The Agony & the Ecstasy of Re-sealable Bags

Do you know what the worst, good idea that makes a ton of money is? This:

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The re-sealable bag. They have those little plastic tracks along the top of bags that are supposed to close by squeezing them together with your fingers and they’re supposed to open by simply pulling the two sides apart.

An excellent invention, really. No twist ties, no fold over bags that don’t seal in freshness – just a simple, self-contained, disposable air-tight container perfect for sandwiches, frozen vegetables, fresh vegetables, kitty litter, coffee — anything.

Brilliant, except — and maybe this is just me — they don’t work. Such a neat, simple concept that ought to work really well. But it doesn’t. But that doesn’t seem to stop everybody from using it; which I find really strange. So maybe I AM the only one in the world who is resealably-challenged.

I think Glad or some sandwich bag company invented them way back in the 1960s and now the patent has run out and everyone is free to put stuff in resealable bags. I wish they’d stop.

First of all,  I never know where to cut the top of the bag off. If I cut too far from the resealble part, the whole bag is still sealed with the glue part.  If I cut too close to the resealable part, then I have nothing to hang on to when I try to pry the resealable thing apart. Sometimes I even cut right through the resealable part.

If I do manage to make an okay cut, then I can’t open the resealable thing.  It won’t pull apart. I pull on one side, I pull on the other side, I pull in the middle. It doesn’t open. I usually end up ripping the bag.

Some of them are already open. But then I can’t close them. I push. I squeeze. I yell. I take a deep breath and then run my fingers gently, lovingly across the top of the bag feeling the plastic tracks connect and then…then… voila! It’s still open.

I hate these things. They’re horrible. They are the bane of my existence. Yes, I said “bane”.  And absolutely everything seems to come in resealable bags.  Everything that comes in a bag, comes in a resealable bag. I’d gotten to the point where I was seriously thinking of never buying anything in a bag again. That would have cut my grocery bill in half. 

But then I discovered …

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Chip clips! They’re not just for chips anymore. No sirree. I use them for everything now — especially resealable bags. See?

freezer

This is my freezer full of stuff in resealable bags, sealed with chip clips.

I can get a big bag full of chip clips in a variety of sizes and colours at the dollar store for only a dollar! Sometimes I can even find them at the 99 cent store for 99 cents! What a bargain. They’re a snap to open and close; they do a jim-dandy job of sealing in freshness; and, they are quite decorative, as you can see.

So, screw you resealable bags!

after

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XUP has been nominated for Best New Blog in the Best Canadian Blog Awards. I am counting on winning first prize (a bejewelled trophy) so I can pawn it and buy my poor child a small gift for Christmas with the proceeds. It will be her first ever store-boughten Christmas present, so please go vote. For her. http://cdnba.wordpress.com/vote-2008/best-new-blog/

Thank-you.

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34 responses to “The Agony & the Ecstasy of Re-sealable Bags

  1. i am so with you on those re-sealable bags! i will have to add this to my list of things that i am inept at doing. sealing bags.

    i especially hate the bags that have frozen veggies in them (i think you have a few in your photo). these are especially difficult because your fingers are usually wet AND by the time you finally get it closed FROZEN. ACCK!

    one thing though that they should start putting in re-sealable bags are pasta !!!? now theres an idea eh. i have packages of the stuff in my cupboard with that little tiny wee end of it twist tied. pasta is just waiting to burst out of the end of it with the littlest jolt!

    anyhow, as if we only have this to whine about eh. how about how little or big to cut the milk bag.

    btw, do you re-use your re-sealable bags and milk bags? i do. infact if i don’t re-use those bags for food, they are great poop bags….sorry.

  2. I’m with you on this. I usually end up putting the cheese which comes in resealable bag into another resealable bag as a backup. Now I keep a drawer full of binder clips for freezer bag (and other) uses since I’ve been following the blog of Ottawa’s own “Binder Clip King” (see link below)

  3. Agreed! And it’s just more plastic waste in the landfill. I use clothes pins (you can add dates or content names on them) or binder clips.

  4. My joys with resealables have included actually ripping part of one side off in the attempt to initially extract contents. Then when trying to reseal, it just flaps while lookings as if it is laughing at me.

    or the other joy of getting any of the contents IN the tracks so it will not close. Little things are fun like sugar or coffee in the tracks, renders air-tight capabilities incapable.

    XUP #1, voted early.

  5. Who are you and how did you get into my freezer and take that photo?!?!?

    This is a flipping riot! I think at any given time we have what amounts to the weight of Paris Hilton in those clips, closing bags of varried size and product stashed in cupboards, drawers, freezer and fridge.

