Warning labels for morons, idiots and imbeciles alike

Published 6:19 pm Saturday, March 14, 2009

WARNING: The following is a column about stupid warning labels and is the complete, sarcastic opinion of the author. If you are offended by either or both, consult the First Amendment or simply turn the page. It is further recommended by the author that you do not read this in the shower as the newspaper print will run, making the text illegible and, further, dissolve your copy of the News-Herald into a gray mush. Proceed at your own risk!

A couple weeks ago I bought a new toaster to replace my old one that had probably reached fire hazard potential.

While opening the box I came upon the paper that always comes with products warning the purchaser about how to safely operate the product at hand.

I was confident enough in my toaster operating skills to place the directions aside until later when I decided to give them a once over.

The warning label portion of the directions is always fun to read because you never know exactly what they’re going to “warn” you about.

This time I was cautioned that while in use, the surface of the toaster would be hot. Really? Because I never would have guessed since the outside of it is made of METAL.

While the toaster’s warnings were relatively tame, the last time I bought a hair dryer I was offered a whole array of cautionary advice.

The old “Do not place dryer in water” advice was there. As if everyone has not watched those bathtub electrocution death scenes in a movie.

Then the not so obvious was there too, like “Do not use while sleeping,” which is perfectly understandable. Me, I prefer to iron while I sleep because the hair dryer tends to be a little noisy.

We have all come across them, the seemingly idiotic warnings plastered on various products we purchase.

As some warnings do serve a purpose to those who have never used an iPod or a toaster (hey, it could happen), other warnings should be lodged somewhere in the common sense region of our brains…that is if the person operating the product has common sense or a brain.

A few examples of these wacky warnings:

On a child size Superman costume- “Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.”

Listed on a bottle of glass surface cleaning product-“Do not spray in eyes.”

On a rotary tool-“This product is not intended to be used as a dental drill.”

Listed on microwave meal: “This product must be cooked before eating.”

Whenever I read over these crazy product warnings, I realize that the creators of these labels didn’t have to go far for inspiration; as you know, inevitably, someone out there (without common sense and a brain) actually tried to do some of this stuff. Not to mention how sue happy we are as a society.

So next time you purchase a new product be sure to read the warning so you’ll be sure not to place it into the oven or something.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.