A Sticky Situation
I promised I’d never do a rant. So this technically isn’t a rant.
You know how everything you buy always has at least one sticker on it? I’m not talking about price tags. They are obsolete because of bar codes and that means you never really know how much you are going to pay until you get to the checkout. I’m referring to the alarming range of other things stuck to the products you buy today.
It’s not a problem if the object comes in a box or some sort of packaging which you can biff out. But for some reason, a lot of manufacturers/retailers have decided to put stickers on the merchandise itself.
There are labels with the name of the manufacturer, warning labels, information labels and sometimes just strange things like different colored dots or symbols.
I assume all that information has meaning to someone somewhere, but to me, it is just stuff that has to be removed before I can use whatever it is I’ve bought.
Here is the non-rant: There are two kinds of stickers: those that peel off nicely and those that don’t.
It is with the ones that don’t peel off easily that we are concerned today.
There is also a rule associated with stickers: The ease of removal of the sticker is inversely proportional to the importance/desirability of removing it. This is a fancy way of saying that stickers on things like car batteries, garbage bins and tools peel off easily, neatly and cleanly.
Stickers on cups and saucers, silverware, vases, and anything that your guests are likely to use are generally unremovable.
It used to be that soaking a sticker label with cooking oil would loosen it, but They have invented a new glue that is impervious even to that.
Note the use of the word They. Yes, it’s a conspiracy.
I don’t know if the manufacturers are just hoping for some extra free advertising because their product name will appear on the item into perpetuity, or if it is an alien plot to drive humanity crazy before they take over, but it can’t be accidental. We know that easily removable stickers exist. They can’t be that expensive because some of the easiest sticker labels to remove come on cheap products.
So why do fine china and fancy decorative items require stickers affixed with some sort of polar covalent bonding cement which practically requires nuclear fission to separate?
There ought to be a law mandating easily removable stickers on all products. After all there are laws to protect the consumer from unsafe products. Anyone remember lawn darts?
So if you can’t sell a dangerous product, why are companies allowed to affix stickers to innocuous products like salt shakers that can only be removed with toxic solvents and razor sharp surgical instruments.
That’s right. The only way to remove stubborn stickers is by putting yourself at risk of brain damage from toxic fumes or exsanguination.
We are buying lots of stuff for the farmhouse and as a result, I’m in label removal mode. Allow me to present my latest handiwork.
We bought this step stool to use in the kitchen. To help reach things on high shelves. We intend to leave it in a corner where it will be generally visible, but also, and this is important, readily available. This is how it looks after being soaked for 24 hours in water, rubbed with, pretty much in this order, turpentine, paint thinner, vinegar, nail polish remover, window cleaner and various household dirt and grime removers. Each chemical application was accompanied by gouging and scraping with, at first a putty knife and later a razor blade.
I finally got it reasonably clean, but also somewhat gouged, after painting the remnants with cooking oil, letting it soak for half a day and then scraping the label and residual glue off one molecule at a time.
What is interesting is that like all consumer products sold today, this one included a list of warnings about ways not to use the product because death or injury could result. The list seems endless:
Do not use with wet shoes
Do not reach or stand on tip toe, you may lose your balance
Do not jump
Will not support more than 90 kg
Not for outdoor use
Children should be supervised by an adult
Do not use if cracked
Watch out for overhead power lines
Not to be used as a launching platform for the Flying Wallendas
But nowhere is there a sticker that warns you to be careful when scraping it off. My bloodstains on the step stool proved almost as hard to get off as the labels!