    They are the most amazing things since sliced bread… speaking of which there’s one closing our bread bag as I type this. 🙂

  6. Lebowski – Unfortunately you can only vote once in each round. If I make it to the finals you can vote again then. Thanks!

    Raino – OH YA – those frozen bags are the worst. Cold and slippery when you’re in the middle of making dinner. Pasta and rice and stuff I put in glass jars. Saves a lot of headaches. And I don’t buy milk at all so, no problemo there. I try to restrict the number of antagonistic supplies I keep around the house.

    Skylark – Binder clips are good, but a bit problematic for the freezer since they’re metal. Also, I find it difficult to get a good seal on a big bag of frozen peas with a binder clip — the long flat chip clips seem provide a better seal. Binder clips (the official emblem of Ottawa Bloggers) do have a thousand and one other uses, though — as you point out.

    Woodsy – Clothes pins, eh? Good point about being able to write stuff on them. Although — with a good marker you could write on the chip clips, too!

    Jazz – Yes, all these small things sent to plague and test me. But I’m a survivor and will adapt and pull through — don’t worry.

    Reeky – It’s totally nuts. Something that SHOULD have been such a great invention — how did it go so horribly, horribly wrong? And why has no one noticed? Why do companies continue to BRAG about the resealable feature on their bags, like it’s a good thing? Don’t they do focus groups, market research?

  7. Kitty – That IS a riot! We close the bread with them too and the dry cat food and the cheese and the cereal and crackers and even the chips!! If I could figure out a way to use them to seal a half empty bottle of wine (just for a few hours, of course) I would.

  8. Chip clips… Awesome invention! Maybe created by the enemy of the guy that invented the sealable bags just to make a point and show the world how a looser this guy was?

    Have a great day XUP!

  9. Me too! I do exactly the same thing. Bags of frozen veggies are the worst (as Raino pointed out) — so now I cut open the end of the bag without the resealable thingy, and use a clip on that end instead. I feel like a first-world failure.

  10. That whole “freezer full of stuff” photo is mind-boggling to me. My freezer has vodka and popsicles in it. And freezer-burned ice. ‘Cause that’s about the extent of my cooking.

    No, seriously. My mind. It boggles.

  11. Guillermo – His invention is a loser, but the inventor I’m sure has made a pile of money off this thing — it’s everywhere. I’m sure he’s much richer than the chip clip guy. UNTIL NOW! Mwah ha ha. Now that we’re spreading the word, chip clips will become high in demand and soon everything will come will resealable chip clips!

    Dr. Monkey – Your cheque’s in the mail.

    Lynn – The END of the bag? Gee that’s strange. Why are you cutting off the opposite end of the bag? Why not just cut off the resealable part and send it back to the company and say, “thanks, but these things don’t work. I’ll be using chip clips to keep my goods freshness sealed”?

    Lesley -That’s so sad. What do you eat? Do you go out every morning, noon and night? Get delivery/take-away? Go visit friends at meal times? Not eat? I could blame my full fridge, freezer and cupboards on motherhood, but I always had a good stock of supplies in even before the motherhood thing. I like to eat and cook.

  12. If you complain to the manufacturer, they’ll usually reply with a nice form letter and a coupon for a free product as an apology.

    I get this problem with St. Albert cheese curds. There are three degrees of security on those curds: first, the top of the bag, which is serrated so you can pull it off relatively easily (in theory). The third is the zipper lock. In between is a sealed lip between the edges of the bag that is supposed to be lightly glued so that you can pull it apart to unlock that fresh cheese.

    Except, as you mention, it’s never glued lightly enough, and when you try to pull it apart, the bag usually rips below the zipper, exposing the contents to the vile stench of reality. 😦

    (PS: There’s an extraneous tag after your image that isn’t closed, and it makes your blog entry look blue when viewed at blogawa.ca)

    – RG>

  13. A note about those clips. Once they go into freezer, they snap really easily when you try and open them again. I’m sure you have discovered that…
    I love them for pantry items.

  14. I was given a whole whack of those clips years ago when I spent Christmas in England. I didn’t see them here until much later. (Those Brits are so far ahead of us!). I LOVE them. They are an absolutely brilliant invention. Unlike resealable bags which don’t work for me either.

  15. Real Grouchy – I’m not sure what exactly you mean about the extraneous tag — on which image? I’d like to fix it -please send details. You can explain further via email (urbanpedestrian@gmail.com) And thanks. And, yes, packaging sure has become complicated. I liked the olden days when everything sat around in the store in barrels and they just scooped stuff into a paper bag for you (and it all cost one or two cents).

    Missy – They’re the chip clippiest thing I’ve EVER seen!

