It's often said that America is a litigious society. Litigious, meaning we file a lot of lawsuits. Right now in the snowier parts of the country, for instance, people are out spreading rock salt on their sidewalks, in part so no one slips, breaks a bone, and sues them. And manufacturers of products sold in America take great care to attach explicit warning labels so people can't claim they weren't warned that stoves can get hot, sharp sticks can put an eye out, and drinking poison can kill you.
You'd think this is common sense. If you lay a hot curling iron next to a curtain, the ensuing fire should not come as a surprise. But people file suit all the time anyway, saying the company should have warned them about such things.
One might dismiss this sort of lawsuit as stupid and frivolous. The chances of a court's awarding damages would seem to be remote. Even so, companies don't want to take the chance, because defending themselves costs a fortune in lawyer fees.
So they make absolutely, positively sure that their warning labels are clear and unambiguous.
Here are just three, tracked by an anti-lawsuit group in Michigan:
A farm tractor came with the warning, Danger: Avoid Death. Good advice, if you ask us.
A company that makes graphics meant to be pressed onto T-shirts with a hot iron enclosed this helpful warning: Do not iron while wearing shirt. Don't laugh. People have tried it and burned themselves terribly.
And then there was a storage pouch that came with a new baby stroller. Do not put child in bag, said the label.
These are kind of humorous, in a pathetic sort of way. But to be sure you don't sue us if you disagree, be advised of the following disclaimer:
Warning, material in this story may not be funny.