Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Product Review: DKNY's Be Delightful Gift Set vs. The Can Opener

Delicious in Phoenix... Minus Meg Ryan
by Jen Johans

As he tried to verbalize the magical relationship he'd had with his wife, Meg Ryan experienced simultaneous movie magic by falling in love with the sound of widower Tom Hanks during her lonely drive on Christmas Eve night in Sleepless in Seattle.

Yet, the audience has the upper hand as we discover just what it was that had been so magical about his wife and the undeniable link that she had with Ryan's heroine who lived on the other side of the country. Namely, in addition to being both attractive and attracted to Hanks, the two women had the dazzling skill of being able to peel an entire apple in one long, artistic, twisting strip.

Little did I realize that this ability with actual apples would be a prerequisite-- not for winning the heart of Hanks-- but instead for opening a designer gift set when I was given Donna Karan's appletastic fragrance Be Delicious on Christmas Eve in real life.

Dubbed Be Delightful, the set, which I'm informed (but couldn't swear to in court since I've never laid eyes on it) includes the Eau De Parfum Spray and Body Lotion. Yet this holiday season, DKNY's bestseller was packaged in a way that upon first glance makes the phrasing that it's “100% Pure New York,” seem as though-- in stark contrast to the flammable perfume-- Donna Karan had gone into the flammable designer paint or soda business.

Instead of dropping the items in the adorable free cosmetic bag gifts with purchase that most women collect as the Happy Meal McCouture swag provided by makeup counters at Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, DKNY's apple fragrance made its Christmas Eve debut in an oversized canned fruit container best suited to pineapples or maraschino cherries.

Admittedly, cosmetic-wise the last thing we need is another cosmetic bag or endless shiny boxes we open to reveal more shiny Russian Doll style boxes. However, I was puzzled by the Mountain Dew demeanor of the can for a product that's traditionally represented in advertisements by the #1 doctor recommend fruit, which normally falls off trees and are placed in crates before they're set up in Jenga-like displays at the grocery store, when apples are not being used by the Wicked Queen to lure Snow White.

Yet my frustration for Be Delightful's smug aluminum presence went well beyond the aesthetic as I realized that the wrapping paper had been the initial tease since the real test was attempting to open the package itself.

As it turns out, Be Delightful is the Pandora's Box of gift sets or the type of container that could easily have filled in for Cameron Diaz's morality testing box in 2009's film The Box. For, DKNY's product changes its visual stripes and similarly its recipient's attitude as soon as we realize that the minimalist package comes without an open tab, pull strip, or at the very least an idiot-proof sentence informing us how to get to the "present" part of the present.

Assuming it was just like the protective thin cardboard style top that possibly would've been underneath the cap of its still unseen body lotion, I used a strong pen to try and dig into the edge of the box. The first attempt bounced off the impenetrable tub like a Delightful trampoline so I pushed down with more force until the pen bent backwards faster than one of my fingernails usually does with people-proof but ultimately user-friendly electronics packaging.

Having sacrificed one pen for the chance to Be Delicious for longer than the magazine card inserts last and with the hope that-- unlike the magazines-- the chance of a paper-cut wasn't a risk, I went straight for my slice-and-dice best friend. Sadly my serrated jack of all trades isn't The Bride's "Hattori Hanz┼Ź" sword from Kill Bill but the result was just as surprising as Uma Thurman's showdown with Go-Go Yubari as my weapon of choice-- salon scissors which has defeated HDMI cable packaging-- started to fly out of my hands like the villains in Bill.

Clearly, I was going to need a bigger boat... or blade. As an answer, I tried the industrial strength scissors that can cut through the toughest felt I'd need for arts and crafts time... if I was into that sort of thing but alas, again, without a Hulk-like grip, the aluminum cylinder was taunting me by staying shut.

Always more logical, my relative assumed that because it looked like a can, a can opener must do the trick! Genius, right? Rattling through more drawers, we attached the can opener to the can and began to attack it with force but the aluminum tease refused to connect with the opener.

As a last ditch effort, various kitchen utensils and knives were used, some of which broke through the top slightly yet instead of becoming easier to open, the can, which was well past its expiration date by this time, revealed itself to have even more cardboard layers.

The fragrance equivalent of the Kafka story of the man who can't gain admission inside The Castle-- when another knife slipped very close to our skin, we realized we'd rather risk being the opposite of Delightful over being Digit-Less any day of the week.

Fortunately for our limbs, the Johans household is missing an axe as well as a chainsaw. Thus, the bulky container which in its very essence is the polar opposite of Donna Karan's thin, stretchy denim which hugs my own limbs so well that in my book they go right from "skinny" directly to "sexy jeans" ended up the victor in our Christmas Eve brawl.

Needless to say, I gave up the can in favor of a refund. Still, in the back of my mind, I was wondering whether or not I knew someone in my film contact address book who could get me in touch with Meg Ryan, just in case she still had the magic knack of peeling this particular apple container in one single strip. However, until then I shall remain, un-delighted and un-delicious yet entirely digit-intact in Phoenix instead of Seattle.

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