Occasionally, I spout off about something that bothers me here. Really, I do. Well, alright, that’s about all I do here. This is another of those times.

Soda Pop Six Packs
I have to talk about something that is undoubtedly one of the most serious problems our modern society faces, if not in magnitude, at least in sheer ubiquity. While not a large problem, it’s tenacity as it keeps coming back and back to haunt me makes it irritating on a grand scale.

What could this monumental problem be?

Those plastic retaining things on a six-pack of pop. (Soda for anyone outside WNY.) Yes, besides adorning the necks of movie penguins, they are making my life difficult. Again, it’s not a matter of being able to overcome this problem, because I can, but the fact that it repeats itself, over and over, every time I try to put 6 more bottles in the fridge to get cold.

Years ago, these things started out with cans. You just yanked each can out by force. It was somewhat satisfying to conqueor the retainer and overcome it’s grip on the cans. But nobody buys cans that way anymore. Now we have “Fridge-Paks” and you just throw the whole box of 12-24 cans on the shelf.

But the plastic bottles come this way now. And the retainer has changed. There is a little tear strip that you pull and it frees the bottle from the retainer’s grasp. When it works. Usually, the first bottle is successfully released. About half of the time, the second one also comes free. But the third one almost every time, stays snugly in the retaining plastic and the plastic tab you’re pulling breaks off. Repeat the same process on the other side of the six-pack.

It’s not that I can’t just yank the whole bottle out of the plastic like we used to for the cans. I can. But, damn it, why do they put the tab there if it won’t work, if I can’t use it? The idea that someone, somewhere, got paid to design this failure of a packaging device that doesn’t work as it should boggles my mind.

If I expected to have to pick up the pack and yank each bottle out by brute force, I wouldn’t have a problem. It’s the promise that there is an easier, better way to do it going unfulfilled that irritates me.

Oh, I rationalize it away. Maybe the plastic was too thick in this batch. Maybe the perforating machine was dull and the plastic didn’t tear right because of that. Every new package brings hope that this time, just once, everything will be just right, the stars will align and it will work as designed.

It never happens. It always dupes me into trying and leaves me frustrated.

A while back, my wife bought some pop from a different place, one of those warehouse discount stores. They came with a slightly different tear-away piece on the plastic retainer. Did they work any better? No. They were just as unreliable, if not more so.

It makes me wonder, do they do that deliberately?