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I can't get this package open

I bought a ham salad sandwich just this noon that was wrapped in a cellophane package. The cellophane was folded so that the price label sealed the whole package. I pulled on the wrapper to unwrap it. Couldn't get it open. I tried to gnaw the tiniest beginning to rip the package open. Teeth too dull. Besides, as my then four year old granddaughter, Maya, once scolded me, "grandpa, teeth are not tools." Still couldn't get it open. I was looking at that sandwich through the wrapper and getting more famished by the minute. I tugged and pulled. No luck. But I did have good luck to be eating with my buddy, Bill, who had this sharp little pocket knife. He loaned me the knife and I slashed my way into the package. Ham salad at last.

If you're paying attention to little things, surely you've noticed that although your cell phone may not work, while your more-sophisticated flat screen TV is complicated beyond your expertise (you can't even turn it on in less than 30 seconds) and you're computer needs a 12 year old to figure it out, packaging has improved to the point that its more bulletproof every day.

Take that ham salad sandwich for example. A couple years ago that package would have been so easy to unwrap that I could have done it with my bare hands.

Not too long ago I bought a razor in one of those transparent, hard plastic packages. I looked on all sides and all corners for a way to pull the package apart to get at the razor. No openings, no instructions, no hints. I ripped at it and tore at it. No way. My beard was getting longer as the struggle went on and I couldn't get at my new razor. Finally, I got out an industrial strength pair of scissors and attacked the package. A blowtorch would have been more efficient.

The bigger the purchase, the more secure the package. I realize that if you want to buy an expensive watch (my $9.99 dandy is working just fine thank you) you may need to buy a hack saw at the same time to get the package open. But how would you be able to unwrap your hacksaw package without a chain saw? And how could you... oh well, you can see where this is going.

I was told once that those iron clad packages are to protect the merchants from having shoplifters open those big, clunky bundles, removing the high priced contents and slipping the booty into a purse, up a sleeve or into their underwear.

Fair enough, but even lower priced items are beyond entry. You can buy a box of Cheerios and need a butcher knife to penetrate the inner package. Or here's one on my favorites: string cheese. We get these little packages of cheese sticks, wrapped as singles. Great snacks. I have one in front of me this very minute. I can see the cute little cheese stick inside. The package says I should eat it before December 6, 2011. In other words, open before Christmas. It's easy to understand that. It also says "To Open Peel Film Apart" with an illustration and an arrow pointing down. Now I'm trying to find a place where there's a film separation to pull apart. Now I'm tugging. I hope I get this thing open before Christmas. Now I guarantee you no shoplifter is going to open this package and eat that cheese stick before they leave the store.

On and on it goes. You have struggled to open those packages the same as I have. But why waste your time with a trivial complaint about super-security packaging? There is some discussion in Congress about dissolving the Consumer Protection Bureau. What then -- let the buyer beware? If that happens you can get your consumer protection alerts in this column. That's what smaller government will look like.