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, at some point, that all changed. As far I can tell, it happened about the same time McDonald’s had to cough-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.
Though the woman claimed to be unfamiliar with either of these two concepts, she WAS familiar with the judicial system, and how her coffee mishap could lead to litigation and a new home in the Hamptons. 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.
Because of this, manufacturers have been forced to hire consultants who do nothing but sit around trying to think up ways stupid people could hurt themselves. Recently, I was able to gain limited access to one of these brain-storming sessions (limited, of course, out of fear that I might hurt myself), and while I’m not at liberty to divulge the company’s identity, I can tell you that there are at least five ways a stupid person could fatally injure themselves with a bar of Irish Spring.
The reason for this post stems from an actual warning label my friend discovered yesterday on the handle of his son’s stroller:
Always remove child before folding.
First of all, I’d like to point out that this time-saving tip was NOT included anywhere in the instruction manual when my kids were in strollers. Had I known how much easier this makes things, I probably would’ve used it a lot more. Instead, after spending nearly an hour trying to pry my son loose from the grip of his $200 stroller, I simply stopped using it.
I’m kidding of course! I never, at any time, actually folded any of my children up in their stroller! Hahaha! Ok, just once, but not before obtaining their written consent (which, by the way, my attorney keeps on file.)
Driven by the spirit of investigative journalism, and while on our way to the kitchen for more beer, we discovered more examples of warning labels aimed at those who would otherwise be eliminated through the process of “natural selection.”
This first warning appeared on the bottom of a Band-Aids box:
For serious injuries please seek medical attention.
Good to know, at least until Band-Aid comes out with a super-absorbent “severed limb” selection, preferably in the less obvious “skin-color” tone that I can wear to work.
This next helpful tip was on a box of nails:
Warning: Do not swallow nails: May cause irritation
And that’s just on the way down. Imagine how irritable you’ll be during next morning’s bowel movement.
This final warning was on a can of primer:
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 retinas are primer gray, try flipping the nozzle the opposite direction.
I hope this has been helpful.
If not, you can’t say you haven’t been warned…
(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and is Editor-in-chief at Siuslaw News. He is the author of Humor at the Speed of Life and Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist. Both are available from Port Hole Publications, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)
45 thoughts on “Are warning labels impeding the natural selection process?”
I’m currently suing Black and Decker because their hammers bear absolutely no warning not to hit yourself in the face with them.
Sounds like a potential class action lawsuit to me…
True story: Husband’s ex thought she hated that famous take-and-bake pizza place because their pizza “always smelled funny and tasted chemical-y.” Then he watched her try to make one and had to dive into the oven at the last minute to remove the plastic, the foam tray, and the paper instruction sheet.
They have since added the “remove all plastic and packaging, including these instructions” step to the baking instructions, but I’m comforted by the thought that she was probably rendered infertile by other stupidity.
Hahahahaha! Knowing she’s probably infertile is a comfort to all of us!
I have a friend (who now has a PhD. Seriously) who did that, only no one was supervising him. Fifteen minutes later, as black smoke was billowing out of the oven, everyone realized he hadn’t taken the pizza off the plastic tray. One of his gifts for graduation was the oven rack with fossilized plastic on it.
HaHaHaHa! That’s fantastic. Can’t help but wonder what kind of wedding gift he got (gets).
😂😂😂Remove child before folding.. So that’s where I’ve been going wrong. 😉
Trust me, it’s wayyyy easier to get them out before you fold it.
😂By the way, I read your book and it fantastic. Now I’m writing my own. It was so encouraging and helpful.
That’s fantastic! So glad to hear you’re writing yohr own book, Rebecca! And so glad mine could help. You know, other than for squashing spiders 😉 Congrats!
Haha I’ve had to rescue it a few times from Ranan but never put it in a position to squash spiders. 😉 I feel kind of insane writing my own. The deadline to get it to the editor is the 21st and I’ve been compulsively, maniacally writing at 3am for a week now. Lol
Maniacly is the best way to write! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being a maniac. But that’s just in general.
Haha me too, at least about bacon. 😂Ranan knows it is morning when I say “Move over, I’m going to cook bacon!”
You should add a warning to your blog. Something about drinking while reading could result in choking, and damage to nearby electronics,,,,
Maybe that’s a good idea. Right now, the only disclaimer I have is:
“Do not read while in the tub with a hair dryer.”
Slow drivers should be warned you’re going to be passed 3xs what they’re going. Petal to the metal but safely.
“Petal to the metal but safely” is my bumper sticker.
Ha! Isn’t that the truth?
My favorite warning comes from a five gallon bucket of pickles in a restaurant once and it said, “immersing head in pickle bucket could cause drowning.” It was good to know this, because sometimes in the restaurant business you are looking for new and inventive ways to off yourself.
So would that mean the mortician wouldn’t need to use embalming fluid on your head since it’s already pickled?
Well there you go. Built in embalming, too. 🙂
My glass is always half full. But not with pickle juice.
i especially love the folded child warning. thank god for these warnings!
I’m guessing this would account for at least some percentage of missing children.
I bought a new hair dryer for my wife. The warning label said “Do not use while sleeping.”
I bought a hairdryer for my wife. The warning label said “Do not use while sleeping.”
I guess it would save time in the mornings, but still…
Airline. Journey. Complimentary bag of peanuts with drink. Warning on complimentary bag of peanuts…can you guess? Yup, it did.
It’s a good thing you didn’t order the chicken.
Can you get a chicken allergy?
With the proper psychosis, you can be allergic to anything.
That explains rather a lot.
Five ways to fatally injure oneself with a bar of Irish Spring? Do tell. We use that here, and I don’t want to be irresponsible with it. And by the way, now I know what my dream job is.
All I can tell you is that they either involve ingestion or slipping.
The really sad part is that most of the “warnings” stem from some idiot having ALREADY done something stupid. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have to be put on the labels. Stupidity really is impossible to fix!
You know what a redneck says just before he dies???
“Hey Y’all! Watch this!” 😅😅😅😅😅😅
I was only on my first cup of coffee this morning when I started reading your post, so I’m slower than I would be further into the caffeine consumption. When I read the “remove child before folding” I couldn’t understand why you were folding the child. Like, in order to properly fold the child, you have to remove them [from something] first. Ooooooh, wait wait… fold the seat! Got it. 🙂
Yeah, my brain doesn’t function without caffeine, which leads me to believe most of those warning were written by other coffee drinkers BEFORE their morning caffeine.
Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
Hahahaha the two I have spotted are: on a T Shirt – ‘Please remove before washing’ on a packet of peanuts ‘Caution – may contain nuts’
Thanks for the great reminders Ned. You just stopped me from wanting to eat a nail, lol. 🙂
Whew!! That was a close one!
Lol, Ned to the rescue. 🙂
It’s a shame your genius has gone unrecognized, Ned Hickson…
My hairdryer says ‘do not use while sleeping’ and after I read this warning I was so bummed! Now I lose a half hour of sleep every morning while I dry my hair. My coworkers have had to label me: ‘volatile when tired.’ Very funny post, Ned. Found you through D.G. Kaye. Great discovery.
Thanks so much for reading, and for sharing the warning!