Oh fiddlesticks! Average person spends 30 minutes prying presents from boxes on Christmas

  • Survey finds that over the course of your life, you’ll spend 43 days total trying to free a product from its packaging.
  • Whether it’s vacuum-sealed or over-taped, packages that are too hard to open cause one in three people to lose their temper!

LONDON — The joy of receiving nightly gifts after lighting the menorah on Chanukah or racing to the tree at the crack of dawn on Christmas to find a stockpile of presents may be what makes the holiday season so exciting across the world. But that excitement can quickly fade away once it comes to the act of opening up those thoroughly-packaged gifts — which, for many of us, may require scissors, box cutters, strong fingers, and lots of patience. In fact, a 2019 survey of 2,000 British adults found that the average person will spend more than a half hour on Christmas day trying to free their gifts from their boxes or containers.

Of course, the frustration of opening an impossibly-sealed package isn’t just limited to the holidays. The survey reveals that the typical adult spends 19 minutes each week attempting to pry open a package. That’s the equivalent of 43 days when expanded over the course of an average person’s lifetime. Whether it’s over-taped, vacuum-sealed, locked up among a maze of cable ties, or encased in a vault of those plastic screws that can take a mind-boggling number of twists to slide off, it seems manufacturers these days are finding new ways to make a product insanely tough to open.

And while it might require some household tools to assist in getting into a package, the survey shows that one in six people have actually broken a pair of scissors or bent a knife in an unsuccessful attempt. Perhaps even more shocking: two in five adults have even hurt themselves while trying to unwrap a package or present.

Package rage is so bad for some that a quarter of respondents even damaged or broke the product itself from haphazardly trying to open it.

“These shocking results show that problem packaging isn’t just a nuisance, it’s a real issue that’s affecting millions of people and making them feel less included at special times like Christmas,” comments a spokesperson for UK-based packaging company DS Smith, which commissioned the survey, in a statement.

Too much tape is all the rage

Overall, 84 percent of respondents admit feeling frustrated when they struggle to open a container. A third admit it’s even brought them to losing their temper, and a fifth of adults even feel defeated after an unsuccessful bid. The survey found that most people give up after eight minutes of battle with box.

Three in ten respondents say that too much tape is typically the source of their frustration. One in five admits the need for a screwdriver boils their blood, and a third feel anything that prevents them from easily opening a package will annoy them.

And when a second person enters the equation, all bets are off. A quarter of respondents wound up in an argument with someone while trying to open a product, with nearly two-thirds actually having a fallout with their partners as a result. Three in ten even got into a spat with their children because of poor packaging.

Heavy-duty packaging could lead Christmas shoppers to take their business elsewhere

In light of so many package problems, nearly a third of respondents don’t buy specific brands anymore to avoid having to deal with future frustrations. Researchers project that companies could be losing serious money from such problems: one in five will opt against purchasing a specific product online over fears of too-tough packaging.

“The rise of e-commerce is meant to make getting what you need easier than ever – but as this research shows many brands and online shops are falling at the last hurdle: making the packaging easy to open,” the DS Smith spokesperson notes. “With Brits reporting issues with one in every six products it is this ignorance that is hitting them in the pocket and potentially costing them billions of pounds.”

So if you want to make the holiday more relaxing for your gift’s recipient, do them a favor and remove the product for them beforehand — if you’ve got the patience.

The 2019 survey was conducted by OnePoll.

This post was first published on December 25, 2019.

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