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How to Open Annoying Plastic Containers

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

Annoying Plastic Container

Annoying Plastic Container

Why won't it just open?

We've all been there... it is lunch time and you are starving. You've been waiting all morning to finally get to your lunch break. You are really excited because you bought a new salad yesterday, and it's been in the fridge just waiting for you to eat it. By this point in the day, you are pretty hungry, so your patience is probably not at its best. You go the fridge and take out your salad. The only thing keeping you from experiencing salad bliss is the plastic container.

You try to open the plastic container. It can't be that difficult. It is a flimsy piece of plastic and you are an adult with some ability to open packages. The plastic container will not budge. You try to pry open the lid, but no success. You tear open the plastic along the side, but that doesn't help. You cut open the paper across the top, but damn it, this lid isn't opening! Do you need some help? Let's discuss how to open annoying plastic containers.


Step 1: Look for hidden clues.

When you are attempting to open a plastic container, always look for hidden clues on how to handle the situation. Many plastic containers now have snaps, strange clicking devices, hidden seals, and so much more. Carefully inspect the packaging to see if it has any of these additional fun "safety devices" added to the container.

At some point, companies must have determined government officials might like to eat all the food out from the containers, clean them, and then put top secret paperwork inside. Surely, this can be the only logic behind making these plastic containers so difficult to open. So assuming there is a good reason behind all this, just simply check out the container to see if you need to unzip, unsnap, unscrew, or "un" anything else on it.

If the plastic container is especially difficult to open, you may even find instructions on it. Reading the instructions can be helpful in any situation, so give that a try.

Step 2: Find a stronger person nearby.

If at all possible, look to see if you can find someone that might be a little stronger than you nearby. This can be the big, beefy guy that works out all the time at your office if you are trying to do this at work. If you don't have a big, beefy guy that works out all the time at the office, try to find someone else that is willing to give this a try.

If you are a female and you can find a male that likes to prove his manliness, there is a good chance you will get this container opened for you. Either that, or there will be a plastic container smashed all over a table soon.

Step 3: Start using a lot of profanity.

OK, this isn't going to open the plastic container, but you are going to feel so much better after doing this. Make sure to find new ways to use old favorite cuss words and you can make it a fun experience.


Step 4: Break out the sharp objects.

After nothing else has worked, the sharp objects need to come out. First, try using scissors. You might need to pry open the container or cut part of the plastic to get it to open. The sharper the scissors, the better. Just make sure to aim the scissors away from you because you don't want to cut yourself or stab yourself to get a plastic container open.

If the scissors don't work, get the knife. Once again, aim the knife away from your body. There is no need to practically die just to get a salad out of a plastic container. Try sawing the packaging open. If that doesn't work, once again, the prying method might just work in this situation. When all else fails, begin stabbing the container. Not only will this help you gain access to whatever is in the container, it will also help you take out your aggression on it. Now that you've shown it who is boss, it is time to eat. Enjoy!

Bonus Advice! How to Open a Child Proof Bottle

Just in case your problem has nothing to do with annoying plastic containers, but instead, your issue revolves around child proof bottles, I would like to help you, too. The solution to your problem is very simple. You just need to find a child. That is right. No one has mastered the technique of opening child proof bottles more than children! So find a kid and ask that little fellow to crack open that bottle of Tylenol for you. That is the best advice I can give on that one!

Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle

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Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on May 07, 2018:

Stopping by again; I see the link to the article I previously wrote on "e-How," still takes you to the site, but the article is no longer there.

Scroll to Continue

I'll have to do a You Tube video, I suppose, to create better longevity! ;-)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on May 07, 2018:

Thank you for your comment. I don't understand why some packages are so difficult to open. I don't even want what is in the package after it takes so long to open it.

Larry W Fish from Raleigh on April 17, 2018:

I loved reading this so much, Jeannie. I have gone through trying to get into those plastic containers so many times. I have always wondered why they have to design something where you need a mechanic to open it. I have gone through all of the things that you have.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on May 01, 2012:

Hi Thomas,

Yes, there are so many reasons to choose pizza over anything else. :-) I will add that to the list. I often look for a knife or scissors while cursing the same time, too.

