Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wacky Warning Labels: Off-Road Commode Wins This Year

" Wacky Warning Label Contest Winner Named"
Wacky Warning Labels, Foundation for Fair Civil Justice (April 29, 2009)

"2009 Winners of the Wacky Warning Label Contest were recently announced. Now in its 12th year, the internationally known contest is sponsored by the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice. Millions of people around the world will read stories or watch television news reports about the contest and laugh at how silly the warning labels are...."

This year's #1 wacky warning label: "...a portable toilet seat for outdoorsmen called 'The Off-Road Commode' because it is designed to attach to a vehicle’s trailer hitch.

"The warning label reads 'Not for use on moving vehicles'."

The page links to a two-minute video.

There's a serious side to this lunacy. As the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice points out, upwards of $500,000,000,000 gets sucked out of the American economy each year, paying lawyers working for business to explain to judges why insane complaints from people who did something brain-dead stupid aren't the company's fault. Good for the lawyers, not so good for everyone else.

I think that's a serious problem, but I think that FCJ is on the right track, using humor to make their point. Which reminds me: London Tipton, in "Suite Life of Zach and Cody," is an apparently air-headed heiress. In one episode, she was given an electronic device, and told that it was a chip. She tried to eat it. Well, chocolate chips are good to eat, aren't they?

Other winners include:
  • "A label on the underside of a cereal bowl warns, 'Always use this product with adult supervision.'
  • "A small, 1" x 4" LCD panel warns, 'Do not eat the LCD panel.'
  • "A bag of livestock castration rings warns, 'For animal use only.'
Of the winners listed, I think my favorite is "Do not eat the LCD panel." Looks like manufacturers have to design packaging with London Tipton in mind.

Which brings up an interesting point: Are people who eat LCD panels likely to read warning labels?

I think there's a case for requiring all companies to provide each sale of every product with a one-year (make that five-year) personal consultant whose sole function it is to make sure the purchaser doesn't do something really stupid with the product.

I shouldn't joke: American jurisprudence being what it is, it just might happen.

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