[Editor's Note: “The Haggler” is a New York Times column that appears in that paper's Sunday Business section. This reader's letter is a response to the Haggler's column about clamshell packaging.]
In “Man vs. Clamshell: A Lopsided Fight [NYT, Sept. 26],” the Haggler is humiliated by his inability to penetrate a plastic clamshell package. The clamshell, upon realizing that the Haggler is ill-equipped to enter it, taunts him: “Heh, heh, tough guy. You got nothing,” it snickers.
So, the Haggler adopts an “if you can't beat 'em, join 'em” mentality. He suggests that coffins be designed as clamshell packages are — impenetrable and plastic.
Taking the “Death to the Clamshell” metaphor to the literal — or literary — extreme, the Haggler's experiences with plastic clamshell packages suggest they are engineered in such a way that nothing — not even a strong, sophisticated man — can penetrate their cold, frigid exterior.
I, however, am a pair of scissors who, having read this article, [has] some questions for the Haggler:
First, do you find it odd that the conversation you had with your clamshell package called into question your ability to be “tough enough” to open it? Call me crazy, but does this experience of humiliation speak to deeper issues of your masculinity and insecurities attributed thereto?
In other words, in wrestling with clamshell packaging, are you wrestling with your own masculinity?
Because I am the peas to the carrots that is packaging, I would like to take this opportunity to reintroduce myself: I am a pair of scissors. I have been designed with both you and clamshell packages in mind.
I know you don't like the idea that you need anything besides your strapping biceps to open that which is rightfully yours. But, with me at your side, you can assert both your masculinity and [your] mastery over tools at the same time!
With frustration and humiliation left at the wayside, you can move through your day with more confidence than ever before, experiencing what it is like to be the man you have always wanted to be; that is, one who is confident in his ability to open clamshell packages with my help.
Perhaps we should reconsider [the column's] title: “Man vs. Clamshell” or “Man vs. Masculine Insecurities?” I think the latter …
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to get my message out there.
Dordan Mfg. Co. Inc.