CD packaging for dummies

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Music, Technology
November 20th, 2005 • 11:57 am

Alright, enough is enough. I want to know who designed this:

New centre piece in jewel case

We are all familiar with this:

Traditional centre piece in jewel case

What was wrong with this original design? OK, it was a bit fragile, and would occasionally break during transportation. When you buy your CD from and it comes a package with bubble wrap and everything, sometimes the wrapping is still not strong enough and the package is handled too roughly by the postal service, you get the CD, it looks OK from the outside, but you can hear loose things rattling inside, and when you open it, the CD is itself is fine, but the centre piece of the jewel case has lost most of its bits and can’t hold the CD anymore.

Alright, maybe the original design of the CD-holding centre piece in the jewel case was a bit fragile. But at least it still served its purpose, which was to hold the CD firmly in place and still enable the listener to easily remove the CD from the jewel case, by simply pressing on the centre piece with one finger while lifting the edges of the CD with two other fingers.

Which is more than can be said about the new design!

Sure, it’s obviously sturdier and I have yet to receive a CD with broken bits when this design is used.

But it is also almost impossible to take the CD out of the jewel case without breaking something! No matter how hard you press on the centre piece with your finger, the clear plastic in the middle prevents the flexible bits from flexing, and the CD is simply stuck. So you press harder and harder on the centre piece and eventually, this happens:

New centre piece – broken

Great. Nothing beats the feeling of having just cut the value of a brand new item you’ve just bought in half by breaking an essential piece of its packaging.

Either I have become impenetrably dumb or this new design needs to come with a 10-page manual explaining how to remove the CD without breaking the bloody thing. Sure, once you’ve successfully removed the CD a few times without breaking anything, it tends to come off more easily. But I have yet to get a brand new CD with this packaging that I am able to remove from the packaging without digital contortions and the constant fear of breaking either the packaging or the CD itself.

Since I’d rather break the jewel case than the CD itself—for obvious reasons—my natural reflex is to press harder on the centre piece rather than pull harder on the CD itself. And that’s how I always end up breaking the bloody thing. Grrr.

Now, I have see other new centre piece designs, like this one:

Other new centre piece design

And they seem to work better. But whoever is responsible for the first new design above ought to be put in jail. This kind of user-hostile “improvement” is positively criminal.

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