Sunday, May 23, 2010

‘Wrap-tacular’ Packaging

I am amazed at the amount of wrapping paper, boxes, bags, ribbon, tape, and just plain bulky stuffing-stuff that sits around here waiting to be used to cover gifts up or mail them to some distant place. I mean we have whole walls of oddly sized empty boxes ready to recycle for any shipping need. Beyond the exterior plain wrap, we have to stock gift wrap, stickers, and happy wrap for Christmas, birthdays, Weddings, your varietal Mitzvahs, and all those other everyday gifting events.

Ever since my first REAL job working for a ‘mail-order man’ when I was 13, packaging and wrapping things has been a part of my life. Oh yeah, anyone can dress up a rectangular box proficiently, but it takes practice and skill to tackle wrapping a football or other similarly oddball shaped object. Now just because I am willing to take on such horrible packaging projects doesn’t mean I am actually GOOD at it. Yeah I have seen Martha Stewart’s gifting expertise with her perfect paper folds and stinking double-sided tape. But who REALLY wraps gifts like this? When most of us get to the point of wrapping up a gift, the actual event is only hours if not minutes away. Believe me, I’ve been down this road so be charitable if you ever receive a gift from me handsomely adorned in kitchen foil and duct tape. Can ANYONE think of a better way?

So say hello to the gift bag. It seems that the only thing that is more important than the gift, is that attractive oversized bag that surrounds it. I frankly am not sure how to interpret a gift that arrives to me by gift bag? I get the need if the giver is trying to wrap up a plush bunny holding a spear that’s riding in a sleigh pulled by 8 tiny reindeer. That would be a tough gift to wrap with all of those protrusions and air holes to keep the animals alive. But when I receive a nice cubed-shaped inanimate gift, like a boxed coffee mug or a stack of post-it notes - why can’t the giver take less than a minute to ACTUALLY WRAP the gift? You’d think that I’m a nice enough guy to deserve better thought-out packaging than the likes of a stale bologna sandwich thrown into a brown bag?

At least gift bags still offer a little bit of the gifting ‘WOW’ factor because you cannot actually SEE what’s inside until you dig under the layers upon layers of Kleenix. The weirdest gift packaging is when some mall kiosk girl will use hot air to blow up a see-through latex balloon around a pair of frilly ‘undies’ or a bag of Juan Valdez’s best coffee. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want either of these fine gift choices to smell like hot rubber when I hand them off to a friend? So I guess I will still have to wait for a better way to wrap gifts. I have often thought a ‘Seal a Meal’ vacuum gift bag was the future of gift wrapping. But until its invention, for now I have to stick with my stuffed peanuts, mountains of boxes, and rolls upon rolls of decorative paper. It’s ok – that poor plush bunny and his 8 tiny reindeer friends might have a little trouble breathing in a vacuum anyway?

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