Darren Stockford

DVD cases: Plastic not-so fantastic

Hammer and pliers lying on a DVD caseWithout wanting to come across like a rubbish ‘observational’ stand-up, can I just say: what’s up with DVD cases? They’re one of the most badly designed objects in recent history.

If the clasp holding the disc in place is the ‘press and release’ type, it’s great for storage but useless for sending DVDs through the post, as there’s a good chance the disc will come loose from the spindle and scratch in transit (ie, I’ll receive a dreaded ‘rattler’). Yet if the clasp is sturdy enough to hold on to the disc in the post, it’s not likely to want to give it up when the case is in my hand either. Whatever I do - press the clasp, pinch its sides, a combination of the two, all the while bending the disc as I attempt to prise it free - it won’t hand it over until it’s good and ready.

Once I’ve hit upon the, usually unrepeatable, alignment of events that free the disc, I think ‘never again’ and transfer it to a much more friendly case - usually one with a simple ‘press and release’ clasp that, ironically, I hope I’m never sent through the post for the reason outlined above.

Do you see what I’m getting at here?

I’ve often wished that DVDs were packaged in CD jewel cases. These are beautifully designed objects. They hold the disc firm, yet access is easy; there’s no wasted space inside; and they take up far less room on the shelf - an important point that the designers of DVD packaging clearly didn’t consider in their rush to simply streamline the old VHS case. Many DVD collections have reached their critical mass. My crammed shelves mean that I’m much more selective about the discs I buy these days. If I had more storage room, I’d buy more DVDs. It’s that simple.

This moan was brought to you by the 15-disc boxed-set I’ve just opened and whose contents I’ve spent far too long liberating from super-clingy clasps. Coming soon: what’s up with the packaging of modern toys, and why do five-inch action figures need to be held inside their sculpted, sealed, vac-formed tombs with half a dozen wire ties? C’mon, it’s a Sea Devil, not Harry Houdini.

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