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Packaging can be a frustrating, dangerous operation

Why is packaging so difficult to open? I purchased a box cutter to open the plastic packaging on store-bought items and even it was unable to cut through the hard plastic and cardboard around an electronic item.

— Nancy W., Medford

We agree that companies have good overboard when cocooning items such as earphones and cellphone accessories in multiple layers of rigid plastic, twisty ties and half-inch thick cardboard.

But we also urge you Nancy to be careful with that box cutter when attacking a recently purchased item.

Popular Mechanics cites The Consumer Product Safety Commission, saying that the agency estimates that more than 6,000 people every year end up in the emergency room because of injuries sustained while opening packages.

There are many theories as to why companies use clamshell or blister packaging, but the most common seems to be that the layers of protection deter shoplifters and protect the products during shipping.

Either way, we suffer with you, Nancy. And again, easy with the box cutter.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.