Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saving the Incompetent From Themselves

As a way of illustrating what a litigious society we have become, the winner of 12th Wacky Warning Labels contest has been announced by the Foundation for Fair and Civil Justice. Now, if you're thinking that warning labels are always necessary and that the information that they contain is vital to the well being of the user of the product, you need to put on a helmet and have a seat. The rationale behind many product warnings (in convenient label form accompanied by the Black Box of Doom) is so that the company can avoid frivolous lawsuits when some moron has an accidental mishap with a product (like catching your teeth on the net of a basketball hoop and then suing the net manufacturer because there was no warning that the net could cause him damage to his teeth. For reals.) or when some moron misuses the product in ways that were obviously never the intended use of the product. Things like blow drying your hair whilst still in the tub or whilst taking a shower. Not a good idea. Seems pretty obvious that it's not a good idea. Yet there is always a warning label on the cord that tells you not to use it around water. Who do they think is using this product? Aquaman? The Little Mermaid? (The label also says, "WARN CHILDREN OF THE DANGER OF DEATH BY ELECTRIC SHOCK!" What? Like instead of a bedtime story?)

A one Bob Dorigo Jones was the one who had originally conceived of the idea of the contest to highlight just how whacked things have become in terms of...well, in terms of everything, really. Whacked-ness is everywhere. :::: sigh ::::

Previous winners have included little gems such as my personal favorite: AVOID DEATH. I like it because that's not so much of a warning as it is a way of life, really. First thing I think of every morning when I get up? That's right. Avoid death. Periodically throughout the day? Yep, avoid death. In most situations, first and foremost on my mind is 'avoid death'. It's really my motto for longer living (and so far, so good).

DO NOT IRON WHILE WEARING SHIRT. I've been late before (hell, I'm late right now), but I've never been so late that I've been ironing my clothes as I'm wearing them. Who is that for?

NOT INTENDED FOR HIGHWAY USE (That warning would be fine if it weren't for a 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow.)

DO NOT PUT ANY PERSON IN THIS WASHER (Whew! For a minute there, I was worried it was going to say something about not putting animals in there either. Fortunately, it did not and Fido's bath is still a go!)

CAUTION: RISK OF FIRE (Again, a fine warning label, if it weren't on a fireplace log.)


So these stupid warning labels are unfortunately nothing new. But getting back to this year, there's a whole slew of new ones! Counting backwards to the winner, we'll start with the 4th place label on a small, 1” x 4” LCD panel which warns: DO NOT EAT THE LCD PANEL. Right. What CAN I eat?

Third place was a tie between what would appear to be a somewhat dangerous cereal bowl needing the warning label: ALWAYS USE THIS PRODUCT WITH ADULT SUPERVISION. And a bag of what are described as being "livestock castration rings" (Please don't ask because I cannot even imagine! All I know is that I am glad that I'm not someone who has to purchase and use something like that.) which bear the warning: FOR ANIMAL USE ONLY.

OK, hold on. First of all, the bowl. WTH? Is it like a trough? A bucket? What exactly is the adult supposed to be supervising when the bowl is being used? Is it aflame? Do flares shoot out of it? Is there some sort of spinning blade attached? Oh, I've got it! Small parts! Small parts! Does it have small parts? Everything with a 'small part' has that warning! Caution: Contains small parts!! (Yes, I KNOW it contains small parts. It's a SMALL product! The LARGE parts wouldn't fit in the SMALL product, you dimwit. But thanks for the warning.)

But then the castration rings. I'm under the impression that men in general are quite fond of their own manhood. They love their grundle more than life itself on some most all days. Thus, my confusion as to why it would need to be made clear that the castration rings (for the purpose of a dictoffofme) are ONLY for animals. Most grundle loving men would shudder and cringe at just such a thought. How necessary is that warning? Is health care in this country THAT unaffordable that people have resorted to home castration methods? Is castration so common that it's now being done in people's homes?

Second place went to the label found on an instruction guide for a a wart-removal product. It is questionable to me as to how the consumer for which said warning is intended for is ever going to know about the warning, which reads: DO NOT USE IF YOU CANNOT SEE CLEARLY TO READ THE INFORMATION IN THE INFORMATION BOOKLET. Yeah, but I!...You just!....It's right!...If I can't read!...And you!...But the!.....Oh, for cryin' out loud, what is wrong with people?

But this year's winner is a warning label on a product called the Off Road Commode. The concept is that it is a toilet seat which is design to fit into a trailer hitch in order to give the user some degree of comfort (not so much privacy though) when nature calls when one is presumably "off road". The warning label is NOT FOR USE ON MOVING VEHICLES. Wait. What?

I swear. Behold!

Correct. Not for use on moving vehicle. So if you were thinking that you could empty your bladder and or colon whilst sitting on this puppy cruising down the highway at a 65 mile per hour rate of speed, well, you'll be sorely disappointed to learn that isn't safe and you shouldn't do that. WTH?! The website for this product asks the question that I was asking: Who is using the Off Road Commode? They give the answers that I just simply did not have (which is why I was asking the question). According to them, those people would be:

Game Wardens
Workers in rural areas
Family members who have everything!

Look, just because your Uncle Bob has everything, doesn't mean he's going to want to take a dump behind his pickup truck, OK? Nowhere that I have seen does it indicate what you're supposed to do with the steaming pile of excrement when you've finished using said commode. While I don't need specific details, I would think that someone interested in this product might also be interested in that as well. After all, it attaches to the trailer hitch of your vehicle. That would seem to indicate that it's in a rather close proximity to either a) foot traffic or b) other people, neither of which seem like appropriate accessories for this product, or for this sort of activity. Now, if you WERE allowed to use it on a moving vehicle, well then! THAT would take care of that little problem, wouldn't it? Of course, it might cause an entirely new set of problems due to the drivers behind you on the freeway passing out when they saw what was going on.

So this is what we've become. Excellent. Are you happy? You! Teeth in the net guy who got $50,000! Are you happy that you've contributed to this element of society and it now seems to be a permanent fixture? Man, 'Land of Opportunity', I'd say! Whoever came up with that sure wasn't sh**ting, was he? And even if he was, you can bet he wasn't doing it on the Off Road Commode on a moving vehicle, that's for sure!

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1 comment:

grannyann said...

I love it. My grandkids need that in the car for trips to OK City. They always have to stop 10 times to go to the bathroom when we are in places there a no bathrooms. The boy has less problems (he can stand and water the grass by the side of the road) than the girls who wouldn't use it anyway.