Just Rip It Open

There are a few stories floating around now of this guy who wore black turtlenecks and how he sweated the details of the products he sold to make them easier to use. That attention is appreciated, but there are other times when it goes completely unnoticed.

A few years ago at my office we had a guy who used to work at a paper company. This was back when The Office was still fresh and “that’s what she said” was just beginning to get obnoxious. Anyway, this guy identified with the show because he saw a lot of his old job in it.

One time I had to do a mail merged letter to clients. This guy had the hookup. “Let’s use a higher quality paper,” he suggested. The next day he came in with a ream of high quality paper that his old employer manufactured. He handed it to me and, with him still by my desk, I struggled to open the package. After five seconds I just tore it open from the side.

Office-guy’s face changed.

“…we spent so much time working on this packaging.” he told me. Then he showed me the way it’s supposed to be opened. The way I opened it resulted in a ripped mess. The right way was neat and clean.

At his old job they sweated the details to make something as simple as opening a ream of paper intuitive. But, at least for me, it didn’t work. I wondered if they just assumed that people would get how to open the ream, if they did any kind of Joe Blow testing on it, or just passed it around the office, or if I’m just a dumbass who rips open every package I see like Taz from Looney Tunes.

Now when I open a new ream of paper I open it the correct way.