Thursday, December 08, 2022

When I was growing up there was hardly anything more exciting than receiving a package in the mail. We would open the package and admiringly look at the contents which you have long waited for. And then you put aside the contents and lovingly hold … the bubble wrap! Nothing was more thrilling and delightful than spending hours stomping all over those bubbles and basking in the satisfying “pop” sounds. The fact that it also annoyed everyone around you and caused everyone else to become jealous that they didn’t have any bubble wrap made it all the more fun.

This may come as a shock, but it seems that the excitement of bubble wrap is becoming a memory. Sealed Air Corp, which has sold bubble wrap since 1960, is introducing a new version of the product called iBubble Wrap. The original bubble wrap was too space-consuming. It would be delivered in massive roles to warehouses and would take up a great deal of space which couldn’t be used for actual merchandise. The new wrap takes up one-fiftieth the space of the traditional material and appeals to online retailers who are driving growth in the $20 billion protective packaging business and want to ship items as compactly as possible.

The revamped material is sold in flat plastic sheets. Just prior to shipping the sheets are filled with air via a custom pump. Once inflated, iBubbles look similar to traditional bubble wrap with one notable exception: there will be no satisfying pop when you push, press, sit or stomp on it.

The bottom line is that the wrapping needs to protect the contents in the most efficient and resourceful manner possible. Despite how enjoyable it is to play with bubble wrap, if there is a better way to protect packages in a more ideal manner, then it’s time to bid bubble wrap farewell. The main thing is that the package arrives in its pristine form.

As a nation we have been proudly carrying invaluable merchandise with us wherever we are. It’s the merchandise which guides our lives and infuses our days with meaning, direction and purpose.

That merchandise needs to be taught and presented with attractive and user-friendly bubble wrap. Children need to be drawn towards the merchandise by the wrapping so they could eventually appreciate the merchandise itself.

In each generation the wrapping needs to be adapted to those times. The wrapping used in my father’s generation is not the same as the wrapping used in my generation, and the wrapping used in my generation is not the same as that of my children’s. The techniques, the approaches, the disciplinary tactics and the reward system are all part of the wrapping.

Despite the fact that the wrapping constantly has to be revamped, the package inside always stays the same. In fact, it is illegal to tamper with it.

This distinction is actually vital to understand. Whatever falls into the category of wrapping is subject to change, but the merchandise itself is exactly as it was, as perfectly pristine as it was when it was first given to us at Sinai all of those years ago.

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is a popular speaker and author. He is a rebbe in Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, NJ, and an experienced therapist, recently returning to seeing clients in private practice, as part of the Rockland CBT group. For appointments Rabbi Staum can be reached at 914-295-0115. Looking for an inspirational and motivating speaker or scholar-in-residence? Contact Rabbi Staum for a unique speaking experience. Rabbi Staum can be reached at [email protected] Archives of his writings can be found at www.stamtorah.info.

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