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28 Misleading Product Packaging Designs That Will Definitely Bug You

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If you’ve been shopping regularly for a couple of decades or so, you have probably noticed that packaging has been getting harder and harder to open, and the warning labels are getting stupider and stupider.

In regard to the packaging being tough to open, I assume it is some sort of theft-prevention method. You can’t just easily rip—for example—an electric razor from the package, stick it in your pocket, and walk out of the store. I bought an electric razor a couple months back and it took me like 20 minutes to get it out of the packaging. I broke a pair of scissors doing so.

In regard to warning labels on product packaging, people in the United States just love to sue companies, and there are way too many lawyers out there.

Also, a lot people are stupid. Companies need to protect themselves from stupid people. That’s why there are warning labels that instruct you not to hold the wrong end of a saw or eat iPods.

Apparently someone once ate an iPod, or that warning label would not exist. I can’t imagine what that person was thinking, and I can’t imagine the doctors didn’t laugh when they heard what the person did. The warning label was apparently on the company’s website for a while!

Anyway, the point is that product packaging is getting pretty obnoxious and irritating. Here are 28 examples that prove my point.

1. The Jumbo Shrimp

Image Source: Reddit

To be perfectly honest, this might not be the worst idea in the world. I don’t want to buy a shrimp with the head still attached. Why include the head at all, though? What are you supposed to do with a shrimp head? I guess you could come up with some sort of interesting prank on an irritating neighbor, like leave them in the backseat of their car if they’re foolish enough to leave their car doors unlocked. That smell wouldn’t go away anytime soon.

I am sure the head probably has some use. I think you can make some sort of soup base out of it. I wouldn’t want to eat that soup, but I imagine it can be done.

2. The Soup

Image Source: Imgur

Well, this just isn’t right. Unless I am missing something, those two cans are identical—with the exception of the packaging.

I actually encountered a similar issue a few days back. I was buying bullion to make soup. I had a couple of choices. One container was two dollars, and the other was three dollars. They were identical in every way, shape, and form. It was one brand, one product, and one package. For some reason, though, some of it cost a dollar more. It was the weirdest thing; had an employee of the store been around, I would have pointed out the mistake. I’m assuming someone did eventually.

3. The Cup of Gummy Bears

Image Source: Reddit

This is extremely deceptive. If I had a kid and bought this for it and the kid threw a tantrum, it would be a justifiable tantrum in my mind.

What kid doesn’t love gummy bears? I left childhood decades ago and I still love gummy bears! I have a friend who buys them regularly. He borrows gas money from me, but he always has money for gummy bears somehow. He also likes the gummy worms, and he swears they are delicious, but I just can’t bring myself to eat candy shaped like a worm. I get freaked out when I look at a worm. That’s why I never got into fishing.

4. The Gluten-Free Brownie

Image Source; Reddit

I think it is obvious what is wrong with this one. It really doesn’t need to be explained.
If you are worried you have a gluten allergy, it is certainly possible; I do imagine a lot of people merely pretend they are allergic for one reason or another, but you can definitely be allergic or intolerant of the stuff.

Symptoms of a gluten allergy include hives, nasal congestion, nausea, and eye irritation. If you think you might be allergic, go to a proper allergist and get tested! The condition can actually be life-threatening if it is serious enough.

5. The Pizza and the Pepperoni

Image Source: Twitter

This would irritate me very much. If you buy a pizza with pepperoni, you expect pepperoni all over the pizza—not just on half of the thing.

I don’t buy frozen pizzas for this very reason. I have experienced such a situation; also, I do think fresh pizza tastes better than frozen. The frozen stuff will work when I am starving, but it never tastes quite as good as one made by a local pizza joint.

Regular readers know that I often complain about where I live; I have my reasons. For one, most of the people who live in town are pretentious snobs. We’re not exactly living in Beverly Hills, people, so get over yourselves!

However, I am lucky in the sense that I can easily walk to four different pizza restaurants, and they are all delicious. There is a fifth that I could walk to if I really wanted to get a bit of exercise. If I wanted, and I kind of do, I could eat nothing but pizza for the rest of my life.

6. The Orange Juice at McDonald’s

Image Source: Reddit

One glass contains the content of a small orange juice from McDonald’s, and the other glass contains the contents of a medium juice.

What disappoints me about this one is that I actually love orange juice from McDonald’s. I don’t know if it is a nostalgia thing, but I have thought for 20 years or so that orange juice from that particular fast food joint tastes better than any orange juice you can buy at a store. I can’t even explain the difference—it is just a much better product as far as I am concerned. I just simply breakfast at McDonald’s; I rarely eat there, but I will if it is early in the morning and I am driving by one for some reason.

