Wednesday, January 11, 2017

More of Life's Little Niggles

I have written something on this subject in one of my earlier posts, but there is quite a bit more mileage to be had on the subject. You know what I mean by 'niggle' I presume? My electronic dictionary has this definition 'cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety.' Further down it says, 'criticise in a petty way.' In this house, which is rented, there are a couple of definite niggles. For a start, the light switches at the bottom of the stairs are the wrong way round. Logic would tell me that the one which operates the downstairs, hallway, light, was at the bottom or right-hand side of the double switch, and the one which operates the upstairs, landing, light, was on the left. But no, for some unfathomable reason they are the wrong way round. Why didn't whoever wired them make sure they were wired the correct way round? The same goes for the taps in the kitchen sink and upstairs in the bathroom. The ho (red)t taps should be left and the cold right (blue.) I didn't realise this until we had to have a plumber come in to sort out the leak which came from the pipes behind the kitchen sink. It's supposed to be the same in all houses; it's just always supposed to be that way round. So why not in this house? Because our dear landlord is a cheapskate and doesn't get a decent plumber in to do the work. I know you're asking, why bother over such trivial matters? Well, why not? Why not do a job properly in the first place? I was bought up on the saying'If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well.' The kitchen sink taps also turn on the wrong way, it seems odd, but they are just awkward for some reason, which is because they are the wrong way round! 

Then, what about packaging? It's not necessarily the amount of packaging that products come in. These days, with talk of waste, recycling and so on, I think companies have managed to cut down on over-packaging to some extent. There are some products which still come in too much packaging. But why do some products come with cellophane wrapping over them? Particularly, teabags? Why do P.G. Tips teabags come in a lovely box, without having cellophane over the box? What on earth is the point? You're supposed to strip off the cellophane by pulling a clever little tag which is fixed to a magic strip which is meant to mean, when you pull on it, the cellophane comes away and you gain entrance to the package. Not always, and virtually never, in my experience. So you spend ages attempting to get this cellophane wrapping off and using your teeth and if that doesn't work, resorting to using a kitchen knife or scissors. By which time you are simply gasping for the cup of tea you've been desperate for for the past half-hour or so. AND THEN, you have to break in to the box which is even more difficult. You're expected to use a perforated section which you're meant to press with a finger but this never works so, again, scissors or knife are required to make the final assault on the package.

Toilet rolls are another case in point. You go to the toilet and then discover that you've run out of loo roll. You eventually find the newly-purchased stock of loo rolls which come in a nine-roll package. It takes what seems like a month of Sundays to get the outer packaging open and remove one roll and then spend a further ten minutes trying to get the end of the roll of paper to seperate from the roll without it disintegrating completely. The roll is conveniently perforated so you can remove one or two pieces of loo roll but it's next to impossible to get a completely clean tear. The end of the roll of loo paper becomes no more than an untidy, jagged mess.

One of the worst things to open are those bottles that hand soap come in.  Y0u know, Palmolive do them. Carex if probably the brand leader. They seem to have replaced what I'd call 'traditional' cake soap. In Sainsbury's at least they have a wide selection of brands, including their own.They are locked to prevent them accidentally selling their contents when in transit. I presume. It can't be for any other reason. You have to turn the spouty sort of pouring tap-arrangement and this is supposed to open the bottle. But it never seems to work. Well, at least, not for me. Then, once it works, you just press downwards on this tap thing and the liquid soap inside the bottle is squeezed out onto your hand. Then, biggest niggle of all, towards the end of the life of the product, you get a little bit at the bottom of the bottle which you can never get out. It seems such a waste.Why can't the manufacturer make the clear tube within the bottle just that bit longer so it sucks up the little bit at the bottom of the bottle? It almost refuses to be removed when you squeeze down on the pump-thing.

Shower gel bottles can also be difficult to open. There you are, standing stark naked under the shower. It's taken you a while to set the temperature (yet another niggle this. I could write a few pages on this on it's own.) You decide to use the new bottle of shower gel. You reach for it, trying not to scald yourself in the process, or, if the temperature isn't right, freeze yourself in the cold water. They put a neat little hook on one end of the bottle, which is there so you can hang the bottle over a tap or other fitting on your shower. The other end is where the opening is, and it's so arranged that you have to get a bit of plastic to pull up with your finger or thumb. It's made to be so tight, so the liquid within the bottle doesn't leak out, but it's so difficult you just can't get it to open. Then, when you manage to get it open, you squeeze the contained fluid onto your sponge or flannel, and too much comes out and when you lather the gel over your body, you get left with so much foam it looks like a scene from one of those 1950's science fiction movies such as 'Quatermass.'

Biscuit packets are another bugbear. ('A cause of obsessive fear, anxiety or irritation.') Or niggle. They come in a packet with another innovation, which is supposed to make it easier to open said packet. A little tab which you pull and tears open the paper with a strip of material like string or plastic. Great if it works, but 99 out of 100 attempts and it fails miserably. Why not just go back to the old fashioned method of opening the packet? Then there's the innovation that has been bought in on such packets as for rice and other cooking ingredients. You open the packet and then there's a sticky sort of label which you use to reseal the packet. But it doesn't always stick to the surface of the packet once you've opened the packet. So, like the biscuit packet, somewhat redundant. And attempting to peel the sticky label off the packet in the first place is also very difficult because (as with Sellotape when you can't find the end.) it's next to impossible to find the edge to peel.

Going back to the subject of cellophane as I mentioned earlier on, how about such things as DVDs and CDs which come, fresh from the factory, but covered in cellophane and then you have the ordeal of opening the thing, finding the corner to get your finger nail under to start the peeling process or even finding the little tab that is meant to make the process easier. 
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