By Ned Hickson
There was a time when manufacturers included warnings on their products as a way to provide useful information that could potentially save our lives. Or, at the very least, our eyebrows and/or stomach lining.
However, that all changed 10 years ago when McDonald's had to serve up a McMillion dollars to the lady who didn't realize that spilling hot coffee on yourself while behind the wheel of a car can lead to a condition commonly known as "The Open-Road Lap Dance."
Taking a deeper look, that condition is really just an extension of the more common rule known as "Cause and effect," which states: "'Cause I'm dumb enough to place hot coffee next to the most vulnerable spot on my entire body, I am, in effect, going to do something even dumber by spilling it there. Probably before I leave the drive-thru."
That landmark decision opened the floodgates to a barrage of wrongful injury cases aimed at sending a clear message to American businesses:
We will buy your products.
We will use your products.
And, God willing, we will hurt ourselves with your products and retire early.
The reason I bring this up is because of an actual, real-life warning label I discovered on the handle of a friend's new baby stroller, which reads:
Always remove child before folding.
First of all, I'd like to point out that this timesaving tip was NOT included anywhere in the instruction manual. Had he known how much easier the folding process is by simply removing his child first, he wouldn't have spent nearly an hour trying to pry his son loose from the grip of his $200 stroller.
Ha ha! I'm kidding, of course! He never, at any time, actually folded up his son inside the stroller. At least not without his son's written consent (which, by the way, an attorney keeps on file.)
Ultimately, this experience led to the discovery of more examples of warning labels aimed at those who would otherwise be eliminated through the process of natural selection.
This first one was sent in by Phillip Rankin of Coral Springs, Florida, who cut out the following warning from a Band-Aids box: For serious injuries please seek medical attention.
That's good advice, at least until Band-Aid comes out with a super-absorbent "severed limb" option, preferably in the less obvious "skin-colored" tone that can be worn by people on the go.
This next one is from Wilma Pettig of Marietta, Georgia, who found this helpful warning on a box of nails: Do not swallow nails; May cause irritation. And that's just on the way down. Imagine how irritable you'll be the next morning.
This last warning was on a can of primer in my own home: Do not spray contents into face.
That's right. If you seem to be going through a lot more paint than you expected (and your retina's are primer gray) try flipping the nozzle the opposite direction.
Oh, and don't say you haven't been warned.
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.