You can be sued for just about anything. And just one person can sue the most successful international companies for millions if that company isn’t careful about product labels.
In the case Liebeck vs. McDonalds Restaurants, a woman sued McDonalds Restaurants for $640,000 because her coffee was too hot. Coffee is the 2nd most popular hot drink in the world, and those who drink it expect it to be hot and love it that way. However, due to the Liebeck lawsuit, now McDonalds has placed “Caution: Contents Hot” on their coffees.
Companies put excessive disclaimers and instructions on their products to ensure they’ve covered their bases precisely, but occasionally company lawyers seem to get a little out of hand. Here are 8 instances of fine print – on everyday products – that make us cringe:
Warning: Do not eat iPod Shuffle
A fifty-dollar meal can taste pretty good, unless the meal is made of metal. Yes, it really is hazardous to eat an electronic mp3 player. When reading the capabilities and instructions for the 1st generation iPod shuffle, you’ll notice the second instruction warns customers against eating their new iPod. If this really is necessary to address in the instructions, maybe it should be first on the list so customers don’t eat the iPod while reading the rest of the information. The newer iPod shuffles exclude this warning, so people must not be swallowing the devices anymore.
Vidal Sassoon Hairdryer: Never use while sleeping
We all follow a typical wind-down routine each night before falling asleep. For some of us, the routine includes teeth brushing, face washing, and possibly watching an episode of our favorite TV series. And then there are those who try to sleep and complete their night routine at the same time. Just so you know, it is never safe to fall asleep while blow drying your hair! If you are looking to save time at night and get more sleep, make sure you don’t multi-task and sleep with objects connected to an electric socket.
Rowenta Iron: Do not direct steam at people or animals or iron clothes while they are being worn
A warning like this makes you question why it’s so specific. Do people normally not know that putting a 400 degree iron on your clothes while wearing them will burn your body? And does the ironer get in steam fights with other people and animals often enough to make this warning necessary to write?
America’s Fishing Lures: Harmful if swallowed
There are lots of things that lure people. How many women would have purchased the popular makeup bareMinerals without first watching the enticing infomercials? And how many more men are drawn to use the p90x workout videos after seeing their friends reach successful results? But it’s not just the media-supported items that are luring people to use their products on their bodies. The same hook that lures a fish to its death has written “Harmful if swallowed” on the front of the package. Maybe it’s just me, but a pointy fish hook doesn’t lure me the same way these other products do.
Nabisco Easy Cheese: For best results, remove cap
As a seasoned customer, you can figure out how to use a variety of products without even glancing at the instructions. Sometimes product instructions are necessary for use, and then other instructions are merely convenient. This Nabisco instruction goes beyond convenient to completely obvious. It was most likely intended for a very young child to read. But then again, by the time a child can read, they know that in order to use a product, you must first open it.
Duraflame; Warning: Risk of fire
You should never judge a book by just its cover… but you can definitely judge a product like this by its title. You might not immediately recognize what dura stands for, but flame gives a lot away with this product. The word flame is synonymous with fire. Hopefully you are at risk for creating a fire with Duraflame, because that is precisely why you bought this product in the first place.
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: Do not use as a diaper wipe or for personal cleansing
When I think of babies, the first thing I think of is that baby in the store giving their loud wail they somehow can keep up for hours on end. I never actually ask “Why is that baby crying SO hard and long?” Maybe the baby is hungry, sleepy, or both. Or maybe their mom used stinging Clorox wipes to clean their rear rather than a diaper wipe! That would definitely make the baby’s cry seem more credible. It’s always good to read labels, especially in situations like this.
Motorola Razr: Do not try to dry your phone in a microwave
Most cell phones have liquid damage indicators on the phone, and will not replace the phone if it has been tripped. And most cell phone insurance policies won’t cover water damage. So if you’ve just dropped your phone in water, it makes sense that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to dry the phone before the water ruins it. My first thought would be to use a blow dryer on cold to dry it, but this only pushes the water around inside the phone. There are a lot of guides online that explain how to dry it. Putting your cell phone in the microwave is NEVER mentioned as a good method of drying. Just think this through. Your cell phone is metal. What happens when you put metal in the microwave? Yes, it lights on fire. Just imagine what happens when you put a metal phone with electrical capabilities running on electromagnetic radiation attached to a lithium battery in a high-powered microwave? Let’s just say you’d be better off using a dead, wet phone rather than one you just got out of the microwave.
It’s a good movement for companies in our nation to be specific with what they are selling, but sometimes it’s a little overkill. A lot of the cautions probably come from an experience or two where someone was being creative and accidentally used the product in a destructive manner. If that sounds like your style, be grateful someone else tested the product in this way and got the company to put on a no-brainer warning on the front. That warning just saved you from your next most embarrassing moment.