The Joys and Perils of Fresh Market Soups

My desires denied,
so close, taste-able, right there
Evil packaging…


There is a cafeteria where I work. The food is pretty good and the people who serve it are quite nice, but it gets old after a while and at times seems a little pricey. That’s when I decide, in a fit of domestic frugality (in other words, usually the third week of the month, since I get paid monthly), to start bringing in my lunch. My favorite? Fresh Market Soups.

If you have never had any of their soups, you don’t know what you are missing. They are amazing. Thai Chicken Curry is currently in the microwave, happily cooling a little while I write this. The Turkey Chili is great. Lentil… oh my word, fab-u-lous. I could go on. The calorie count isn’t too bad either, and given they fill me up so nicely I’m not peck-ish at 3pm, I’m quite pleased all around.

Except for one thing. The packaging. The primary packaging isn’t too bad – just your normal plastic tub with a plastic lid. Easy enough. But inside that lid is the most insidious creation ever… the plastic seal.

Now, there is a little extra tab-y bit you can grab onto in order to peel back the lid. But it mocks me. When I try to use it, one of two things happens: it either does absolutely nothing – won’t budge, just remains super glued to the rim — or it does rip, but in a horrifically uneven way, usually just taking a thin strip out of the middle of the seal, leaving the bulk of itself (now covered with soup dross) behind.

So picture this: I’m at work in the little kitchen area where the microwave is. Wait, a kitchen usually has a sink, right? This does not. It has a microwave, a little fridge and some tables. Thus, imagine me with said bowl of the most mouth-wateringly good soup – let’s assume it is chili and I’m dressed head to toe in white – struggling to get the plastic sleeve off without ending up looking like I was standing next to a drive-by shooting victim. Impossible. Both hands end up drenched in soup as I have to go into “manual mode” in order to wrestle the plastic off. And since this kitchen is so well equipped, you can guess how many paper towels are around to assist me. I have finally gotten smart and now come with 6 or so just to manage the situation, and I’ve mapped the fastest way to the bathroom from the kitchen to minimize any collateral damage.

Anyway, the only other way to manage this is to take a sharp knife and run it around the edge, easily separating the evil cover from the sides. This is by far the most intelligent approach, which is precisely why I never, ever, remember to bring a knife with me to work.

So Fresh Market… I would be ever so appreciative if you would pass this issue on to your R&D organization and request some adjustments to either the sealing mechanism or the type of adhesive which makes actually getting into your yummy soup downright impossible. Or at least get them to stop hanging out with the guys who design toy packaging because their sadistic tendencies in package design and security are rubbing off.  Otherwise, please start packing the soups with a disposable apron.

Leave a comment


  1. This reminds me of opening up all those little fruit cups for students in the cafeteria. They’re filled to the brim with sticky juice and the first graders can never open them themselves! I usually try to leave the lid attached to the cup, because that last little pop when it comes free is sure to spill some juice, especially if I’ve made it that far un-splashed.

    • i used to work in market research… we would test things like this to be sure that the consumer “in use” experience was ideal. I am convinced that no one does this anymore. if they did, they would understand what a pain in the a** some of this packaging is.

  2. Laura Tanno Smith

     /  March 11, 2012

    As always, I loved your post! I also wanted to share that following your blog the last few months has inspired me to start writing again. Thank you!!

    • is that your open window i just looked through!?!?! so glad you are here! and appreciate the support and kind words you have always shared.

      • thewideopenwindow

         /  March 13, 2012

        Try this again. Yes that’s me. I’m so glad you found me. Thanks for reading my blog and thanks for the inspiration!

  3. I have the same exact problem with Tomato Soup at Hand containers!

    The harder I try,
    the more my hands and clothing
    are all red and dyed!

  4. Thanks! I had fun writing it! You are inspiring.
    I may just have to pick up writing/sharing one of my own a week. 🙂


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