THE DIMINUTIVE Belkin Media Reader-Writer, reviewed earlier today, came in the usual enormous tough-plastic display packaging. This colossus measures 29 x 16 x 7cm. The bulky bit containing the card, manual and lots of cardboard, has an internal volume of 1,000 cubic centimeters (same as the cylinders of a small car or a superbike). The card itself has a volume of approximately 10 cc. So the packaging is 100 times larger than it ought to be. This monstrous confection was difficult to carry home and took up far too much space in my bag. And, of course, it is ridiculously wasteful and difficult to recycle. We are being charged for supermarket bags, so why do we get such packaging foisted on us for free?
My biggest gripe isn't with the size, volume or waste. It concerns the near impossibility of freeing the product from the clutches of this unfriendly, sharp, unyielding lump of plastic. I keep an enormous pair of scissors especially for this type of recalcitrant packaging. Even so, it takes great effort and trying to rip open the resulting clean cut is fraught with dangers. It can only be a matter of time before someone chops off a finger on such a sheet of razor-sharp plastic and sues Belkin or whoever for several million. Roll on that day because it will mean an overnight change to more sensible, cheaper and more customer-friendly packaging.
Although this latest monstrosity from the House of Belkin was in the Apple Store, it is significant that most Apple packaging is a model of what ought to be: small, neat cardboard boxes which are no bigger than they need be. Even the latest 13-in MacBook Pro comes in a box that looks as though it contains nothing bigger than an iPhone. So it is possible, Belkin. Next time I shall consult Messrs. Sue Grabbit & Run, so be warned.