Thanks for dropping by!!! :-)

ThoughtSandwiches from Reno, Nevada on April 30, 2012:


I must admit that I always go for the knife first, cuss a little while I am looking for it, and then end up smashing the enclosed food item, repeatedly, against a hard available surface. Your government document theory appears to be a sound one.

In fact, annoying plastic containers (not having to deal with) is #52 on my list of why I prefer pizza.

h's & k's


Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 28, 2012:

RealHousewife - I am so frustrated by plastic containers and impossible packaging. It is completely ridiculous. I know they are trying to keep things fresh, but there just has to be a better way! Thanks for the comment!

Attikos - You might just be on to something there. Of course, then the dog might turn on me one day if I did not give him enough stuff to chew on, so I might think on that one a bit. But thanks for the idea!

Attikos from East Cackalacky on April 27, 2012:

If you have a really mean dog with really big fangs, and you teach him to hate plastic packages, he might be able to tear them open for you.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on April 27, 2012:

This is a let peeve of mine. I think there is more money sent in packaging then they would spend just letting a few things get ripped off. Lol. The ties, the like you said - secret instructions to open! Ugh! I've resorted to screw drivers, knives and a power saw!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 27, 2012:

Thanks, Sharyn! Maybe I should write a book... perhaps a how to book and then an etiquette book. But yeah, containers never open the way they should. I am also incapable of folding maps back to the way they were, but since no one uses those anymore anyway, I guess I am OK. Thanks for dropping by!

onegreenparachute - That is a great poem. Thank you for sharing! I am glad you enjoyed the hub and enjoyed the photos.

Carol from Greenwood, B.C., Canada on April 27, 2012:

Here is one of my favorite poems (it shows just how sophisticated my taste in poetry can be):

If plastics say

As plastics should

Open here,


I had a great giggle reading your hub - and giggles are always welcome. Excellent pictures too! Thanks Jeannie!

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on April 27, 2012:

ha ha ha ha ha, lol, ha ha ha ha, omg, breathe, ha ha ha!!! Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie, what are we gonna do with you?

Gosh, I have so many problems opening all kinds of plastic things including containers for potato salad, etc. Sure, there is a little tab but it hurts to open those things. My latest was a package of batteries. Oh, that was sure aggravating! AND, the other day, I was opening the "strip" around the top of the kitty litter container/pale. I went directly to #3 on that one. And also, the cheap zip lock bag from the deli counter, damn, it just won't close. I think they are only made to zip once?

Jeannie, have you ever thought about compiling some of your hilarious hubs into a book?


Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 06, 2012:

#3 probably is the most satisfying step on the list. Either that or stabbing the container with a knife. Yes, I suppose asking for the childproof cap does save a lot of time. I wish we had that option with over-the-counter meds. Thanks for reading my hub!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 05, 2012:

I don't know that number three is particularly helpful. But it is emotionally satisfying. For one type of plastic container, the prescription medicine bottle, one simple solution is to have the pharmacist use the NON-childproof cap. Voting this Up and Funny.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 04, 2012:

Ruchira - Yes, it is best to always have scissors around. It is true that jars are quite difficult to open too. I have a jar opener at home that works pretty well though. It is basically just a flat, rubber-like piece of fabric, but it really works. Thanks for the comment!

Movie Master - I imagine sometimes you do need to use car keys for that type of container. I guess that works best when you are out somewhere without a knife. ;-) Thanks for dropping by my hub!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on April 04, 2012:

My husband and I were out yesterday and bought a couple of packs of sandwiches in plastic packs, eventually we opened them with the car keys!

Loved this hub and voted up.

Ruchira from United States on April 04, 2012:

haha...regarding packages; I have had no problem since; always keep a knife or a pair of scissors handy. It's the jars of jam or pasta sauce that refuse to open and I kinda destroy them by piercing a hole in their top.

call it lack of patience but, that leaves no jars airtight

good topic jeannie!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 03, 2012:

This is so true! I will tell you, those are words of wisdom right there. Thank goodness alcohol is usually easier to open than pill bottles anyday. :-) Thanks for sharing!

