SanDisk: Profligate Wastrels

Huge Sandisk What’s wrong with this picture? Hint: It’s not the loafers on our mystery model. Size of CompactFlash card: 1.5″ square x .25″ thick. Surface area of impenetrable plastic container: Unaccountably vast. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this kind of packaging waste makes me feel ill. Clearly it serves no purpose other than to make the product stand out on the shelf. SanDisk marketing droids, listen up: If I see your product on the shelf alongside a similar product in less wasteful packaging, I will choose your competitor’s product, even if I have to pay a bit more for it — just to send a message. And don’t even get me started on the difficulty of opening this kind of container, which has become inexplicably ubiquitous. Seriously, it’s a mystery – how can this much technology go into making the package “pretty,” so little thought go towards even the slightest shred of environmental awareness, and so little concern be granted the poor consumer who has to figure out how to open the damn thing? I just don’t get it.

I feel like Andy Rooney.

Music: Ray Charles :: I Wonder

13 Replies to “SanDisk: Profligate Wastrels”

  1. I noticed this packaging trend at Circuit City yesterday, and I figured it was an anti-theft measure. CF cards might have the highest value per square inch in the store, and they’d be really easy to liquidate with eBay, so this seems like an attempt to make them less pocketable. Still a shame, though. Perhaps they could have a display, with coupons you take to the counter?

  2. Well I know they make smaller packaging.

    Costco has the sandisk cruzer minis in the huge packaging and Worstbuy has them in the smaller packaging behind a locked drawer.

    Newegg sent me mine in the smaller packaging.

  3. Man, I absolutely HATE that kind of packaging. Damn stuff is almost impossible to open w/o cutting yourself on sharp, jagged edges of the material itself. I’ve taken to wearing leather gloves and using industrial-level cutting tools when dealing with it.

    I’d stand in line for hours just to bitch-slap the inventor (along with the ones who invented the current CD & DVD packaging – damn nasty tape along all the edges… ;)

  4. Actually this is the kind of packaging that large retail companies like Walmart specifically request since it is difficult to 1) open or 2) hide under your coat and shoplift — so there are reasons here far outside of marketing. Also they want the package to be ‘self-serve’ so that it wont require you to get an (impossible to find) associate in the store to go and open a locked cabinet – and still if in a small package you could lift it. The way you can tell this is to go to a Walmart and notice that all the manufacturer’s have the same package style and size – huge.

    But what is beyond me is why Walmart wont get them to put these things in boxes the size of CDs and use the well-established theft prevention schemes for those. My guess is that they can more easily stand rates of theft for CDs (~$14) than for flash memory (~$50-70).


  5. Hmmm, I hadn’t even thought about the theft aspect. Well, there is some logic to that, but Lee is right – if that’s the goal, then re-usable packaging would be the way to go. Heck, they could even chain Flash Cards to the display with giant brass rings, like the leather coats at Burlington’s.

  6. The plastic is reusable packaging. When we buy stuff like this we put the plastic in our recycling container and off it goes to be reused.

    Putting stuff like this into a paper package means someone rips it open and removes the flash media. Defeats the purpose of having it be difficult to open.

  7. mnep, recycling is good (even a given I would hope, though I know it’s not a given for many people), but recyling does not equal reuse! It’s nearly impossible to open most of those packages in such a way that they can be reused.

  8. When you recycle plastic bottles they are not reused as bottles. They aren’t cleaned out and reused. The plastic is melted down and reformed.

    Recycled plastic can be used for new bottles, “fleece” type outerwear, running track surfaces, plastic trash bags and grocery sacks, plastic tubing, agricultural film, plastic lumber, plastic pipes, flower pots, trash cans, or formed back into non food application bottles. Recycled PET has many uses and there are well established market for this useful resin. By far, the largest usage is in textiles. Carpet companies can often use 100% recycled resin to manufacture polyester carpets in a variety of colors and textures. PET is also spun like cotton candy to make fiber filling for pillows, quilts and jackets. PET can also be rolled into clear sheets or ribbon for VCR and audio cassettes. In addition a substantial quantity goes back into the bottle market.


    There’s no reason that packaging like above cannot be used for the exact same purposes. :)

  9. mnep, right, those are all good (excellent) things, but that’s not re-use, that’s recycling. It’s critical to remember the hierarchy of importance:

    1) Reduce — don’t use needless materials to begin with. Bring your own cloth shopping bags. Let companies that use excess packaging know that you won’t buy their products because of it.

    2) Reuse — If you can get a 2nd or 3rd use out of a plastic or paper bag, excellent. When you take glass bottles back to the store (yeah, like that happens anymore), that’s re-use. When you put plastic bottles in your recycling bin, that’s not re-use.

    3) Recycle — Send things back for re-processing. This consumes energy, potentially creates pollution in the process, etc. It’s a great thing, but reduce and re-use are far more important than recycling in the overall scope of environmental protection and “walking the earth with a small footprint.”

    So in your first post, you said that the packaging is reusable, which is not true. It can’t be reused; it must be recycled, and recyling is the “last resort” in the hierarchy of enviro care priorities.

  10. Actually makes the item fairly impossible to steal or even consider smuggling into the underwire bra or tightie whities at Wallyworld.

  11. Todd – True enough, although I don’t believe theft is the only reason for the packaging. If that was the sole concern, they’d put them behind the counter. It’s not like retailers don’t have hundreds of years of experience keeping small items out of the hands of thieves.

  12. i believe this type of packaging is an anti “stick it in you pocket” device. there are probrably much more eco friendly ways to do it. total agreement on the opening problems. maybe thats a deterrant to thieves too; in the way you have to wait to get home and open your toolbox before you can even begin the time consuming and sometimes life threatening opening procedure!

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