We know it's been said before, but it's worth saying again: over-packaging is, by almost everyone's judgment, rampant and ridiculous. Nearly two years after Amazon introduced its "frustration-free" packaging -- with a few hiccups -- only 600 of the millions of products on Amazon.com have been modified to reflect the simpler packaging needs of online customers over their retail counterparts (no need for theft deterrence or making products stand out on the shelf). It's a big hit with customers: when manufacturers switch to more streamlined wrappers their products earn a whopping 73% reduction in negative feedback. Amazon is trying to take this message directly to product manufacturers: Philips, for example, recently saw success with downsized packaging for its Essence toothbrush and plans to "expand [its] frustration-free packaging options with Amazon." Happy online shoppers still don't seem to be enough to make a lot of the big dogs cut down on packaging, however. Even though streamlined wrappers save oodles of resources up and down the supply chain, the bottleneck towards making the switch seems to be in the glacial pace of change in packaging design and distribution at big manufacturers and retailers like Target and Walmart. Le sigh. If we were running for office in 2012 -- which we can neither confirm nor deny at this point -- we'd fast-track wrapper downsizing faster than you could say "I just slashed my wrist trying to open this bubble pack of ball-point pens."

[Image credit: boltron~'s flickr]