7. The Package That Is Impossible To Open

Image Source: Reddit

Do you remember how I was complaining earlier about how difficult it is to open packages these days? Well, apparently there is a product designed to open packages that are difficult to open; unfortunately, it comes in a package that is difficult to open. Life can be a bit absurd at times.

I have to wonder how well that product actually works, honestly. I watch a lot of television at four in the morning, and I am always seeing advertisements for products that you can apparently “only buy on TV”. That’s a lie, of course, as there is a section in my drugstore devoted to those products. They are all kind of crappy. They seem great while you’re exhausted at four in the morning, but the online reviews suggest that they don’t do what they claim to do.

8. The Hot Dog

Image Source: Twitter

There are a couple things that perplex me about this particular picture. The hot dog situation is obviously not cool. That is a very average hot dog. I would not be pleased.

What’s with the holy book in the background, though? That’s sort of weird. Was that there to make a point, or was it just there accidentally? For all I know, the person who bought the hot dog might have been making a point about how lying is a sin via the hot dog deception.

9. The Box of Chocolates

Image Source: Reddit

At this particular point in the article, you shouldn’t be at all surprised by this deceptive packaging.
I am sort of surprised by the company, though. If you bought this candy for your spouse—for example—and saw this you would never buy from the company again. Why would you? There are candy companies out there who are sort of honest.

10. The Oil

Image Source: Reddit

This is pretty deceptive marketing. If you look closely, the company was technically telling the truth, but I would still be pretty ticked. If you pay a lot of money for olive oil, you expect proper olive oil.
No one wants to put refined sunflower oil on a salad. What sort of person does that? That sounds kind of gross, honestly.

11. The Pencils and the Box

Image Source: Imgur

These pencils were purchased in South Korea. It definitely looks like there should be more pencils in the box than there actually are. That is frustrating.

Personally, I am more disturbed by the strange characters on the front of the box. They are all just sort of weird looking. Is that a hamster on the right? I can’t even tell what that is. I guess it could be a gerbil. Regardless, that does not look like the sort of animal I would ever want to interact with. The eyes creep me out a bit. I can’t even tell what the thing on the left is.

Considering the deceptive packaging and the freaky-looking characters on the box, I do hope the pencils work as one would expect. That is the least the company can do for its customers.

12. The Bottle and Arizona

Image Source: Reddit

When you buy a product in the United States, you generally don’t really expect it to be made in the United States. That’s just not how things work anymore in this country.

However, if you buy a product named after a state in the union, it should be made in that state—as far as I am concerned.

I actually live near a town that produces mushrooms; there are a ton of farms in the area. The town is close enough that I can smell the manure when the winds are blowing in a certain direction. The mushrooms are named after the town, and they come from the town; they are not products of Canada.

13. The Sleeping Aid and the Colon Cleanser

Image Source: Reddit

These bottles look way too much alike. If you’re sort of groggy, you might take the wrong one. Speaking from personal experience, you do not want to mix up your medicines. That can make for a really weird night.

Could you imagine taking both before you go to bed? You would probably need to throw away your mattress in the morning.

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14. The Antivirus Software

Image Source; Reddit

Why would Best Buy sell a plastic case for antivirus software if no disc is actually needed? That seems like a tremendous waste of money, and it can’t be good for the environment.

This is a bad move by Best Buy, but I have to say I really like that store in general. The people that installed the backup camera in my car really knew what they were doing, and the salespeople are far more knowledgeable than one would expect considering they only make about $20,000 a year in the United States in most places. You really can’t live off of that.

15. The Coolant

Image Source; Reddit

You do not want to drink this stuff. I imagine drinking it—at best—would involve a trip to the emergency room.

It probably shouldn’t be packaged in cans that can easily be mistaken for a soft drink or energy drink. That is just asking for trouble. I wonder how many times the company has been sued or had to pay for someone’s medical bills.

I could easily see myself accidentally drinking this if I was groggy and not paying attention.

16. The Blemish Relief

Image Source: Reddit

I can sort of understand it in the case of food and beverages, but why would a company that sells blemish relief use unnecessary packaging? I am pretty sure that Proactiv is sent through the mail, too, so the company is just paying more when they don’t have to do so.
In this case, the customer will only be fooled once.

17. The Hillshire Farms Gift

Image Source: Imgur

I like Hillshire Farm to an extent; if I get it as a gift, I am happy. When I get a box like this, I am always grateful to the gift giver. I enjoy fatty meats that are basically designed to intentionally clog up my arteries and send me to an early grave.

However, I don’t think anyone has ever argued that Hillshire Farm gift boxes are a great value. They are the sort of thing you give to a person you don’t know very well—you just have to know they are not a vegetarian.

