Tag Archives: shopping

The Power of Plastic

I have been living without a credit card for nine days now. And it is killing me1.

That is to say, I have been trying to not use the back up credit card from a company I’d rather not deal with, since our card from the very nice bank we belong to was stolen and someone went on a $15K spending spree in Asia2.   I still had my debit card for groceries and for getting cash out of holes in walls, but day-um! I had no idea how accustomed I had become to impulse purchases: everything from songs on my phone to books on my Kindle, to random household goods and birthday presents from Amazon. Nine days and I was really feeling the pinch.

A few days ago I cracked and entered the back-up card number into our Netflix account (we don’t have cable, so this is pretty much it if we want to watch anything on the big box), and today I cracked even further and entered the forbidden numbers into a couple of other frequently-used online sources. I rationalize it by saying “I neeeeeed to update my apps” and “I neeeeeed to buy this stuff from Amazon cos it’s more efficient than driving around trying to find this one thing in any one of several different shops.”  Recurring monthly purchases are starting to show up now (including a few I didn’t realize I was still making, which is a bonus) and I’m looking at my finances with fresh eyes.

But wow, it felt good to click ‘complete purchase’. I never thought I’d see the day.

It’s interesting. I did not grow up a shopaholic and I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that “I don’t like to shop” and yet, and yet… Interesting insights for a future fictional character. We are not what we seem: even to ourselves.

  1. not literally
  2. Yes, the credit card company refunded the money, hallelujah!

Frustration-Free Packaging!

OMG! OMG! OMG!

How did I miss this?!

For years I’ve been opening my online orders and rolling my eyes as I have to slit the thief-proofing on DVDs; cursing as I pry away the display-friendly plastic wrap around products that I have ordered (Hello!) online, untouched and straight from a warehouse; and calling into question the parentage of the people who invented those plastic clamshell case thingies. I will never forget the time I had to actually get a Phillips head screwdriver to detach a $3 car from the moulded plastic insert onto which it was screwed. Yes, really.

From time to time, standing in my kitchen wielding a blunt pair of scissors or doing the dangerous “Sabatier Knife Trick” on a reluctant package, I have gone off on my rant about how, come the revolution (mine, naturally), all manufacturers will be forced to wrap their products in plain sacks that can be reused (say, turned into pretty quilts, or dresses, or oh no wait, that was the American Frontier. How did we get so far away from that great idea, so quickly?). Stores can take one out for display and the rest will just be sitting in their biodegradable or recycled sacks, waiting for their new homes.

Well, apparently Amazon has read my mind. Again.  (That whole “Kindle” thing was just eerie…)

Look! They have introduced a Frustration-Free Packaging standard and are using their, er, influence to convince manufacturers to get with the program.

The standard says:

Certified Frustration-Free Packaging means:

  • Easy-to-open
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Ships in its own package without an additional shipping box

And behold! (As a mother of small children this picture really warms my heart.)

picture by Amazon.com and no, not by permission, but good grief it's an advertising image that I am taking viral to promote the company and their wonderful idea, so if anyone from the legal department wants to get in touch, then maybe they should check their temperature and take several deep breaths and reconsider their career. Thanks.

picture by Amazon.com

It’s not quite a burlap sack yet, but it’s one box and they ship it right to you in that one box. (Look at it there, in all its brown and black beauty). There are no pastic-wrapped wire ties, and no brown paper stuffed in the shipping box to make sure that stuff doesn’t slide around inside.

And they come like this right off the assembly line!

Be still my beating, green heart.

You can find a whole Frustration-Free section of their store here.

And no, it’s not the whole answer and yes, maybe we should just buy less plastic cr*p in the first place, but I really and truly believe that every little move helps. You can’t get many people to make big lifestyle changes quickly. But you can make lifestyle changes easy for a lot of people to make in small increments. This is one. And I LOVE it.

The only question is, how did I miss this until now?