bottle that didn't have childproof caps or an album wrapped in plastic so thin I could puncture it with my nails-as opposed to shrink-wrapped CDs and DVDs. The editors at Consumer Reports seem to agree with me, since they started something called the Oyster Awards (named after the infamously difficult to open mollusk) in 2006, a "hard to open packaging hall of shame." Last year, top honors went to the Oral-b Sonic Complete Toothbrush Kit and the Bratz Sisterz doll, which apparently earned its moniker before a little girl even got to play with the toy.

Consumer Reports mentions a few reasons manufacturers have made packaging so much more difficult to open, including safety laws and to prevent theft. Consumer Reports also applauds some "good guys," and claim that manufacturers are beginning to make improvements -- apparently brought on by consumer backlash -- such as a user-friendly clamshell package and toys without twist ties.

What shopping experiences of yesteryear do you miss?