18. The Cranberry Chocolate

Image Source: Reddit

There is not a lot of fruit in this chocolate, is there? That’s a shame, because chocolate-covered fruit is delicious. I actually prefer fruit to chocolate, but the two flavors combined just fill me with such joy.
I have a box of chocolate-covered cherries in my refrigerator right now. I am waiting for a special occasion. Considering my luck, that candy might outlive me.

19. The Juice

Image Source: Reddit

If there has been one thing I have learned from shopping for groceries, it is that very few beverage products are made from 100 percent fruit juice. If you can buy a gallon of apple juice for under three dollars, there is probably a lot of sugar water in that container.

I know of a market where you can buy pure fruit juice; you can definitely taste the difference. It is also terribly expensive.

20. The Stocking

Image Source: Twitter

Even Santa and his elves mess up from time to time, it seems. This definitely seems like a pretty lame gift, and the company should be ashamed of itself.

When I was a kid, my parents used to give me an orange for Christmas. They would give me other stuff too—we weren’t that poor—but apparently there was some sort of significance there. I guess they got oranges in their stocking or something; they thought it was a big deal. It is possible that they didn’t tell me that they grew up on pirate ships and were afraid of contracting scurvy as children.

21. The Tool

Image Source: Reddit

When you need the tool you just bought to remove a tool from its packaging, it is clear that someone out there is trying to mess with you a little bit. I once bought a pair of scissors, and you definitely needed scissors to get the scissors out of the packaging.

I ended up having to use a steak knife. I almost cut my pinky finger off!

22. The Bottle and the Bill

Image Source: Reddit

It is hard to enjoy what appears to be a bottle of water if there is a $4 fee. It is water! It comes out of a faucet!

This obviously took place at a hotel. Those places will try to rip you off in any way that they can. I am afraid to touch anything in hotel rooms. I am afraid to open windows. There is probably some sort of charge if you do so.

I once stayed in one of those hotel rooms that have proper refrigerators. The staff insisted it was free to use, so I decided to buy a couple of frozen meals in case I didn’t want to eat out. There was, for whatever reason, a jar of spaghetti sauce in there. I talked to the staff about it; I didn’t feel like removing it myself as I had no idea how long it had been sitting in there. The woman at the desk thought I bought it and tried to charge it to my room—for sauce left by a former guest. That matter took over an hour to clear up. That’s an hour of my life I will never get back.

23. The Honey and the Mustard

Image Source: Reddit

You don’t want to put mustard in your tea. I like tea, and I like mustard; however, I can’t imagine the combination of flavors really works for anyone. Even honey mustard in tea would be kind of gross.
Why are these packages so similar? Do the people who design them not think at all? It would be easy to mistake the mustard for the honey—even if you have perfect vision!

24. The Bigger Size

Image Source: Reddit

In this case, I’m guessing the chips are larger; the bag certainly is not larger.

To be fair, stores that sell food have to be a bit deceptive. I worked at a convenience store chain for a while, and we were forced to study the business a little bit. They made around ten cents on every bag of chips we sold, which is why I wasn’t allowed to eat free chips all night long. I was allowed to have free coffee, though, which was a good thing because I worked from eleven at night until seven in the morning. By the end of my shift, I was on the verge of passing out while making breakfast sandwiches.

25. The Turkish Delight Thins

Image Source: Twitter

Based on the comment, I am assuming the social media user was disappointed during the holiday season. I wonder if those things were a gift.

I actually hate it when people give me candy as a gift. If I wanted candy, I would just buy it for myself. If you want to buy me food for the holidays, buy me steaks or a gift card to my favorite restaurant. Who gives chocolate as a gift?

The packaging was sort of deceptive, though, so he had every reason to be upset.

26. The Toothpaste

Image Source: Reddit

I can definitely understand the frustration here, and I can also relate. Toothpaste isn’t cheap, especially if you are buying the good stuff that allegedly whitens your teeth. It doesn’t actually do so, but the companies like to pretend. We should humor them.

That said, if you are expecting a certain amount of toothpaste, you should get that amount of toothpaste.

27. The Scissors

Image Source: Reddit

This has happened to me, and it really ticked me off! Why is everything so difficult to open? Why is everything so difficult to get out of its package?

Most of the trash I throw away is comprised of packaging for mundane products I purchase. Aren’t people supposed to be concerned about the environment? There is so much plastic!

28. The Bottom of the Cup

Image Source: Reddit

I hate when food packages and bottles are designed this way. You think you have more than you do. This happens a lot with wine bottles. It looks like you have an entire glass left, but you only have a few sips.

If you don’t have more wine, you are in for a disappointing evening. At best, you have another bottle you can open.

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Written by Kevin Barrett

Kevin Barrett is an award-winning reporter currently residing in one of the many suburbs of Philadelphia. In addition to working in journalism, he was worked in higher education and logistics. He is single, but does have a distracting little dog who keeps him from achieving maximum productivity.

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