Can we see past the packaging? | PostIndependent.com

Can we see past the packaging?

Ross Talbott
Out on a Limb
Ross Talbott
Staff Photo |

Some years back, a law was passed called “truth in packaging.”

I don’t know who or how the law is supposedly enforced.

There is still a great deal of deception happening in packaging of products.

Recently we were given a box of chocolates.

The box was large, heart-shaped and pretty.

Upon opening it I saw how the chocolates were spaced out in a plastic holder.

You could have put at least four times as many in the same box.

There are many other examples. Consider your breakfast cereal box.

Nice big box, but upon opening it you realize it is only about half full of edible cereal.

Some liquid containers are designed to look larger than their actual contents.

The bottom is often elevated, and there are indentations that make it hold less than it looks like it would.

The shape of the chocolate bar can make the wrapper bigger as though it was a solid product.

Another problem is printing the contents so small that you can’t read or you just overlook it.

Or you read only x number of calories per serving, which you think applies to the whole bottle.

In the fine print it may say that the contents has four servings.

Professional sales people spend much time learning to pick the right color, the attractive pattern, the proper display, the appropriate container or package, the location in the store and all the other gimmicks to promote sales.

We need to have classes in school to teach how to be a wise consumer.

Learn to recognize the promotional gimmicks and not be manipulated. The whole idea of packaging applies to automobile design, building architecture and landscape.

It can be totally honest or it can be deceptive.

You are asking, where in the world is he going with this?

Well, let me put it this way, when you get up in the morning to fix your hair (or beard) and put on clothing, you are packaging yourself.

Is there truth in that packaging?

I was at a conference in Phoenix and was wearing a Western shirt and a cowboy hat.

A lady came up to me and said, “Oh, I love your costume, may I take your picture?”

My personal packaging was obviously sending a message about the contents.

The way men cut their hair or their whiskers is part of their wrapper.

I can put on a hard hat, a cowboy hat or a cap with Broncos on it, as part of the wrapper.

You can look like a cowboy, a construction worker or a policeman and lots of other wrappers that give a message about the content.

An interesting feature where human wrappers are concerned is that, in reality, we are many different things.

Different occasions require different wrappers.

When I dress up in the morning I think about what is ahead in the day and put on the appropriate wrapper.

Often I have to return and put on a different wrapper.

Often we find ourselves trying to change the shape of the product to make the wrapper more attractive to others.

We go on a diet or work out at the gym or go to the beauty shop.

We may even take a class and work at changing our profession and skills.

When the product changes the wrapper needs to change.

If we are to be honest and credible people, we need to work at having a wrapper that is truthful about the content.

We make judgments about people by what we see and read in their wrapper, and that’s not wrong, but we need to realize that there might be a lot more inside.

A good insight is to read the poem titled “Richard Corey.

Do not be deceived by people’s wrappers, and be honest with your own.

“Out On A Limb” appears on the first Tuesday of the month. Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle, where he is a business owner.


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