Does this company respect me? Try the sticker test. Jason 03 Apr 2006

56 comments Latest by Nadine K

Call off the expensive market research and fire the analysts and consultants.

Here’s a great way to find out if a company that makes physical products respects their products and their customers: if there’s a sticker on the product, and it peels off cleanly (and without tearing), then they’re a respectful company. If it tears or leaves sticky residue that you need to scrape off with a razor, then they don’t.

It’s that simple.

56 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Dhrumil 03 Apr 06

love it

Jason Liebe 03 Apr 06

AMEN. I’ve thought that many times myself.

What’s even better are products encased in seemingly bulletproff plastic that you need an industrial sheers to cut through.

Jonathan Brodsky 03 Apr 06

I agree, although this would only definatively tell you if the company didn’t care. To tell if the company cared about you, you might need to devise a larger test: does the sticker contain useful information, can the sticker be reused, is there a reason that there is a sticker on the product in the first place.

I have another simple test… does the product come in a blister pack ? company doesn’t care : company may care

Benjy 03 Apr 06

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bitched at hard to remove labels and wondered how hard it is to put on an easy-to-remove one instead. And you’ve hit upon the point exactly — if they respected their customers and product they’d do so! I mean, really, how much more can a different adhesive cost per unit? Even if they passed on 100% or more of the cost difference (a penny?) we’d gladly pay it and probably buy more of their products because there isn’t that moment of anger at the sticker that won’t come off without the razor and Goo Gone.

Josh 03 Apr 06

Yep. Impossible to remove stickers are right up there with plastic packaging that can’t be opened without injuring yourself. I dread buying DVDs because I can never get the SECURITY DEVICE ENCLOSED sticker off without damaging the pretty cover art.

Daniel, Rogue Connect 03 Apr 06

“I mean, really, how much more can a different adhesive cost per unit? “

I don’t know about other countries, but in Australia the price difference is quite substantial. The last time I looked into each sticker was over twice the price for the easy to remove labels.

Stridey 04 Apr 06

How about “can the packaging be opened”?

But yeah, obnoxious stickers are just inconsiderate and abusive of the customer.

Jeffrey 04 Apr 06


Drew Pickard 04 Apr 06

Yes, yes, yes.

Also a good way to see if someone really cares about their electronics: have they removed all stickers?

Drives me INSANE when people still have their obnoxious “5 SCREAMING MEGAPIXELS!!” and “REAL 5x OPTICAL ZOOM!!” stickers on their 2 year old cameras.

Cody Foss 04 Apr 06

I don’t know if annoying us is the main motivation for their choice of adhesive, but it is another example of how corporations don’t consider how consumers use their products.

I don’t want to hijack the topic, but another prime example is TV commercials (or most forms of advertising for that matter). They are designed to interrupt you and draw your attention away from what your doing. What if I didn’t want to be interrupted? I would pay double possibly triple on my cable bill if I could banish all commercials.

cj 04 Apr 06

Speaking of hard to remove plastics and other unnecessary packaging- I would encourage everyone to try this at least once. Next time you’re’ in your local wal-mart or target and you’re at the check out line take everything out of the packaging and see for yourself just how wasteful our society really is. Why the need for all the wrapping, cardboard, etc.

Mike Orren 04 Apr 06

Amen! There is a big corporate music venue in Dallas that not only charges $12 to park, but then puts a sticker on your window— one that requires a razor to take off.

There’s only one way into the lot, so there’s no way anyone can sneak in.

A special ring of hell…

Kieran Bowler 04 Apr 06

My god this is true. A good example is when you buy flowers for the wife/girlfriend and you go to rip the price sticker off, which of course you would, and it leaves a big half ripped mark of an eyesore..

Chris 04 Apr 06

..except if you sell ‘impossible to remove stickers’.

Paul Watson 04 Apr 06

By that measure the US immigration system does not respect me. I now have two bright red stickers on the back of my passport that when I tried to remove started to tear and leave behind bits of itself. The stickers are only there to get from one security check to another in the same building and are legal to remove.

