Amber Boston: Container & Packaging Spy, Part 2

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Amber Boston: Container & Packaging Spy, Part 2

Part 2: The Mission, or, The Secret of the Neck Finishes

April 15, 2014
CPS Agent: Amber Boston
Mission: Website Codes
Codename: Closure

Agent Boston,
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate the website of Container & Packaging Supply. Our sources suggest that there are secret codes buried deep within the html code. Hack in if necessary. Do NOT blow your cover. Report back in two days. Dead drop in the public library book drop. This message will self-destruct in ten minutes.

 

Ten minutes? They're getting slow. I crumpled up the note and threw it in the sink. Last time, my mission instructions had exploded in my garbage can, causing a small fire in my kitchen, so I ran some water on the paper just to be safe. I had memorized the message, and I thought through the instructions.

I got my laptop out and pulled up the website for Container & Packaging Supply. I'd infiltrated several container companies as a Container and Packaging Spy, but this was the farthest under cover I had been. I'd been writing blog articles for them for a while, waiting for my superiors to give the go-ahead for a full-blown mission. The website looked nice with lots of pictures, text, and even a colorful flipper at the top. I started browsing the products, noting the various bottles and jars. I was familiar with most of the products and had even done product testing on some containers and closures, so I started looking deeper, seeking something new.

I found a small plastic bottle and clicked on the link. Woah, I thought. There were numbers and letters all over this product's item page! It had an item ID (B349A), capacity (4 oz), size (both height and diameter), and some other terminology I was unfamiliar with. Maybe that 24-410 number that I saw on a lot of other bottles was a secret code. Could I have stumbled on something important?

I scanned a few other bottles, and saw that they all had numbers similar to the one on the B349A. There were lots, including 24-410, 20-410, 15-415, and 38-430. This must be the code that the bosses were looking for! I began making an inventory of products and their accompanying secret code.

Suddenly, a little window popped up on my screen.

[Chloe] Just poppin’ in to see if you need any help! I moved my cursor to close the chat window, but then froze, my fingers hovering above the keyboard. What if these so-called chatters were actually holding secrets about this company? Instead of closing the window, I started a conversation with Chloe (is that really her name? Probably not!).

Hi Chloe, I typed.

Hi! How may I help you today?

I was wondering if you could tell me what those little numbers are next to the names of the bottles, like 24-410. Would she make up some bogus answer? I drummed my fingers on my desk as I waited for a reply.

Her answer appeared. Those numbers describe the neck finish of the bottles. The first number, 24 in this case, is the diameter of the cap in millimeters, and the second number, 410, describes the threading of the neck.

I thanked Chloe and stared at my computer. I was stumped. I had been so sure that those little numbers were some sinister plot by Container & Packaging Supply to take over the world, but really they were just a bunch of measurements to make it easier to find matching lids for their products. I guess I needed to delve deeper into the company to discover their secrets.