Nominate Packages For ConsumerReports’ Oyster Awards

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the annual Consumer Reports “Oyster Awards!”

Celebrating hard to open packages, the “Oyster Awards” is no simple snark-fest. The heroes at Consumer Reports start by “sifting through nominations from subscribers.” (That’s where you come in.) They don’t give up there, though! Consumer Reports shops for the types of products mentioned most, find worse examples, and study the packages in their labs.

Finally, a reporter is challenged with the task of opening the nominated packages. He/she is timed, and the order of the choices is based on “a combination of the time it took to crack the package and the potential hazard involved.”

Now Consumer Reports is asking us for your help. Get on over to their website and nominate a package for this year’s awards.

Also, take a look at last year’s winners, and as a special bonus, we’ve included a link to a blog post from Feb 2005. This particular blog post contains the story of the time our father bought us a large kitchen knife that could not be removed from the package without the aid of… a large kitchen knife. Enjoy! — MEGHANN MARCO

Nominate! [Consumer Reports]
Last Years Oyster Awards [Consumer Reports]
Knives [Meghann Marco]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hirayuki says:

    The link to last year’s Oyster Awards is kaput.

  2. mfergel says:

    I should go nominate the Bratz dolls. Man, my daughter gets those and it takes me 15-20 minutes to get everything removed from the mounting cards…..between the scotch tape, plastic tabs, thread, rubber bands, wire wraps, etc. You practically need a tool kit for those things.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Works for me.

  4. jameslutz says:

    I keep a pair of wire cutters handy for Christmans and birthdays to cut those ties that they use, instead of tearing the box apart to unwind all of them. This makes very short work of freeing the toys from their restraints as my kids are about to pee in their pants to get them in their hands.

  5. Slack says:

    mfergal, I feel you pain.

    I have twin girls, 5 Years old. And the army of Chinese children that package Barbies, My Little Ponies and various other pink plasticy bits with long flowing hair, must take some solace in the fact that we must wrestle with those damn wire wraps, and polycarbonite sealed sarcophagi….

    Well maybe not ‘solace’…

  6. nick says:

    I’m about to nominate Sargento Shredded Cheese, because never has it been more annoying to make nachos. The packages have an “easy-open” tear at the top, which cannot be “torn” without a pair of scissors. And as if this wasn’t enough, they also have a “Ziplock-like” resealable strip to seal in freshness. I say “Ziplock-like” because when you first try to separate the two seals, one side will invariably rip off, leaving you with a resealable strip that is no longer attached to the pouch.

    I hate you Sargento.

  7. MattyMatt says:

    Here’s a more direct link to last year’s winners — you use the tiny links on the left sidebar to navigate.What a stupendous interface CS has.

    Last year, they criticized videogame boxen for being difficult to open. Fair enough. But as an alternative, they recommend “A legal download off the Internet.” Ummm …

  8. wenhaver says:

    I was given a Sonic Care toothbush over the weekend. When I went to open the thing last night, it took 1 regular scissors, 1 kitchen shears, one pliers, and a partridge in a friggin pear tree to get the blister back open.

    Why do they give me the toothbrush if they don’t want me to actually HAVE the toothbrush?

  9. acambras says:

    nschneble: I thought I was the only person who had a problem opening that damn Sargento cheese!

    Ah, sweet vindication.

  10. Gev says:

    The “easy open” top on Sargento cheese has never been a problem for me but that damned zipper seal does the same thing you describe more than half the time.

    As for getting blister packaging open, the best thing I’ve found is a pair of “trauma shears.” You should be able to pick up a pair at any healthcare-related store for less than US$ 5.

  11. Angiol says:

    I don’t remember what it was, but I bought a product that came with a CD… I cut through the CD with the scissors and didn’t notice. Fortunately, it wasn’t required, but still.

  12. Kangarara says:

    I would like to nominate an anti-oyster (would that be a sea cucumber?)

    When I bought my Belkin Ear Jams, they were in a plastic clamshell package that I was all set to take the chainsaw to, when I realized that they had sealed it with locking indents. I was able to open their plastic prison with my bare hands!

    Kudos to Belkin! May news of their wisdom spread far and wide!

  13. Seacub says:

    Wenhaver, I got a Sonicare this weekend too! And had the same difficulties you had. I managed to slice my finger open with a box cutter in the process.

  14. juri squared says:

    When we got our Wii this weekend, the box was easy to open and well-organized, if a bit heavy on the plastic wrapping everything.

    The extra Wiimote we bought, though… I got a puncture wound on my hand from the stupid clamshell. I hate those things.

  15. infinitysnake says:

    The one that peeves me is the lettuce that comes in a flimsy, thin bag with a super-tight ziploc-style top. It reseals very nicely, but then you can’t get it open without shredding the bag!

  16. infinitysnake says:

    Those blister-packs with the perforations in back that won’t push in no mattewr what you do, too.

  17. TVarmy says:

    The anti-oyster should be called the Banana. Think about it. Has a convenient pull tab, ergonomic ridges, biodegradable packaging that keeps your hands from getting sticky. The only problem would be the safety concern caused by the packaging’s slickness. However, most people are smart enough to throw out the wrapper.

  18. I can understand this crap when you’re dealing with something that could and would be easily shoplifted but when it’s the size of a cordless phone? Gimme a break.

  19. Steve_Holt says:

    The worst is the heavy-duty plastic “box” that is usually found surrounding universal remotes, other small low-cost electronic devices etc. It seems like they put the product in a mold, and then melt the plastic all around it, forming an indestructable carbonate-like case. I’ve cut through user manuals, CD-ROMs and even thin cords trying to cut it open. Taken a few puncture wounds to the hand from the jagged plastic as well.