Wrap Rage: National Crisis or Buyer’s Remorse?

Trucks from hell delivering wrap rage to your doorstep?

Ann seems to be on a roll with her apocalyptic-like themes.  In her last blog she had us stocking up on end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it foods (and matches) and in the current blog she is bracing us for disruptions in the electrical grid.  So when I mentioned to her that I planned to write about wrap rage in Andy’s Corner today she sneered and muttered words like trivial and lightweight. Clearly, she has no appreciation of the seriousness nor magnitude of this societal scourge. Neither did I until I begin looking into it.

The fact of the matter is that I’d never even heard of the term “wrap rage” (aka “packaging rage”) until I checked to see if anyone else is as frustrated as I am with the ever-increasing number of goods packaged in annoying and seemingly impenetrable wrapping.  It turns out that by no means am I alone with this experience and that this sense of outrage has been around for quite some time.

Of the various definitions of wrap rage I came across on the web, the one I found on “Smashbrand.com” resonated with me the most:

Wrap rage is the health condition that develops in response to really stupidly designed and needlessly frustrating packaging. Symptoms include anger, frustration, crying, physical injury and screaming of profanities. These may occur singly or in any combination.

Larry David in the below YouTube snippet from Curb Your Enthusiasm captures the emotional intensity and reckless abandon associated with wrap rage. I’m sure that many can identify with this. I know I’ve been there (and done that), including using brute force and brandishing lethal instruments.

Watch for the stupidly designed packaging, anger, risk of physical injury, and profanities.

Wrap rage is not just about heat-sealed blister packs and clam shells. We encounter many other types of anger-provoking packaging in our daily lives, way too many for me to list is this brief rant. Ironically, nowadays many of these offending packages are labeled “easy opening.” Right!

To lend some empirical rigor to my argument and at the same time stay within our food blog framework here is a small sample of the multitude of annoyingly packaged food-related items found in our home:

  1. Rice in an “easy open” package that requires Herculean strength to “tear here” after which it’s nearly impossible to grasp the edges to pull the package open to get to the rice.
  2. Pancetta in a blister pack that is supposed to peel open somewhere at a location on the package that I have yet to discover.
  3. Cereal in a box with an inner bag designed such that it rips down its side when trying to tear off the top, spilling cereal into the box and onto the floor.
  4. Ketchup bottle with a super annoying seal that requires a paring knife (or other sharp implement) to remove, and then only part of it comes off.
  5. A spice jar too narrow for a measuring spoon after getting the super annoying seal off the top. (Editor’s note: Ann considers this to be a trivial concern)
  6. Charcoal bag string that has baffled me for the 60 odd years I have been grilling. I’ve even watched YouTube demonstrations and still don’t get it.
Is this one of the estimated 201,000 wrap rage ER visits or just a wrapped hand?

Temper tantrums are just one side of the wrap rage coin. Danger of physical injury is the other side. Just how many injuries occur in the U.S. is difficult to know but there are undoubtedly many. According to packagingdigest.com :

Our Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and hospitals do not keep records of emergency room visits due to injuries from sharp packaging itself, an object used to pry one open, or access-related sprains. The UK does, though. And in 2009, more than 67,000 emergency room visits resulted from packaging injuries — primarily deep cuts and sprains.

Keep in mind that the UK population is only a third of the US population, which means that we may be averaging something like 201,000 emergency room visits yearly. Although these figures are from 2009, there is no reason to believe that the numbers are any lower now. Indeed, with the huge increase in on-line purchasing during Covid, I would imagine that we could be approaching epic numbers of wrap rage victims clogging our already overburdened medical system.

Graph from CoStar. Just imagine the increasing number of poor souls being exposed to the possibility of wrap rage and possible trips to the ER.

Such dismal projections of an impending wrap rage epidemic needn’t be the final word. I found on line some alternatives to self-destructive implements such hack saws, screw drivers, tin snips, butcher knives, and razor blades for opening packaging. For example, there’s this ad for a vendor that promises that by using its tools joy will replace rage when opening packages:

Tools that come with the “Slice® Wrap Rage Bundle.” To me they look more like fishing lures than tools.

OK, it’s time to wrap this all up. Clearly, the need to address wrap rage doesn’t have the public’s heightened sense of urgency when compared to issues like electrical grid failure, climate change or world hunger. But it’s still an issue that we can’t afford to ignore. As long as we keep putting stuff in our on line shopping carts, the rapidly growing armada of delivery vans, trucks and planes will continue bringing wrap-rage-inducing packages to our doorsteps. “Buyer beware!” has never been so relevant.

[Editor update: I just discovered that wrap-rage-inducing packages could even be coming to our back yards].

Amazon announced that customers in Lockeford, California, will be the first to see Prime Air drones delivering packages in their backyards (source: Dronedj.com 9/13/22).


  1. Anonymous says:

    This morning, at 6 am, stacey and I were working on a traumatized dog, dressing her wounds caused by the cat. And, I was faced with a very well secured plastic covering on the bottle of antiseptic. As I was swearing at it, Stacey said: you’ve got to read Andy’s blog today.
    Thanks for the laughs!


    • theRaggedys says:

      Sorry to hear about Barky (if that was the victim) and hope you got that #@%& bottle open and her wounds dressed. And, I’m happy you laughed (even though wrap rage is no laughing matter). Good to hear from you.


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