Oh, dear. You’ve really done it, haven’t you? You just fell prey to one of consumerism’s biggest myths — the resealable bag — and now you’re staring at your new purchase, wondering how to get the thing open. What was it? Cheese? Cereal? Doggie treats? Come on, you can confide in me.

Well, no matter what it was, let me tell you a little secret. You are not alone. Those so-called easy-open/easy-close bags? Yeah. They aren’t. And the directions? Ignore them; they encompass only a fraction of the steps you’ll have to take in order to use your product. But I’ll tell you what. I like you, I really do. And so I’ll give you a hand. I’ve been duped, too, after all. I understand. And so, for your tutelage, I will provide sample package directions, followed by the actual steps for opening, and then closing, such bags. Advanced users may wish to skip to steps seven and ten, respectively. Oh, and one more thing, from me to you: next time don’t believe the hype. Okay? No more buying products just because of the package’s ingenious engineering.

What the directions say:

1. To open bag, tear along dotted line.

What the directions mean:

1. Search in vain for mythological pre-torn notch said to enhance tearing power.
2. Give up. Use force in attempt to create notch.
3. Bandage bleeding finger.
4. Attempt to break into bag with teeth.
5. Make appointment with dentist to have chipped tooth repaired.
6. Study bag, looking once more for notorious notch or tear strip. NOTE: The red dashed line along the top is not a clue. It is only there to taunt you.
7. Use scissors.
8. Pull bag open.
9. Perform victory dance.

What the directions say:

1. To seal bag, press closed.

What the directions mean:

1. Clear seal strip of any obstructions, such as product residue, fingers, and air.
2. Line up both sides of strip.
3. Press strip closed.
4. Tug package opening gently to ensure that seal worked.
5. Repeat steps 1-4
6. Vow not to let a simple plastic bag defeat you.
7. Line up both sides of strip.
8. In surge of pragmatism (or is it despair?) press along just two inches of strip, so you haven’t wasted energy when seal continues not to function.
9. Test to ensure seal.*
10. Give up and tape, staple, or clothespin the @&*% thing closed.

*In the unlikely event that the seal works on the smaller section, continue as follows: Finish pressing along strip. Test seal. Realize you forgot to squeeze out all the air. Attempt to open only a small section of strip. Fail. Pick up spilled cheese, cereal, dog treats, etc. Discard. Squeeze air out of bag and begin again from step one above. Repeat as necessary until bag is sealed. NOTE: You may wish to simply skip to step ten.