That’s a Wrap

23924473493_f89d1e0822_zWould someone please explain to me why a cucumber requires shrink wrap? I’m talking about English cucumbers, the long ones that have a very crisp texture and fewer seeds. Their skins aren’t as tough as regular cukes. But shrink wrap? Really?

I hate that shrink wrap. It is next to impossible for me to strip it from the cucumber. My fingers just can’t grip that well. And it clings so tightly, the harder you pull, the more it resists. Honestly, all I want to do is make a salad. Why does it have to be so difficult?

Here are some other food packaging items that drive me crazy:

The plastic film covering, beneath the lid, that clings to the rim of sour cream tubs and yogurt containers. (Those plastic lids aren’t so easy to pry up, either.) I usually have to grab a knife to slit them open, because I cannot grasp the longer edge you’re supposed to use to strip the film away.

The tight foil covering of my calcium chews. These come wrapped individually, with neatly turned ends that are folded the way you wrap a birthday present. Picking those ends up with what’s left of my finger nails takes patience, to say the least.

Plastic screw tops with perforated extensions that twist off when you first open the jar. Usually, I need to wear a pair of rubber dish gloves to be able to hold on without my hand slipping and twist without injuring my skin. I have an adjustable jar opener, but it doesn’t always do the job as well as it should.

Sealed plastic bags for items like shredded cheese that have molded ziplock seals. The idea is that you can reseal the bag after you open it the first time. Problem is I can never pry apart the ziplock, so I inevitably cut it off and put the bag in another plastic bag with a usable ziplock—or just use some other clip to keep it shut. Just give me a bag that opens easily, please.

Sealed plastic wrappers inside sealed cereal or cracker boxes. I can never, ever, pull them apart neatly. It seems like these wrappers used to open easily, but now they are made of some kind of heavier plastic that just won’t yield to my fingers. So I usually ask Al to do it for me.

He, of course, is my secret weapon for all of the above and more. Sometimes I wonder if I depend too heavily on my husband for help with all of these simple tasks. I know I should find more adaptive tools to tackle hermetically sealed packaging. But then I have to have those tools handy every time I try to open something. Which is a nuisance.

Some days, like the other night, when I was rushing to make dinner and had to keep struggling with food wrappers, it’s just plain tiring. And wasteful. I do my best to recycle, but some of that packaging has nowhere to go but the trash. We live in a litigious, germaphobic culture where shrink-wrapped cucumbers are the norm. Even if my hands worked perfectly, there has to be a better way.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at

Image Credit: Ajax Great


  1. Patricia Bizzell says:

    Arthritic hands probably still function better than yours, Ev, but I too struggle with redundant packaging. One pet peeve are the peel-off inner seals that offer a handy tab for peeling: this is what I call a “cruel hoax”! I can never get them to work. Ditto those alluring extra overhangs on sour cream and cottage cheese inner seals. And yet another “cruel hoax”: so-called re-sealable ziplock bags. Cue the maniacal laughter!

    But above all, I fail to understand why arthritis medication is locked in medicine bottles that are nearly impossible to open with arthritic hands. A cruel hoax!

Leave a Reply to Patricia Bizzell Cancel reply