COLUMN: Present purchases based on packaging

NANAIMO – It's not the thought, but the packaging that counts.

I wonder what kind of consumer I’d be if it weren’t for creative packaging.

I received some oddball presents this Christmas, mostly because of the packaging that caught my eye – like on the Philips electric face and body trimmer.

The recharger plug was wearing out on my old one and it’s easier to buy a new one than fight with  it.

I spotted what I needed while my wife and I were in the big box electronics store a couple days before Christmas. (We often know what we’re getting one another because we know what each other needs, but not exactly what will fill the other’s bill, so we pick what we want, wrap each other’s presents – creatively sometimes so we can’t tell if it’s, say, a bottle of perfume or a stuffed parrot – and pile them under the Christmas tree with everything else.)

I picked out the trimmer partly because it was cheap, it was what I needed and for the packaging graphics, which included a silhouette of a man with five circled numbers on the areas of the body the appliance is designed to trim. Now, I think anyone with even marginal intelligence could look at the body bits where the numbers were and name them, but just in case, the package designers added a numbered list below the silhouette. Sideburns, beard, chest, legs and groin.

In the big box book store I found a book on photographer Edward Steichen’s work and another book listing history’s worst weapons with a picture of a rickety looking, propeller-driven First World War armored car on the cover that caught my eye. I think my wife picked them up the minute after I wandered off to another store.

Later that day in the chain novelty gimmicks store I spotted a big coffee cup with the words “A Giant Mug of I Don’t Give a *****!” (let your imagination fill in the blank) stenciled on it. It found its way under the tree too. I think I’ll bring it too work.

Something, perhaps the packaging, prompted two separate sets of friends to give us portable lights. One is a Snap-on LED trouble light that I’ve already used to help diagnose a problem in my stepson’s car. The other is a Black and Decker 2 million candlepower rechargeable spot light. My wife had it out last night and I swear she could fry small animals at close range with the thing. At the very least she’ll be able to freeze in place the deer that gather in our back yard every evening.

My stepson, in Vancouver shopping for a present for his mother at the same time I was in downtown Nanaimo, texted me looking for suggestions.

I texted back that I was in the same boat, but he’d never believe what I was standing next to in the big box pharmacy.

My apparent joy at my discovery landed the Dr. Dreadful Alien Autopsy kit with “lifelike motorized guts” under the tree as well. The packaging that caught my attention features a colourful cartoonish caricature of mad scientist Dr. Dreadful and an alien on a autopsy table. The body cavity flips open so you can pour coloured, sugary gel into bug-shaped molds in the alien’s body parts, which heat up and solidify the gel into edible candies. It’s reminiscent of the Creepy Crawlers bug maker sets that came out in the late 1960s.

“Each Autopsy experiment offers delicious tasting treats that look gross and taste great!” according to the advertising on the box.

I’ll likely never open it, but it’s worth having just for the box graphics. I’ll might re-gift it to some kid next Christmas. Then again, who’s to say a grown man can’t play with anything he wants?

Just Posted

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read