Reinventing things that don’t need reinventing

Sometimes when a new product idea emerges, you get the feeling that something has just been reinvented for the sheer hell of it. That the perfectly workable solution to a common everyday problem that we’ve lived with happily for countless years has suddenly been re-engineered for completely pointless reasons into something half as good. The latest blameless victim of this trend seems to be the clear plastic set of rings that keep a pack of four beer cans together. Someone somewhere has decreed that, instead of grasping the cans around the rim where they can be easily twisted out with a minimum of effort, the plastic now has to be extruded around the cans about two-thirds of the way up. This means that you now have to pull a can so hard to get it out that the beer receives a thorough shaking up, making it ten times more likely to explode on opening. Oh, and they’ve made a little handle too, for those who hadn’t managed to figure out that you could put your fingers through the holes in the old design in order to lift the pack.

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