Usability of a Mac & Cheese Box

If you’re reading this you either really like my writing or you were helplessly drawn in by that amazing title.

So here’s the story: I was making macaroni and cheese the other night when I found myself experiencing a bit of déjà vu.

To open that familiar blue box I jabbed my thumb at the bright yellow “push here to open” tab on the upper edge of the box. As usual, I succeeded in doing nothing more than denting and mashing the corner. Then I went to plan B: rip open the top flaps and be done with it.

I commented on Twitter about my inability to work that thumb tab thingy and asked if I was the only one. That little tweet elicited 5 fast responses and a phone call from people all agreeing they couldn’t work it either. One suggested we start a club. I’m thinking we could call it People Opposed to Useless Tabs (POUT) or Just the Flaps Please. But I digress.

What I realized is that we didn’t fail as macaroni & cheese box openers. The box design failed us. Why perforate a thumb tab when we could simply open the top flaps? Crazy idea, but it works for the cereal people.

Besides, as my friend pointed out over the phone, even if you jab the end of a wooden spoon through the tab and successfully pull it open, the cheese packet doesn’t fit through the opening. Hmmm.

I’m curious. How do you open the mac & cheese box?



  1. darrah said,

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Mac & cheese! My absolute, most favoritist subject in the world! I can’t get enough of the stuff.

    Okay. My method for opening a mac & cheese box is the quickest and messiest method: tear the top open with wild abandon. Don’t even attempt the little thumb tab thingy. Whose thumbs are really strong enough to rip through it anyway? And I like your point about the cheese packet. If you’re going to have to rip the box open eventually, you might as well do it right away.

    Mmmm…now I’m hungry.

  2. S'ra said,

    Saturday, June 20, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    With all the years spent in public debate whether mac or cheese should be first on the label, perhaps the blue box folks overlooked the usability aspect. Or, since children are the intended devourers, they may be the only ones who can gain entry with their tiny, opposable thumbs (like child-proof bottles and Happy Meals). Either way, pause for a giggle over Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E. friends flashback with Joey and a robot.

  3. brandi said,

    Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    i absolutely hate that freakin tab! and yet i find myself trying to push it open every time i make mac n’ cheese. grrr. stupid box.

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