1. For some months now, our daily newspaper has come with one page wider than the rest. Presumably, the newspaper makes additional advertising revenue by using this extra strip of paper for an ad. I personally doubt that there is much value in this for the advertiser or for the newspaper, and I find it quite annoying that the pages are not cut flush. This makes it harder to fold up the paper neatly.
2. Tiny sticky labels now appear on most pieces of store-bought fruit. Few consumers will base their decision on whether or not to buy the fruit, based on those labels. They are a nuisance to remove, and to dispose of properly. I especially deplore them on soft fruit, as removing them easily causes bruising and tearing of the skin. They are even worse than the larger ads, such as the one stuck to the front page of my morning newspaper, offering a discount on men's underwear. Grrr!
3. When I order refills of my prescription drugs by mail, it saves a trip to the pharmacy, standing in line, and paying with cash or by credit card. (The mailing center has my card on file, and doesn't charge for mailing.) So far, so good. But when the package arrives, the problem begins. The pharmacy use a sealed plastic bag, almost impossible to tear open--I need to use a knife or letter opener to pierce the envelope, which I can then tear open. What do I find inside, in addition to the refill? Four or five pages of paper with cautions and instructions, which go directly into our paper recycling container.
When I picked up the first batch of the pills at the pharmacy, I had to wait for a qualified pharmacist to take me aside (for confidentiality), and listen to her spiel about the need to take just one pill at the same time each day, with food; if i missed one dose, not to take two the next day, and so on, blah, blah, blah. Now I, of all people, having trained countless architects and engineers about professional liability loss prevention, well understand why drug dispensers have to do this, but do they have to send me the same information in writing every few months? Couldn't they just insert a note along these lines? "Our records show that you received instructions on the use of this medication on May 31, 2003. If you would like to be reminded of these instructions, please call 800--111-9999 during regular business hours (M-F, 8-5)."