Pet Peeves

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?

Posted in Humour, Rants
4 comments on “Pet Peeves
  1. M. Moretti says:

    I just started buying things this way, so I didn’t even notice the perforations until after I pulled the bottles out. I knew what they were there for, but I ended up having to use scissors on some of the rings before I threw them out.

    As you know, I live in the part of the US where if you call it “pop”, they look at you like you’re a two-headed space alien speaking another language unknown to earthlings. Here its “so-dah”, but also “wa-tah” and “bee-ah”, and you have it along with “pizz-er” and, for some strange reason, “hot weiners”, which are served on a strange bun that approximates wrapping a piece of plain white bread around them. Also, if the person ordering the “so-dah” is of the older generation, he or she may even refer to it instead as a “tonic”.

  2. Al says:

    And do they boil the “hot weiners” in “wa-tah”? What a sacrilege! (Although, I like them that way ocaisionally, for variety.)

    It’s a small pet peeve, but if airplanes flew as well as these plastic six-pack rings work, they’d be falling out of the sky left and right.

    I think that the manufacturers must know how poor they are, yet just keep on foisting them on the consumer because they are super-cheap and they know almost no one will bother to complain.

    That irritates me most of all.

  3. Frank Gritz says:

    You know, you could always remove the whole plastic thing before you put the bottles in the refrigerator. I’m a can person, bottles never seem to be worth it financially. Cans come in a cardboard box which you can easily place the empties back in for quick storage. Bottles lie around, are bulky and seem to be more annoyance than the nickel deposit is worth.

    All in all, I feel bottled pop is a waste of time, canned is the way to go.

  4. Al says:

    I do remove the whole thing. That’s what I’m talking about. I did get one off last week in one piece, but haven’t repeated that feat yet.

    The cans do fit nicer in the fridge, but we’re using 24-oz. plastic bottles double the size of the cans. So putting a six-pack of the bottles in is the same as a twelve-pack of cans.

    Oh, and talk about a waste of time, how about those machines you put the bottles/cans into to get the deposit? I always seem to get there when the people who cleaned out their garage or had a beer-blast on the weekend are there. Our local Tops has about six machines, 2 for cans, 2 for plastic and 2 for glass.

    I waited while a guy with a shopping cart full to overflowing and two garbage bags on the floor, tied up one can machine while he rummaged through his pile of unsorted returns to pull out the cans. The other can machine was out of order.

    Why he didn’t process the plastic first, which was the majority of his returns, I don’t know. A fellow came in with about 18 cans in a sack and looked at the line and handed them to me and said “Here you can have these, I’m not going to wait.”

    And they crush them all, even glass. It’s cheaper to make the bottle again than to wash it…

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