• Marilyn Gardner Woods

What's in your tool box?

Updated: Jun 27


In the year 2000, the International Ergonomics Association Executive Council identified three main characteristics known as Ergonomic Stressors: the force required to complete a task, any awkward or static working postures adopted in completing a task, and the repetitiveness of a task. Any of these factors, or any combination of these factors, may place someone at greater risk for discomfort.


I had no idea the IEA existed, but I did know that due to my increased on-line shopping during the pandemic, the force required to complete the task of opening and cutting down boxes, particularly larger ones, stressed the heck out of me. After one particularly difficult session with a huge crate, the crate being three times larger than the modest round mirror inside, I stood face to face with a giant telescope cardboard container finally free of its contents. Finally free after multiple bouts of lifting, stretching, and manipulating my body’s capabilities into territories of stress, strain, suffering, and near surrender.


A telescope box consists of a separate top and bottom that fit over each other and when opened, like the one in my kitchen at this time, resembles two over-sized trays. Mine each four feet by six feet. Additionally, scattered on counters and floors around me along with wire cutters, heavy-duty scissors, and a serrated knife were large pieces of Styrofoam, cable ties, hard Velcro tape, and endless piles of heavy-duty packing tape. The kind that comes on a dispenser and claims to tear easily and precisely with its sharp cutting teeth but never does leaving you with clear plastic bird-nest-like mounds of tape stuck to your hand, wrapped around your arm, and jumbled atop whatever you were trying to seal.


Naturally, bits of the Styrofoam floated freely in and around the kitchen and into the adjoining rooms of my house. This wrestling match between me, a widowed woman living alone, and the mirror’s packing supplies that needed to be removed from my kitchen and deposited into either the trash or the recycle can, took the better part of the afternoon.




As I closed the lid on the large blue recycle container, now full, I got into my car and drove to Ace Hardware where I purchased what might be my favorite possession of all time.—the silver, sleek, ergonomically designed STANLEY® 99E Retractable Blade Utility Knife. With this small box-cutting implement hand, rushes of power surge through my body. It could be the most useful tool in my inventory, although Bobbi Brown’s Full Cover Concealer is also quite advantageous.


My new silver, sleek, ergonomically designed retractable utility knife does indeed cut the heck out of boxes large and small, but it does much more with its safely secured blade. I can open those irritating plastic bands around lids of olive and caper jars with ease. Remove anything packaged clamshell style—toothpaste, batteries, flash drives whatever. It cuts twine, limbs off small trees, packets of cheese or salami. One slash with the blade secured tightly in the ergonomically shaped six-inch grip and plastically mummified contents are free. No tin snips, hedge clippers, hand saw needed.


On a pedestal, as it should be...


I relish finding new ways to attack with my new weapon. I rapidly wore out the first blade. No problem. One twist of the screw on the side of the grip with my Phillips screwdriver, the grip came apart to reveal new replacement blades sequestered inside. Brilliant.


So brilliant that I bought a second for the garage. And not long after, a third for upstairs. The nice people at Ace don’t even show me the way to the small tool section any longer; they know I know my way.


I am a loyal person, especially when customer service is outstanding like at my Ace on University Boulevard. However, my brand loyalty to the STANLEY® 99E Retractable Blade Utility Knife took a huge hit on my last visit. When I walked in and went down stairs to the hardware department, a sales guy recognized me and motioned a come here. “Something you should see.”


He turned displaying the “Proudly Local” Ace logo on the back of his multi-pocketed black vest, the store uniform. I followed him past the Stanley display to a new brand section of utility knives; he took one off the shelf. “The blade retracts automatically the moment it loses contact with whatever’s being cut,” he said beaming and slightly hard selling. ”It’s for users who make fairly constant cuts which you must do, right?”


I declined with a polite smile, but I can’t get the automatic retracting version out of my mind. Each time I reach for something other than the utility knife with the non-automatic-retractable-blade in my kitchen drawer and prick my finger (usually drawing blood) having neglected to withdraw the blade into the grip, I dream about the new and improved one on the shelf at the hardware store.


Sleek, silver, ergonomically designed with a blade that retracts automatically.



I love how you make every day things so interesting! Carolyn D.

Love this. On our way to Ace! SB


My daughter-in-law gave me a box cutter in a pink camo case. Stylish!

-- C --



I am Enamored with your new knife. I’ll be sending Brett to Ace on Monday. JL


I just checked out my heavy yellow Stanley, nothing fancy but its sentimental value will hold me back from auto- return...maybe on my xmas list...Mirror, mirror.....mp


So great Marilyn, can’t wait to purchase one!! You are funny!!😊❤️JS






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