Thursday, January 28, 2016

Life's Little Niggles

There are quite a few little niggles I could mention as I go about my daily activities. What do I mean by a niggle? A fly in the ointment, a stone in your shoe? A minor hiccup? A spanner in the works of life? I'll try and explain a few I have come across. Such as having problems with opening packets, jars and bottles. Why do manufacturers insist on making it so difficult it get into the packets they put their products in? Such as teabags, particularly P.G. Tips. Why is it so hard to get through the cellophane wrap the boxes are covered in? They could put a pull-tag on the cellophane which means the covering comes off easily, but generally, no, there is never such a thing. Why cover the packets in this foul stuff in the first place? What is the point of it? It surely can't be to keep the teabags within dry, or can it? Then, once you actually get inside there is a sort of perforated flat, which you have to break into when you want to extract a teabag. They put a similar perforated section in boxes of paper tissues which are virtually impossible to break into and then you have to extract the tissues through a very thin opening, which means that several tissues get torn to threads in the process, most annoying when you have a cold, with a runny nose and want a tissue in a hurry. Going on from tissues, how about toilet rolls? How easy can it be for manufacturers to make a roll of toilet paper which are easy to start off when the roll is new? You go to the loo and then discover at the vital moment that the loo roll has run out so you hunt far and wide for a new roll and then have trouble getting the end of the roll to start because it so difficult to get hold of the end of the paper and when you do eventually find the end, it just disintegrates and becomes virtually useless. Ink cartridges for printers can be annoying. Not just the fiddly installation process, but the packages they come in can be very difficult to open. There again, they have to be covered in more cellophane and then you break your fingernails trying to open the packet and then the actual ink cartridges are wrapped in more cellophane. Another product which can be annoying to open are CD's which never come with a handy strip to pull which releases the enclosed CD from the confines of it's little plastic box. These boxes can be fiddly when it comes to getting the CD itself out as it's held inside with a weird little central 'hub' which has sort of plastic teeth on it. It can be quite difficult removing the CD from this 'hub' thing to such an extent that if you're not very careful you could damage the CD. And the 'teeth' of this 'hub' thing can break off very easily, because it's made of very fragile plastic which breaks off easily and if that happens it renders the thing useless, meaning the CD won't sit safely on it and so get damaged if the plastic case is dropped. If that's the case the whole case is useless.The same can be said of DVD cases and also trying to extract the confounded thing from a similar 'hub' which is as difficult to remove as a CD. You can break your fingernails if you have to try to open the plastic box the thing comes in which is just as annoying.

Butter and margarine comes in convenient plastic boxes. I know these products are more convenient than having blocks of butter which come in paper or foil which means you have to transfer them into butter dishes (do people do that today? I think my mother would have done that once upon a time, but that would have been in the 1970's.) These products also are handy because they spread easily from the fridge, but the little niggle I have is the horrible bit of paper they insist on inserting under the lid when you open it and sitting directly on top of the spread inside. What's the purpose of that? You just throw it away, or, if it's left inside, you have to lift it off every time you want to take out some of the spread.

Cellophane and plastic wrap seems to cause quite a few problems. Another example which often bugs me is what covers magazines. I have a couple of magazines which I subscribe to and they arrive by post. Getting into them can be difficult, but not necessarily opening them (again, not always come with a handy tag to 'pull' so the cellophane or plastic wrap will open easily, but if you're not careful you can tear the magazine within the packaging. On a couple of occasions the postman has shoved the magazine through our letterbox with such force that the magazine within the packaging is damaged or it may be it got damaged somewhere within the post office's sorting machinery. Then, once you've got inside the packaging and opened the magazine you often find a sheaf of leaflets which are annoying because you end up throwing them away. We recycle wherever possible, but generally these bits of paper are not for things we want to read or offers we need or want, much like the annoying leaflets for such things as pizza delivery services, double glazing or estate agents who insist that your house would sell easily, which I'm sure it wouldn't. All go in the recycling bin and are really a great waste of resources. Even if you buy a magazine in a shop, such as W.H. Smith, most magazines you buy from the newsstand have similar leaflets inside and I notice that Smith's now have a bin in their shops which are there to take these annoying leaflets as they fall out when you open the magazine.

At the petrol station. Why can it be so difficult to fill your car up with petrol? How is it, when you manage to remove the  petrol hose from it's holder on the pump, it can be incredibly difficult to pull the hose out of its housing? Why can't it remain a decent length enabling you to fill your car successfully? Also gripping the trigger-mechanism takes quite a bit of effort as it can be quite stiff and difficult to keep pressed so the petrol flows. This similar thing happens when you go to put air in your tyres, especially at our local Shell station. You need a 20p piece to operate the machine, which s reasonable I suppose price-wise, but attempting to pull the hose out can be tricky as it won't maintain a decent length so you can reach all four tyres. Particularly difficult when you need to get to the side of the car furthest from the air-pump machine. The hose keeps wanting to recoil itself when you let fo of it and you need to put a foot on it to stop it retracting into the machine. This job is difficult if done on your own which is why it's easier with a second person who stays with the machine as you need to be able to read the pressure of each tyre so as to make sure it is correct. Do the owners or manufacturers of this machinery not realise how difficult these operations are and perhaps modify them so as to improve them and make it easier for their users? The answer to that is 'probably not,' because most people never complain about these things.

More little niggles. How about this one? Pink bin bags. Those which are provided by Milton Keynes Council to put your recycled rubbish in. First of all, they come on a roll. A long roll and it can be difficult to find the perforations which you use to separate a single bag from the roll. Tear rather than pull, because if you don't you might rip the bag. The you have to peel the bag open, and because the plastic these bags are made of it's extremely difficult. I find that licking my finger helps so the separate sections allow the bag to open. As I say, these pink bags are very thin and flimsy, which means you have to be extra careful when you place your recyclable rubbish inside because otherwise it will tear and become worthless. Why do they have to be so flimsy and, therefore, easy to tear, allowing rubbish to spill out? Just ask those that provide them at Milton Keynes Council.
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