Good test though. Music and book shops need to especially listen to this advice.

Fin 04 Apr 06

Bloglines users can see your revisions.

Randal "sw0rdfish Santia 04 Apr 06

classic! Well put!

Ron Lusk 04 Apr 06

I think there’s a reason for the big blister packs and “waste of plastic and cardboard” other than “we don’t respect you”. It is, “we cannot trust many of you”. If MP3 players (I know, they’re probably all iPods today) and DVDs had as little tangible packaging as MP3s themselves…wouldn’t they all just magically download off the racks into people’s pockets? The point of most of this packaging is to make our miniaturized electronics bigger than pockets and purses, and to guarantee that they cannot grow smaller in some distant corner of the store without attracting attention. The manager does not mind if you are at home cursing the blister pack, because it means that nobody will be over in the paper-shredder aisle with a camera or iPod saying, “Boy, that was easy to remove! How kind!”

mark rush 04 Apr 06

people who make prepacked bacon must really hate me - why oh why cant you get into a pack by pulling on the tab they provide, you always end up ripping off the tab and leaving the pack unopenable without a knife!

Andy Bster 04 Apr 06

Yeah! Not just bacon wrapping my friend, virtually ANY pre-packaged meals - Findus etc. own brand stuff, you name it. Try to tear off the clear film and what happens? It neatly removes just the film around the outside of the container !! What’s going on?

Arne Gleason 04 Apr 06

Makes sense (I’ve always felt that Dole was highly respectful of both banana and customer alike).

stickershock 04 Apr 06

The stickers on cars suck.


MrBlank 04 Apr 06

Belkin used to make their plastic blister packaging easy to open by using a pull tab and perforating the back. They don�t seem to do that anymore. It worked so well. I was able to open it with my bare hands.

Cody Foss:
If you�re tired of distracting commercials in your TV shows, build a home theatre PC. Beyond TV lets you skip commercials and you don�t have to pay monthly fees or worry about it dropping in banner ads when you fast forward � like Tivo. I installed it on my old PC when I got my Powerbook last year and have been using it every day since. I never watch live TV anymore. I even have a serial cable link to my cable box so it can change the channel itself. It�s also a lot less costly than tripling your cable bill.

Robert G 04 Apr 06

One of the worst parts about buying Children’s toys is putting STICKERS ON.

Some toys have 75 to 100+ stickers.

I remember one year buying a racetrack for my son. We opened the box and THE STICKERS WERE ALREADY ON!!!

It felt so great.

Jon Maddox 04 Apr 06

AMEN! I’ve been saying this for years. Everytime i tear a sticker off and it tears all i think of is the stickers that DON’T tear!

“GD! Why do they have to do this! I KNOW good stickers exist! I’ve SEEN THEM!”

Carlos 04 Apr 06

You guys are mixing examples.

I agree with stickers on digital cameras and computers. I still have them on my Sony camcorder for fear of leaving an uglier residue behind.

However, blister packs and the passport stickers and concert parking stickers are MEANT to be difficult to remove or open. If a blister pack were easy to open, it would facilitate easier shoplifting in the store.

I understand the tradeoff with user experience, but the manufacturer of the product isn’t necessarily the one requiring the huge, difficult blister pack. That’s Costco or Wal-Mart or whomever. It’s just the way the retail channel works in those stores.

Paul 04 Apr 06

What if it’s simply that the company that manufactures stickers doesn’t respect the companies to whom it sells the stickers?

Who’s the real victim then?

Rick Turoczy 04 Apr 06

Paul: What if it’s the company that sells the adhesive to the sticker-making company that sells the stickers to other companies, all so that they can sell the high-priced, not-so-sticky adhesive to label-makers, or worse yet, glue-sniffing monkeys? I think we’re all victims of this terrible cycle.

Erik 04 Apr 06

Jason, I think you hit it right on the nose. A company’s basic attitude toward its customers is revealed by its attention (or inattention) to detail.

