Monday, December 04, 2006

What Will They Think of Next?

I have no particular explanation for it, but I find myself saying that fairly often considering that I am not a cute doddering little old lady marveling at the technology created by clever young people. During my entire lifetime new technologies and new variations of every product have been released on a regular basis. I still stop and look at Kleenex “with lotion” or the gadget my neighbor has that pulls their garden hose whip-snap back into a circular coiled contraption and remark upon how clever people are to think of these things. I guess I just appreciate intelligent design and find the slow alteration of every mundane item we touch into a more useful, less work intensive version of it’s original self fascinating (Incidentally I also find it creepy because someday we’re going to live like the Jetsons and show our kids drawings of trees - but that’s a subject for a different post).

In spite of our marvelous advances, buns are still packaged in sets of 8 and hot dogs are still packaged in sets of 10 so it’s not like EVERYTHING is benefitting from intelligent design.

This weekend, for my unseasonably early "Spring Cleaning", I needed packing tape to put together the many many boxes I was packing off to the thrift shop. So I went looking through the tape options at the grocery store. That there are at least two dozen options is odd enough as it is. But what really threw me for a loop was this: Noiseless Packing Tape.

Is it just me? Is this not weird? No one needs packing tape to be noiseless as they pull it from the roll for any kind of legitimate reason. I mean, I suppose if one is packing in the middle of the night while someone is sleeping and trying to get out of the house quickly without waking them... but I think in those circumstances one just packs a suitcase. And maybe mace.

I can only think of nefarious uses for noiseless packing tape.

I picture animated conversations between persons planning bank heists discussing the benefits of noiseless tape for binding wrists together instead of the old-fashioned kind. I can just imagine a kidnapper happening upon the noiseless tape in the school supplies section and thinking, “Finally, a tape designed for MY needs!” Of course, I have a vivid imagination and watch too much Law and Order: Criminal Intent (I know television rots my brain, but I love Vincent D’Onofrio. I can’t help myself.) There are probably plenty of uses for noiseless packing tape that don’t involve hostages or ransom notes constructed with torn out letters from a magazine.

I just can’t think of any.


  1. I can tell you one use as i had wished for it just last week.

    I work in an office, usually a pretty quiet office. Yes we talk but we're respectful and it's a big room with about 15 people in it in cubicles. But it's usually so quiet that you can hear the printer kick on to print something. That said i had to mail something the other day. So here i am, in the middle of the room, trying to tape a box but that stupid packing tape is so loud that i find myself trying to figure out just how few strips i can use to safely mail this thing...

    So there you go, it's for office use.

    And the reason for the hot dogs and buns quiz.... it's marketing. It's a way to get you to buy more. It's like putting the little impulse buys by the check out and the milk at the back. Lots and lots of money has gone into research on this. In other words, no matter how advanced we get, hot dogs and buns will never come in the same number.

  2. I know it's marketing, but I HATE that. I think they should be gauging packaging choices based on what gives the consumer better value - and therefore will be more attractive to the consumer.

    I am somewhat reassured that you feel the noiseless packing tape might have a less scary use than I imagined. :)