Wrap it right

Fear of Chinese packages


Wrap it right
by Mazloom

One has to have nerves made of copper wires to unwrap some of these holiday gift packages imported from China. These packages are put together in such a way to withstand the elements, constant mishandling by porters, impacts against cargo containers, and onslaught of buyers who constantly try to inspect the items before purchasing them.

Let’s be honest, when was the last time you purchased an item that was already manhandled. Somehow, we don’t like to buy things when their wrappings have been torn already. There must be a sociological reason for this, maybe fear of missing parts, I suppose.

After holiday gifts leave the department stores and make their way to our homes, as if they have not been packaged enough, we wrap them again with gift-wrap papers. To be sure of adequate coverage and protection, we Scotch tape these papers to the gift boxes very tightly as if the contents are pomegranate juice bottles ready to break at any moment and spill out their contents into our precious Persian carpets.

Most Iranians don’t like to tear up wrapping papers. They probably think it might be considered rude to tear the papers after the gracious gift giver spent so much time wrapping it, or they might think, “I am going to save this paper till next year, reuse it again, and save ninety nine cents.”

To some people it does not seem to matter how many times they have tried to save wrapping papers in the past and failed. Somehow, they think if they try harder, one day they will succeed. But there are some people that have reached the conclusion that gifts cannot successfully be unwrapped without the papers being torn. Alas, these people are usually the ones who yell, “tear up the paper, tear up the paper” at the paper saving people in gift exchange parties.

Last week I was at such a party. I am experienced enough not to try to save the wrapping papers, so my problem is something else. I quickly clawed at the paper like a wild tiger. I stole the thunder out of those people who were dying to shout at me to tear it up. Then again, they got what they were waiting for.

When I got to the box beneath the wrapping, I saw that it was a beautiful box with pictures of a beautiful portable CD player on it. I was determined to save the box, so I tried very hard not to tear up the box. I carefully slid my fingers in between the openings in the box and tried to yank loose the adhesive tapes on the box. But, these were not any ordinary adhesive tapes. These tapes were made in China by the people who were masters of bondage for centuries.

I gave up on yanking the tapes and decided to use my Swiss Army knife that I always carry with me just in case I get lost in the wilderness of the metropolis, but quickly realized that I had not brought it with me. How could I have forgotten my knife when I knew well in advance that I was going to a gift exchange party? The only excuse I have is that knowing I was going to such a party, I had put on a cleaner pair of pants than I normally wear and forgotten my knife.

By then it was too late for me. Those people were shouting, “tear up the box, tear up the box”. I was turning red. The fear of not being able to open the box without tearing it up was killing me. Right there and then, I decided as soon as I get a chance, I would ask my shrink what kind of phobia I have; but for now, I had to tear up the box. Oh, what a beautiful box it was!

When I opened the box, I saw that the CD player itself was in a hard transparent plastic container with all the joints tightly glued together. I decided that I would set aside the CD player for now and not even make any attempt to open it; Instead, I focused on the accessories, which were wired to a piece of cardboard inside the box. I turned the cardboard over, and to my disbelief, I saw that the wires were tied and then taped to the cardboard.

I examined the tapes very carefully. I would not have believed such an adhesive tape could have existed if I had not seen it with my own eyes. I scraped my fingernails at the edges of the tape, hoping for imperfections in the workmanship, but no such luck. I looked around for a knife, a fork, or a spoon on an adjacent table. Unfortunately there was nothing on the table I could use for undoing the tapes.

I was afraid to look at the eyes of those people who were ready to shout, “tear it up, tear it up”. Anablephobia (fear of looking up) took over my entire body. I yanked at the exposed part of the wires until my fingernails took footholds under the wires, lifting the adhesive tapes and tearing them loose. Finally no more tape on the backside, just wires!

The wires were put together in such a manner as to maintain the maximum protection against damage by a shipwreck, without overly exerting undue pressure upon the contents of the package. The ties were not just a simple one directional twist of wires. After the initial twisting was done, they must have been bent downward, and then more twists at the opposite direction. Next time I am going to take a pair of pliers with me along with my Swiss Army knife.

My shrink thinks I have Sinomerinthophobia, fear of being tied by Chinese. I don’t think so. My beef is with the way things are packaged.


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by Mazloom on

I submitted this satire to the old iraniandotcom over a year and half ago, but it did not get published.  When JJ launched the new iraniandotcom he used this unpublished satire to open an account for me under the username “Mazloom Ast”.

Rosie T.

I know, I know, I'm not supposed to be here on this website...

by Rosie T. on

but I got curious and I wanted to see your other work...and so...


this is soooooo funny...imagining a bunch of nitpicky Iranians agonizing over whether they have to save the wrapping paper because of the 99 cents or because of the tarof aspect....

and tnen going WILD in a frenetic orgy of box-tearing...

yep..you got 'em pegged..