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Duct Tape, Plastic Sheeting, and The Cost and Benefits of War

Here's the good and/or bad news. You decide. No. 1: A war in Iraq seems inevitable. No. 2: As demand for duct tape and plastic sheeting increases, so does its price tag, translating into higher profits for converters.

These observations aren't meant to sound uncaring. They're simply the truth. Remember the Tylenol murders in 1982? There's no doubt the fatal event proved a boon to the packaging industry in the long run. Today who would purchase a pharmaceutical container without a tamper-resistant seal?

Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge advised Americans how to secure their homes in the event of a biological terrorist attack. He suggested using plastic sheeting and duct tape to “seal off” rooms. Well, the fallout from Ridge's suggestion has been politicized and mocked, but after receiving a press release from the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC), Northbrook, IL, it dawned on me this situation represents an opportunity in the good ol' American capitalist fashion.

My good friend Glen Anderson, executive VP of PSTC, reports: “Duct tape as well as other polyethylene tapes provide an effective seal, and they adhere easily to most surfaces. Our tape manufacturers stand ready to keep stores stocked with PSA tapes in line with the recent recommendation from the Dept. of Homeland Security that all Americans include a roll…in home disaster supply kits.”

The fact is people are buying the stuff. “We have most definitely seen an increased demand for our products,” said James B. Shuford, president of PSTC-member Shurtape Technologies, Hickory, NC. “I would say duct tape sales have spiked 900 percent since the…announcement.”

Senior editor Claudia Hine asked subscribers to E-Clips, PFFC's e-newsletter, whether they had stocked up on plastic and duct tape. The responses ranged from enlightening to humorous, and I thought you'd enjoy seeing some of them.

Just remember, if you want to join the effort to protect Americans, equipment for the production of duct tape and plastic sheeting, among others, can be seen at CMM International on April 14 through 17 at Chicago's McCormick Place. I'll be looking for you at my conference session, Economic & Marketing Trends in the Global Converting Industry, on April 14 at 8:30 A.M.

Here's how some E-Clips subscribers responded to their plans to purchase tape and sheeting:

Dru L: No, have not. Will not.

Don S.: A quick answer would be a resounding NO! In the first place, you would have to secure all vents coming into the house, all vents around the eaves of the house, and any crack or crevice in the structure. All doors would also need to be secure. The idea isn't viable or practical. Every single source of incoming air would be affected. Oh, I forgot chimneys. Watch for the earnings of Lowes, Home Depot, and others this quarter. Just the sale of duct tape will have an impact. Fear is dangerous!

Teresa B: I haven't bought any yet. I was wondering if I should. I don't think it would do much good, but I have a child, and I feel if I didn't try to do something, that if anything happened to her, I would always feel I didn't do everything in my power to protect her.

To be continued next month when I'll share more interesting comments.


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