One of the earliest unboxing experiences (or unwrapping) I can remember aside from Christmases as a child were opening NBA booster packs. Depending on the pack you choose, you get 8 or so random cards, most of which are common, and if you get lucky, a very rare and expensive one. I remember going to the store, feeling the sides of the pack even though I had no idea what I was doing, going home, and opening it. The smell of a freshly opened pack was amazing. A mixture of old air, inside a small, sealed, plastic pouch, with newly printed cards. I liked it better than smelling markers.
The magic of it had to do with the fact that you’re actually opening something with your hands. It’s not just seeing what’s inside too, but the smell, the weight of the product, the difficulty of opening a box or a package all contribute to the overall experience. For me, my favorite is the cutting of the tape that’s sealing the box, or more recently, peeling off those tabs on the tape. I bet somebody at Apple decided how peeling off those tabs would feel when you get a new iDevice. I remember each time I have a new Apple gadget, and how I took my time trying to just peel one side of the wrapper so I can put it back together. How do I know? Because I still have them all!
The closest thing I’ve seen on YouTube that showed an honest excitement and love for opening something was of Openboosters opening a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards and finding a Black Lotus. Leeegit! Unfortunately, every other unboxing video I’ve seen has destroyed me at some degree and is slowly killing me on the inside.
Don’t get me wrong, I still watch unboxing videos, but mostly because its how most YouTube gear reviews start. I’m happy (and lucky) if the person opening the box seemed like they cared about what they’re opening. I like it when reviewers go through everything: the free pouch, the manuals, the extra cable, the warranty. I like seeing everything, and I like it when they take the time to lay everything out on the table. I bet these people take footage of that too, but with the power of editing, the only shots being used are the ones where the reviewer is tossing these things to the side. Ouch! You know, somebody actually designed and made those things too. Somebody had to imagine how each piece fits in the box. I mean, have you seen a Leica camera being unboxed? That shit is satisfying! Then again, its a camera thats around $10,000, and a good chunk of that went to the packaging. If you don’t appreciate the unboxing, then you’ve simply got too much money and you should buy me a Leica, or you’re just cold.
Sure, an unboxing for an $89 lens is no match for a DJI Drone in terms of what’s-inside-the-box, but you could still show some appreciation right? You could still open it carefully and not throw stuff around like a savage. I can imagine a rich kid, being given 20 or so gifts, opening them one after another and during all that time, have a thankless look on his face. I don’t know what happened in the last 5 years, but I think people now are just too spoiled. The element of surprise is now gone, and so comes the death of my desire to buy new things. So how did this affect me? Well, one good thing that came out of it is that I started buying used gear. A cheaper alternative, and you get the chance to not be the first one to put a ding something.
One of the more recent things that I bought was a Fujifilm lens, the XF16-55 f2.8. Apart from the lens being great, it also came with the box! Yup, lens+box, and nothing else. No lens pouch, no plastics, no extra pieces of board. Well whaddya know, those unboxing videos helped me feel nothing about those missing items. I guess they were useless after all. I’ll just find an unboxing of those items and get my fix.
Take care now. Bye-bye then.