    Zoom – Funny indeed. As I was writing this post I was thinking if these resealable bags just required a little more patience than I was able to put into sealing and unsealing stuff. Then I thought, “ya I’m not very good with picky stuff like this… that’s probably why I could never do beadwork or crafts or sewing or knitting.” And then I started to wonder if people who knit (and I thought of you specifically) would have less trouble with resealable bags. Now I have my answer!

    Johannah – Thanks for visiting and what a lovely Etsy site you have!! When you say they snap easily, do you mean break? I haven’t broken one yet. Or do you mean they open and close really easily when frozen? Because that’s true.

    UP – I think I first saw them at my mum’s who brought some back from Europe. If there’s a cheap gadget anywhere in the world, my mum will have it first. At the time I just shook my head and thought “Ah, crazy old mum, clipping up her chip bags” because I couldn’t imagine needing them since I always ate all my chips in one go. Little did I know…

  16. I hate to admit this out loud…but I have no problem with the resealable bags. None!

    My husband and father-in-law can’t open or close them to save their lives though, and I used to make fun of them.

    I had no idea it was a widespread problem and not some weird genetic disorder.

    😉

  17. XUP: re: reseable bags. Try cutting them open before a glass or eight of your favourite white wine.

    re: Vote for you. You’re pathetic, begging like that, and using your poor deprived child for such selfish purposes. I suspect that your statement about her first-ever store-boughten gift is even a ruse.

    Then again, you might have already been into your white wine when you wrote that.

    For shame!

    Hugs,
    NGB

  18. CP – You and Zoom. Must have something to do with infinite patience.

    Bob – I’m not sure I like your implications. And after following 2 national elections very closely I think I know what needs to be done to pander for votes. (No drinking during the elections)

    Kitty – Ya, it’s not a really big problem here either, but every once in a while you just can’t make it through that last bottle, ya know…

  19. Zip lock my a** … cheap’ones dont work….good ones aren’t perfect.

    Clips for bags….uh….no … used once … it is a waste …. used when bag is all but sealed anyway…….I can roll up and fold a bag then place against pantry wall ….thank you.

    lol on the above wine comment…. yeah what wine? …*up*…

  20. i think i know what to ask Santa for xmas….
    i do love ziplock’s though. they are like gold to me. an expensive indulgence (i was denied ziplocks when a child – perhaps that is why i covet them so?) i even wash them so i can use them over and over again, that is how precious they are to me. but, they have to be ziplock – any knock-offs don’t cut it.

  21. I learned a trick from my friend Murty. I was sweating over that horrible plastic cling wrap and how it sticks to everything except what you want it to, and she said to just be all zen about it and let it float gently over what you want it to cling to.

    I tried it and it worked. It’s a zen visualization thing. Try it. Before you actually touch the resealable bag, visualize it working properly, take a few deep breaths and make it so.

    Om.

  22. Binder clips!!!!

    All this time I thought it was just me. The other is the cold cuts that claim to be in “re-sealable plastic…” gah!

  23. Hunter – Folding and squishing against pantry wall does NOT guard against weavils…I’m just sayin’

    Meanie – You know, the actual Ziplock brand bags aren’t too bad. I can sort of deal with those and they often work as they’re supposed to. It’s all those other bags with stuff already in them that don’t work. I hope Santa fills your stocking with chip clips!

    Zoom – If I can manage to actually rip a piece of cling wrap off the roll without making a mess of it, the wrapping up stuff part is easy. I find with cling wrap, as with a lot of things, you have to get the expensive stuff — the other stuff is just crap. And I’ll take your zen advice into consideration, but when I’m in the middle of cooking dinner and doing 3 or 4 other things at the same time, I ain’t got no time for zen. Chip clips click open, chip clips click closed. End of.

    Nat – You shouldn’t be eating cold cuts anyway. They’re full of nasty stuff like sulphites and listeria and snouts. Unmanageable packaging is nature’s way of warning you off — much like the quills of a porcupine.

  24. That made me think of the “new” bags Loblaws uses for deli meats:

    I LOVE THOSE!!!

    I hated that the old ones would only stay somewhat closed when the sticker was on, and then when you ripped it open, there was no way you could keep the meat fresh. Now with these, you get to keep he meat longer, don’t have to struggle with the other track-like zipper-lock, and you can do it without having to worry about anything!

    Yay for slider zippers! 🙂

  25. Already on board with the chip clips. The last four resealable bags I tried to open have only the one side of the sealing portion glued to the bag. The other side is just sealed to the glued side. Chip clips are the only option.

  26. Damn straight! You wait, soon they’ll abandon those silly resealable bags and sell everything with chip clips attached

  27. Right on! 2008 post and nothing’s improved since? Pretty much fail. Feel like I should forward this to every supplier I know or product I purchase. Great concept, sucky implementation. Apparently the patent wasn’t thorough enough.