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This is why you should never open up packages with a knife or any sharp object

March 10, 2023


I’m good at planning presents for friends and family ahead of time. Getting together tape, wrapping paper and ribbons, not so much.

That invariably means I’ll grab some generic shrink-wrapped gift paper from the supermarket at the very last minute and rush home to package up a present just before leaving for the party or, worse still, trying to neatly wrap something in the car outside the venue.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle opening shrink wrap and clamshell packaging (you know, the hard, plastic bubbles encasing so many products these days). Scissor tips are often too blunt to do the job without leaving a gash in the paper beneath.

The struggle is real. There’s even a term to describe it – “wrap rage.” And I get it. Every. Time. So, I usually reach for a sharp knife to avoid frustration.

But in the recent Christmas rush, my choice led to disaster. In hurrying to poke a hole in the plastic surrounding my Christmas paper, I stabbed my finger. Hard enough to draw blood and a squeal from my lips. To make matters worse, I also cut myself on the shredded plastic and slashed the paper beneath.

Major fail. But I did learn a valuable lesson: never open a package with a sharp object. Here’s what you should do instead:

1. Always match the right tool with the job at hand. A knife isn’t designed to be used to pry, open, chisel, punch, scrape or screw. That way lies painful trips to an Emergency Department. If you’re opening clamshell packaging, for instance, a rotary can opener or tin snips are a safer choice than any sharp blade or pair of scissors. Not only will you avoid injury but there’s less likelihood your contents will get damaged in the process.

2. Get a custom-made opener. If you’re regularly opening plastic encased goodies, you might want to invest in a specialised opener to make the job safer, easier and less likely to drive you crazy. Clamshell packages are ubiquitous these days, and some clever clogs have designed tools to suit. A quick internet search will yield some great options – here’s one – all relatively cheap when you think about the peace of mind you’ll get when using them.

3. Wear some mesh gloves. If a knife is really your only option, why tempt fate? Be prepared with a pair of safety gloves designed to protect your hands from sharp objects. And remember to always cut away from your body in bright light and never use excessive pressure when cutting.

4. Don’t buy products wrapped in plastic. This is probably the easiest solution by far and one guaranteed to give you warm and fuzzy feelings about how you’re doing your bit for the environment. Look for sustainable packaging, focus on giving presents that are locally produced, handmade or eco-friendly – there’s heaps of options out there these days. And spread the word you’re placing a moratorium on excessive packaging at your house, so your family and friends know not to gift you things wrapped in rage-inducing plastic. Because, hey, nobody loves a present they can’t open safely.