The computer, the internal combustion engine or cardboard, which is the most valuable invention? We can think, so we don’t need a computer. We can walk, so we don’t need a car, but if we didn’t have cardboard, how would Amazon deliver our stuff? Would they have to wrap our stuff in tissue paper? That gets un-tenable when it rains.

The importance of cardboard to our culture is, I believe, on a par with space travel and the technology that allows us to speak to and see someone in Tonga through our computer for as little as 2 tenths of a cent per month. All we need to do is find someone in Tonga willing to speak to us.

Raw cardboard fresh from the factory is, by itself benign, but configured into box form it houses those niceties of our civilization such as flat screen TV’s auto parts and candy. Cardboard, neither card, nor board, but somewhere in between is ubiquitous and while utile, can also mislead.

Let me explain. The packaging of an item on the shelf of a gourmet food emporium; for example, a package of individual Almond Rocha®, is more likely to be sold if we fall for the packaging.

Let’s say a given package which is 10 inches long by 2 inches wide by 1 inch deep looks like it could contain as many as 10 or 15 Almond Rochas. Although there’s a huge one represented on the package, it only contains 2. Why? The package is the selling point. Don’t be distracted by other indications on the package. Remember those little disclaimers that say, ‘Some settling of contents may occur?” That’s a ruse! Why would you care if ‘contents settle?’ You’re not suing them. When there’s only 2 pieces (Of anything) in the package, and they are too cheap to add molded parts that would hold them in place, why would you care?

It’s like big government; you expect a fair shake, but don’t get a lot. It’s almost as if the packaging is more important than the product.

In a business course somewhere in a college close to a large city that caters to self motivated marketing mayvens, an untenured assistant professor wearing a sleeveless vest, white shirt and bow tie is regaling the students on the value of packaging. That speaks for itself.

The question I’m raising here is what do we do with the box when the computer’s been delivered? Save it. If there’s a problem and we need to send it somewhere, you need the original box. This is a common scam we’re not aware of until we have torn that box apart and thrown it away which happens to a lot of products.

We’re ‘savers’ and taken to the next level, American’s are ‘stuff junkies’ which you can see from the great amount of ‘store your stuff facilities’ being built.

What do we see in the chain link cages which make up these compendiums of crap? Cardboard boxes. Still not broken down flat, so as to save space, most are still in their original configuration because we haven’t figured out the tab ‘A’ into slot ’B’ thing yet. That means we’re basically storing air, not density. We’ve probably saved more cardboard than the law allows, and, it seems, we’ve created a whole industry dedicated to it. We can recycle 100 pounds of cardboard into some of those coffee cup sleeves you get at Starbucks to keep your hand from burning, or we can continue to store it in case civilization breaks down and we have to send it back. Then we’ll go to Tonga, where cardboard is as rare as an individual Almond Rocha®.


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