Attikos from East Cackalacky on April 03, 2012:

Fortunately, a bottle of Scotch isn't yet as difficult to open as a bottle of Tylenol.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 03, 2012:

ChristyWrites - Thanks so much! I am glad you enjoyed it.

Sunshine625 - I know what you mean! The children's toy packages seem to be the worst. Is the theory that children might want to open them in the store, so they make it as difficult as possible? Thanks for the comment!

lambservant - I know how you feel. Sometimes I think I should have studied carpentry just to figure out the instructions when putting together furniture, too. Thanks for reading my hub!

DzyMsLizzy - That is right! I remember hearing the clamshell term now. I will check out your E-How article. I have a hard time opening bottles, too. Thanks for sharing!

incomeguru - Cough syrup is so difficult to open. When you are sick and not up to opening a bottle, the bottle should not be such a challenge to open. I can't believe no one realizes that yet. Thanks for checking out my hub!

Oyewole Folarin from Lagos on April 02, 2012:

Some plastic containers could be very funny to open really. I remember the day i bought a cough syrub outside my country, i struggled with the bottle cap but did not open until i read the instruction. I now pressed the bottle cap down then gently turn it and it opened.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 02, 2012:

These damned fool containers are known in the industry as "clamshells." I think it would be easier to pry open an actual clam!

I think they are a sneaky attempt to force people to go on a diet, or at least a fast for a day or two.

As far as the pill bottles go, however, I've got the solution: I simply disable the everybody-proof lids. Here are step by step instructions I actually wrote in an E-How article:

Lori Colbo from United States on April 02, 2012:

You are so funny. I always tell people that you now need to have an engineering degree to open things. I've actually contemplated going back to school to get one, but I suck at math and you need that to be an engineer. So, I keep scissors and knives at the ready for just such occasions.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 02, 2012:

Find a child! Haha! I've cut myself many times opening plastic containers. I was opening chidrens toys! The blood was pouring out. I know use a hacksaw or a power drill. :)

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on April 02, 2012:

Hehe what fun ways to talk about those darned plastic containers! You are a witty lady and I am liking the hubs!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 02, 2012:

Daisy - Thanks so much for the compliment. My mind is just never where it is supposed to be. I actually didn't think I would be able to write enough about opening a container to turn it into a hub, but I guess I did. Hehe. Yes, the Dremel multi-purpose tool might be a little too much for my container, but it is a good idea.

cebutouristspot - Thanks so much! I am glad I could make you smile.

billybuc - Sharp knives and cursing always helps open a container. It is also a great way to scare off burglars, too. :-) Thanks so much!

kelleyward - I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Yes, I've had to take that knife out a time or two to open packages. I can sure clear a room pretty fast when I bring that out. Thanks for checking out my hub!

weestro - I am happy to help. I've also had food go all over the place. It is so sad after you've worked so hard to open the container, but then you can't enjoy your work. Thanks for the votes.

JerryJupiter - The swearing and sharp objects technique is a pretty decent method. I am glad you enjoyed my hub.

Ardie - Thanks so much! It really doesn't make any sense that it is that difficult to open containers. I understand the food needs to be fresh, but things are getting out of hand.

Thanks everyone for the comments!

Sondra from Neverland on April 02, 2012:

You're so funny - but this Hub is true!!! I have actually had instances where I've take a rather large knife to plastic containers. Its pure madness I tell you hahaha

JerryJupiter from United Kingdom on April 02, 2012:

Swearing and sharp objects is certainly my method of opening tricky containers! A great read things for sharing!

Pete Fanning from Virginia on April 02, 2012:

This hub was custom written for me, I've done it all, cut myself, split the package open only to have the contents fly out, stabbed the package with a knife. I will follow your advice in the future and once again be able to enjoy fresh food1 voted up, funny, and useful!

kelleyward on April 02, 2012:

You are so funny. I loved this. Great way to start the morning. I especially like the sharp object one and then the picture of the enormous knife!! ha ha!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 01, 2012:

Hilarious to say the least. I personally favor the cursing and sharp knives technique. Great hub Jeannie!

cebutouristspot from Cebu on April 01, 2012:

One of those hubs that leave a smile in your face whenever you remember it. :) Thanks for the laugh.

