Amazon Promises Frustration-Free Packaging: Dentists, Scissor-Makers Dismayed

Illustration for article titled Amazon Promises Frustration-Free Packaging: Dentists, Scissor-Makers Dismayed

I'm 100% certain I'm not alone when I say I hate gadget packaging—specifically the armored transparent stuff that they clamshell-wrap electronic gizmos in nowadays. But an unexpected guardian angel has arrived to ease our packing woes: Amazon has just launched its "Frustration-Free Packaging" initiative. I think they should call it the "don't rip out your teeth/stab your fingers with scissors as you struggle with plastic" initiative, but I get the point.For now it's limited to a small number of items from makers like Fisher-Price, Mattel, Microsoft and Transcend, but ultimately Amazon wants its whole catalog in easy-open packages. And that sounds a heavenly idea, and as long as it is a greener solution, it should get the environmentalists happy too. The press release below explains more.

SEATTLE—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Nov. 3, 2008— has launched "Frustration-Free Packaging," a new initiative designed to make it easier for customers to liberate products from their packages. Amazon is focusing first on two kinds of items: those enclosed in hard plastic cases known as "clamshells" and those secured with plastic-coated wire ties, commonly used in toy packaging. Frustration-Free Packaging is being launched in the U.S. with 19 bestselling products from leading manufacturers including Fisher-Price, Mattel, Microsoft and electronics manufacturer Transcend. The product is exactly the same - Amazon has just streamlined the packaging. The project will expand across Amazon's international sites beginning in 2009. "I think we've all experienced the frustration that sometimes occurs when you try to get a new toy or electronics product out of its package," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of "It will take many years, but our vision is to offer our entire catalog of products in Frustration-Free Packaging. We'd like to thank Fisher-Price, Mattel, Microsoft and Transcend for working with us in this effort - we truly appreciate it." In addition to making packages easier to open, a major goal of the Frustration-Free Packaging initiative is to be more environmentally friendly by using less packaging material. One of the first products to launch with Frustration-Free Packaging is the Fisher-Price Imaginext Adventures Pirate Ship, which is now delivered in an easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard box. The new packaging eliminates 36 inches of plastic-coated wire ties, 1,576.5 square inches of printed corrugated package inserts and 36.1 square inches of printed folding carton materials. Also eliminated are 175.25 square inches of PVC blisters, 3.5 square inches of ABS molded styrene and two molded plastic fasteners. Small items, such as memory cards, are also good candidates for Frustration-Free Packaging. Typically encased in oversized plastic clamshells to deter shoplifting, memory cards are then placed inside larger cardboard boxes for shipment to customers. Working with Transcend, Amazon has eliminated the hard-to-open clamshell and the need for an additional box. Instead, the cards will now ship inside recyclable cardboard envelopes which use less material. Amazon is working to shrink the envelope size even further. Customers can order select items from Fisher-Price, Mattel, Microsoft and Transcend in the new Frustration-Free Packaging for immediate delivery. The current collection of Frustration-Free products can be seen by going to



Seems like a reasonable solution. The packaging is as it is to prevent shoplifting which is impossible with online retailers. Manufacturers already make different packaging for different stores, so it's not unreasonable to make an easy-to-open option for Amazon. Great idea.