As a kid, I hated “critical thinking” questions.
I didn’t know what the term even meant, but what I did know was that about a third of the questions at the end of each chapter in my school textbooks were “critical thinking” questions. I’d read the assigned text — well, usually — but skimming the chapter for key words would magically reveal the answers… at least for all the normal questions.
In what year did Napolean whatever? I knew the hack for that: scan the text for numbers.
My goal was to get my work done as quickly as possible, because the draw of TV time at home, and “free time” in class was strong. Critical thinking was an annoying roadblock to very important leisure. I just wanted to get done.
As an adult, I take my time when I work — I just try not to completely Douglas Adams my deadlines, if you catch my drift. Quality is important (although it’s only job two), and if I finish something early, odds are it could use some more thought, another look tomorrow with fresh eyes, or something like that.
There really is no prize for finishing first.
I realize now that the critical thinking questions were the only ones that ever really mattered. Teachers probably told us that, but it didn’t mean anything at the time. And when I look around today, I get the sense that to a lot of my peers, it still doesn’t.
I’m clearly no stranger to marketing, but my career hasn’t yet brought me in touch with product packaging. I like packaging, and I’ve actually bought things over the years because they were nicely packaged — stuff like candy, Altoids Sours, some random bike part… and yes, I’ve even bought myself a few low-balance gift cards to keep in my this is so awesome file.
I recently found myself impressed with the cardboard packaging around the McDonald’s Premium McWrap — I should probably go ask for a clean one while they’re still available. I guess I didn’t notice when they added this item to the menu, because I ordered my first one by mistake. My annoyance at paying about double what I expected turned to intrigue about as soon as I peeked into my drive-through bag.
Some of that price certainly went into the packaging design. What I found wasn’t a cheap paper-clad item like standard McDonald’s wraps, but something that actually looks like a “premium” product.
- The box is rather thoughtfully designed, containing the food very nicely within — you know, what you want from a container.
- It has a pull-and-tear strip for opening the package… and naturally, the strip runs right past the Xbox ad unit on the front.
- There’s a little tab system on the side of the box that’s there primarily to indicate which wrap you ordered, but also to passively educate you on the rest of the lineup. (“Oh look, they also have sweet chili flavor!”)
- It doesn’t look like this should work, but once you’ve opened the package, the box easily stands upright, even with the wrap inside.
Wait, was what tasty?