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on April 01, 2012:


Thanks for publishing another terrific article. One of the attachments on the Dremel multi-purpose tool I use for my craft work might saw through the lid of your plastic salad container...but then you would have to worry about little plastic bits flavoring your salad.

Your mind works in an amazing way. I love the topics you come up with for your Hubs.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 01, 2012:

I never realized milk cartons exploded on impact. This is important information to keep in mind. I can only imagine the mess that created. The story does make me laugh though. :-)

Thanks for sharing and thanks for checking out my hub!

Nell Rose from England on April 01, 2012:

Hi, laughing so hard I nearly fell of my stool! haha! I remember the famous 'milk carton fight' it drove me so mad, I actually ended up throwing it against the kitchen cabinet! (having a bad day!) lol! did you know they explode on impact? the milk went up the wall, on the ceiling and just about everywhere else too! took me two days, yes two days to clean up! I've gone off milk now! lol!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 01, 2012:

Attikos - You are so right. A hammer can solve a problem with a container very quickly. As far as the saw goes, I try to avoid those. I'm a bit clumsy. :-)

DanaTeresa - This is true. Getting the container to close is always another issue. I used to have problems getting maps to fold back together the right way, too, but I guess everyone just uses GPS or MapQuest now.

Millionaire Tips - Eating only children's meals might be the best way to go. I find the children's frozen chicken nugget dinner to be quite tasty. I know what you mean about electronics. Why on earth is it so difficult to open a DVD case? Sometimes I just give up and watch something On Demand instead.

THEHuG5 - Profanity and banging the container against the counter is sometimes the only method that works. I just don't understand how manufacturer's think anyone can ever open their products.

Becky - Yes, I am surprised more of us don't starve while we try to open up these containers. Jars and plastic containers just are not my thing. For some reason, I have a talent for candy bar wrappers and open them for everyone else. I guess it is my love of the candy that allows me to do it. :-) And isn't it great to know a 5 year old can open those bottles, but adults can't. It's a little scary if you think about it.

Docmo - I am glad you enjoyed it. I was working with an especially difficult container the day I wrote it. It makes it so much worse in a clear container... you can see your food, but can't get to it! Thanks for the votes!

Thanks everyone for the comments! I really appreciate it.

Mohan Kumar from UK on April 01, 2012:

Jeannieinabottle, this is truly hilarious. Love the title and the step by step insanity of opening those annoyign containers. And yes I agree that a child proof bottle requires a child!! voted up/funny!

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on April 01, 2012:

This is so funny. I am always having to open things for my husband. Either that or he gets our 15 year old to open it. Thousands of years from now, archaeologists will find these containers and decide our civilization starved to death because we could not get into these containers.

I will never forget having to get my 10 year old son to work the lighter for me. It was childproof. I could not do it. My mom used to have problems opening the child proof medicine bottles when her asthma was bad, Her 5 year old granddaughter could open them though.

THEHuG5 on April 01, 2012:

Hilarious! You're right, you gotta get a child to open a childproof bottle it's the only way! I usually end up using profanity and banging whatever I can't open with the nearest hard object lol. But when all else fails get a man to open it. I mean that's what they're here for right? Great hub :)

Shasta Matova from USA on April 01, 2012:

LOL - Not being smart enough to open a plastic container at work adds extra embarrassment for me. Now I deal with the embarrassment of only eating things that are meant for childrens' lunches. Closing them also takes special skill and challenge. Oh and don't get me started on those plastic that electronics come packed in. They weren't even designed to ever be opened.

Dana Strang from Ohio on April 01, 2012:

This is great. I usually start with a nice deep breath. Step 1 doesn't last long for me and usually ends up quickly progessing to a combo of 3 and 4! Now if you could only help me close the lids on those damn plastic storage containers!

Attikos from East Cackalacky on April 01, 2012:

I've found a big enough hammer usually gets them open. When that doesn't work a 12" table saw does. As a rule, though, I try not to buy foods packaged in plastic tougher than I am.

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