Whenever I encounter the Tenacious Sticker problem, I always wonder if I’ve made a bad move in buying the product in the first place. After all, if they haven’t thought of this detail, what other details did they not take the effort to consider?

Dave Simon 04 Apr 06

Well, by this rationale, the movie studios that produce DVDs with those stickers on all three opening sides and music companies with CDs that do the same don’t respect us…

Oh, wait, that’s probably spot on then.

clifyt 04 Apr 06

Why not just ask the salesman to remove the stickers in their entirety before buying it?

I *HAD* to pick up a Windows laptop a few years ago and couldn’t wait, to get it shipped. First thing I did was tell the salesman that I’ll buy it as soon as he removes all the advertisements from the laptop I’M ALREADY PAYING FOR. Its not like it was a display unit — it was in the box. He spent 3 hours to pull those things off and clean it up so it looked new. Should have tipped him, but he was already getting a commision.

I learned that trick a while back when an ex of mine bought a car. She likes everything clean and crisp — the car she wanted was perfect except this nasty pinstripping and accenting color. Black with gold accents. She asked about how hard it would be to remove those accent features and the salesman said it was really simple. So after she started the paperwork, she told the guy she wasn’t going any further unless the dealership was going to remove anything that even slightly looked gold on the thing and remove the dealer chrome that was thrown under the manufacturer’s logo. They ok’d the rest but were a bit pissy about the dealer chrome — the owner said that they’d do it for $200 because thats advertising they were going to lose and she got up and walked out. The owner ran after her after we got in the old car ready to leave and agreed to take it off.

Point is, these sales turkeys will take care of things if their money is on the line. If everyone forced the idiots that think plastering every single inch of available space for advertsing to remove it or we won’t buy it.

Don Wilson 04 Apr 06

But if every company did that then Goo-gone will be out of business. :(

Cooper 04 Apr 06

Ok, then get this. This little holographic sticker was coming off my tennis racket so I just finished the deed and tore it off. Not only did it leave residue, beneath it read “Product not for resale if missing hologram.”

Mike 04 Apr 06

Add to this the “butter test”:

In restaurants if the butter they serve does not spread well because it’s just been taken out of the fridge then the restaurant fails the butter test. Usually this is the first sign of “mediocre” service and/or food.

Bruno Figueiredo 04 Apr 06

I really hate stickers too. Once I bought a Sony Camcorder that came with 9!!! stickers attached. And it was tiny! When I bought me a new car I specifically told the dealership: NO STICKERS. When they delivered it to me with all sorts of stickers from the dealership and the brand I refused to pay until they got them all of. That teached them.

Also, if anyone’s interested, glue residue from stickers peels right off with petroleum benzine. Doesn’t smell good, but it really works and is less dangerous than a razor. I make a point of allways having one bottle in the house. Oh and don’t try alcohool as it will only dillute and spread the glue all over.

Jamie 04 Apr 06

This conversation is certainly relevant in the way we design and program. We need to be apply the sticker test to everything that we do in our trade(s): Is the user getting what they wanted, or are we distracting them/annoying them with our own agenda?

Anonymous Coward 05 Apr 06

This is slightly off-topic but has it ever concerned anyone else out ther that they put stickers on organic fruit?

Humorless Cretin 05 Apr 06

AC: As long as the stickers come off, I’m fine with stickers on organic fruit… because otherwise you know some wiseass will remove the stickers from the regular fruit and try to pass it off as organic. People are scum.

John Lewis 05 Apr 06

I tried this on my fiance… sadly I could not find a sticker on her.

CL 05 Apr 06

This sticker thing is true…just look at all of the stickers plastered on those sedans in NASCAR.

CL 05 Apr 06

What would be the price (unit cost) of any particular item if the company did not waste money on any stickers or adhesives at all?

Ebrahim 05 Apr 06

Stickers on my HP (Compaq) notebook didn’t go easily.

Perhaps this test depends on the location/labour too? (Yes, I’m not in the US)

(Or is HP is bad really?)

