Plastic- encased gifts can bring on ‘wrap rage’

    Some people use a knife, others try teeth and some may have even reached for a chainsaw. Trying to open manufactured-sealed plastic can bring on “wrap rage” injuries.

    The hard plastic containers are called “clam shells” and are often sealed so tightly around the edges, consumers fight to get them open.

    Opening a simple pair of children’s roller skates last year resulted in a gashed finger for Randy Wings of Philadelphia.

    “I grabbed the sharpest knife I could find in the drawer. I got one, popped right out, no problem,” he said. “As I start to cut into the second one, I slip and I stab myself in the hand. I threw everything I had in my hand. I’m yelling and screaming and the thing would not stop bleeding.”

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    Wings is not alone. A poll conducted by Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society found 17 percent of Pennsylvanians have injured themselves opening a gift. Fourteen percent of those people have done so more than once.

    Dr. Chih Chen with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has been working exclusively with emergency medicine for 15 years. He said he’s seen it all around the holiday: from falls to burns — and numerous hand injuries from packaging accidents.

    “We see people with large lacerations, we see people with tendon injuries,” said Chen. “Even the amputations or partial amputation can certainly occur when people aren’t real careful with what they’re doing.”

    Those horror stories inspired major retailer Amazon to offer “frustration-free packaging.” Nadia Shouraboura, Amazon’s vice president of operations, said online shopping is different than browsing a store window. Customers can preview their purchase through online photos and customer reviews.

    “When customers look online, they don’t need the fancy clamshells and they all prefer easy-to-open and recyclable packaging,” she said.

    Amazon said it now offers 15,000 frustration-free packaging items on the site since the program launched in 2008.

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