If you read the warning labels on a lot of toys, household appliances and other gadgets sold in the United States, you’d have to conclude that Americans have no common sense at all. Manufacturers are apparently worried that average people will do stupid things with their products, hurt themselves, and blame or sue their company.
So they slap warning labels on just about everything. The messages are some variation of: "You’re REALLY dumb. So pay attention: Don’t take this toaster into the bathtub with you."
Each year, an organization called the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch picks the wackiest warning labels. Here are some of the best - or you might say worst - that they’ve spotted over the years:
You mean there are no live parts at night?
On an electric carpenter’s drill: "This drill is not intended for dental use."
On a manufactured fireplace log: "Caution: Risk of Fire!"
And this one, on a medical thermometer: "Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally."
On a can of self-defense pepper spray: "May irritate eyes." No kidding!
On a baby stroller: "Remove child before folding."
On a three-pronged fishhook: "Harmful if swallowed."
On a box of birthday candles: "Do not use as ear plugs."
On a kitchen blender that whips, chops, and dices: "Never remove food from the blades while the product is operating."
On a household flat iron: "Never iron clothes while they are being worn."
It could be hours before you open this box, just figuring out what NOT to do.
On a cardboard sunscreen that fits across an automobile windshield: "Do not drive with sunshield in place."
On a cartridge for a laser printer: "Do not eat toner."
Here’s another good one, on a package of rat poison: "Warning: Has Been Found to Cause Cancer in Laboratory Mice." As if you were thinking of eating some!
There are thousands more examples, like the sign on a mail truck that says, "Look before driving."
How about this one, on a box of hammers. Hammers!! "May be harmful if swallowed." You think??
And what about this one, seen at a railroad station: "Beware. To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted."
So if you have a chance to come to America, consider yourself warned: Don’t touch or eat anything!