Remember when mattresses had handles?

Looking around, there are many things that have changed over the years

I’ll call it the ‘Grr-r-r factor’. It’s the usual expression of the feeling and frustration I experience when I come up against these apparently senseless everyday obstructions.

Following are a few Grr-r-rs that come to mind.

I open a can of food which promises a delectable recipe for its use . . . found on the back of the label. When you tear the label from the can, you invariably find that you’ve torn the recipe in half if not into tatters. If the instructions must appear on the label’s back, could not Mr. Heinz or whoever at least indicate where on the back you might find it so you could tear into it with some assurance of not deleting a critical ingredient or two?

Moving from the kitchen to the bedroom, remember the good old days when a mattress — an extremely unwieldy item at best — always had two sturdy handles on each side with which to wrestle it into the place or position you wanted. Handy handles also, when it came to moving day, or the time for said mattress to move on to the transfer station. Now there’s no way to get a grip on a contrary mattress, and to add to the problem, they keep making them bigger.

Into the bathroom now, and those elegant bottles of lotion with the squeeze top and spout to make dispensing a breeze. They really do work so effortlessly . . .  until you get below the halfway mark of contents and the physics of pressure and plunge deliver only a minute spurt of lotion. But look — there’s plenty of the creamy aid to smooth skin remaining in the plastic container. And that’s where we do have a bit of luck — at least it’s not a glass bottle (we hope).

So back to the kitchen; a container laid out on a sturdy cutting board and the tool for a dollar-saving operation at hand. Getting firm grips on the offender and a good sharp knife, it’s off with its head! And there lies sufficient ‘product’ for a week or more of soothing application. We can guess why the handy plunger arrangement was introduced, can’t we?

Now, what do you look for in your newspaper’s classified ads? A boat, a lawnmower, a pet, or a partner? There may be pages demanding careful scrutiny ahead. It was not always so. At one time newspapers were caring and helpful enough to print a directory or index of their ad categories on the first page of the classifieds. No more. Put on your specs and wade through the headings and fine print until you find (or not) the department you want.

What do you suppose is the reasoning behind this barrier to communication? Isn’t that what newspapers are about — communication? Why the hurdles to ease of access?

Well, let’s get out of the house and do some therapeutic shopping. When at last you find the perfect sweater, or the jacket of a hue to blend with all the pants, don’t depend on the job being done when you hang it in the closet. When, in anticipation of ‘getting it all together’, you hurry through your preparations for a big evening and finally don the new purchase you feel an irritating scratching at the back of your neck. It’s that (expletive deleted)  label!

Just a small oblong of some phony fabric, sewn to the neckline with 10-pound test prickly-end fishing line can lower the enjoyment of an event beyond imagining as you adjust, scratch, and fume at some thoughtless manufacturer on either side of the ocean.

A few clothing makers are finally getting the message and printing their deathless prose/name brand, quite invisibly to any observers, right on the garment’s fabric. Kudos to these enlightened ones.

A little tip: if you a carry a Band Aid or two in your purse, ladies, its application over the label can relieve the discomfort till you get home and dig out the pointed little scissors to disable the pesky irritation. Grr-r-r!


Nancy Whelan is a Qualicum Beach resident and long-time columnist with The NEWS.



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