Anonymous Coward 05 Apr 06

You’ll never find an obnoxious sticker on an Apple product. That says a lot about Apple.

Chris 06 Apr 06

Speaking of children’s toys…I remember the day when you could open a box and take the toy out and play with it in a matter of seconds. Nowadays, it takes me a good 30 minutes to remove a toy from the box, untie the umpteen-million ties/strings/rubber bands/tape/strips/staples holding the toy in place (I have 2 young daughters…think Barbie/My Little Pony/etc).

It’s all about presentation with these toys. The dolls have to be posed in just the right position to attract the attention of the children.

Luis 06 Apr 06

Maybe humans can start putting stickers on one another. I mean, what better way to end a relationship than to apply a skin-tearing, residue-leaving sticker right one someone’s forehead. The harder it is to get off, the bettter your chances they won’t be calling you again any time soon. It’s better than tatoos!

CL 11 Apr 06

I’m sure that you will soon find ‘Designed for Microsoft Windows ’ stickers on your Mac’s very soon.

Anonymous Coward 11 Apr 06

No, Dave Simon, you’re spot on. Does anyone really find the Cd they’re looking for based on the never-to-be-removed-entirely sticker at the top of the jewel case? Heaven forbid someone flip through an artist’s albums to find the one they want based on the actual artwork (or tracklisting).

yo mofo 27 Apr 06

what if there is no sticker?

carlos mencia 27 Apr 06

i think you are all…..SSSTUUUPPPIIIIDD

doodle mcdoodle 27 Apr 06

Corporations that appear to respect the consumer also disrespect several other networks of people within their day to day business.

Therefore, they are not respectable. F^c&’em

Frank Strauss 29 Apr 06

This is fantastic advice. I buy a lot of things from Staples and have actually had their employees try to remove the labels. Why do I have to pay my helpers to remove giant Staples labels? You can see that they clearly do not care about their customers. By the way, have you ever noticed how often “incidentals” are priced exceptionally high to offset the seemingly lower prices on their merchandise? Also, true of many other stores.

Frank Strauss 29 Apr 06

This is fantastic advice. I buy a lot of things from Staples and have actually had their employees try to remove the labels. Why do I have to pay my helpers to remove giant Staples labels? You can see that they clearly do not care about their customers. By the way, have you ever noticed how often “incidentals” are priced exceptionally high to offset the seemingly lower prices on their merchandise? Also, true of many other stores.

Anonymous Coward 21 Jun 06

note to all the Mac people.

indeed the mac sports no stickers, however the big apple logo on your G# or the back light on your macbook or ibook *IS* the sticker.

i do agree that since it’s apple it’s probebly art so less annoying then a sticker. But it’s not like apple doesn’t push there brand on there products :)

Nadine K 23 Sep 06

Aww man! I hear what you guys are talking about with the stickers. I can’t tell you how much I HATE “EB Games” For that. But I’m a gamer you know, so that’s really my only choice if I want to preorder a game and get it right away. LUCKILY, if you do get it BRAND NEW, you can get it before they open it up and put stupid stickers all over it. Otherwise, its empty boxes on the shelves, and they make sure to add stickers all over it - price stickers and also ‘seal’ stickers. After I’m done TRYING to get the stickers off the package (and doing a really bad job of it) on a ‘new’ game, all that’s left all over is aweful sticky residue and left over papery bits. Well just look and feel my brand ‘new’ game. It’s basically them trying to sell what feels like a mangled USED item for FULL PRICE!

I’ve never had a problem with FUTURE SHOP’s stickers. What’s your problem EB?! Ofcourse, if their cheap abundance of stickers isn’t a clue to tell you that they hate you but love your money, than definitely the way they rip you off by buying your used games is!

Sometimes I don’t care about the sticker problem that much if its a regular DVD box which is easily available to replace. But what about a GameCube or PSP box huh? These are speciality boxes, I can’t just buy empty ones. I really hate to have ruined speciality boxes. Thanks alot EB.

It’s such a simple change they can do to please customers! Hell, I’m going to bring it up next time I’m there.