Matt Coneybeare

MC

A Short Commentary on the Modern Use of Scissors

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Scissors were created and finely tuned for one purpose: To cut paper. They are a wonderfully simple and elegant design for this single task. A good pair of scissors is self sharpening, sturdy and long enough to cut straight lines in almost any type of paper. The problem is that people just don’t have a need for this anymore. Out of all the things in my house that I use scissors for, cutting paper is the last of them. In order of usage, we use scissors for:

  1. Opening packages by slicing the tape on the box
  2. Cutting the plastic wrapping off of those crazy-hard-to-open product wrappings.
  3. Popping balloons or the air cushions found in packages


…None of which are the intended use of the product. I know that household with kids probably have more uses, even for cutting paper, but do adults ever need to have scissors at all? Any paper that I would need to split or separate already comes perforated. If I need a piece of paper for my printer, it already comes in a convenient size for my printer. I literally have no use for scissors in my home, other than opening packages, but for this purpose, scissors are actually pretty dangerous. When I slice something, I have to open the scissors completely, then actually hold the blade as I run the other end down the package. I know I could just get a box knife but that is not the point. I am just curious as to why nobody has invented a smarter, modern pair of scissors.

Has the primary use case for scissors been altered in the modern world? If so, why hasn’t anybody rebranded to capture the evolving usage. Why hasn’t the tool evolved at all? I think a tool with a single, semi-dull blade for slicing, a scissor-like, non-opening grip for familiarity, and a pointed end for any stabbing would go a long way in reinventing the scissor as a safer, modern package opener. If Amazon made one, they could probably make a fortune selling to their customers alone. If they gave a branded one away for free, it would probably be a massive success story.

Maybe I am over thinking it but seriously, when was the last time you used scissors for cutting paper?

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My name is Matt Coneybeare, I design and develop for iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch), Mac OS X and the Web out of New York. In 2008 I started a software company called Urban Apps that has made some pretty popular apps such as Ambiance and Hourly News. My current Stack Overflow reputation is about 27k.

I was a Rockstar a decade ago, but then went back to school and collected a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley. Now I am settled down with my beautiful wife Di and our two doggies Hamachi and Foxy. While coding, I walk several miles/day on my Treadmill Desk. When not at my desk, I love exploring New York City as a Yelp Elite, or training for marathons.

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