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OTHER ITA SITES:
Have Simple Labels Gone Out The WIndow?
Frivolous lawsuit claims are taking labeling in a whole new direction that borderline on silliness. Some labels wording is so off that you wonder what the manufacturer was thinking. While labels provide relevant information that many consumers find useful like warnings and contents, many consumers are finding labels that seem to little more than overstate the obvious. Has common sense gone out the window or do labels really need to contain so much information?
Once upon a dreary morning at a McDonald's drive through, an elderly woman tried to sip on hot coffee but instead spilled it on her lap. She won a lawsuit against McDonald claiming the cup didn't warn her that it was hot. Since then, many cautious companies have started including very over obvious tidbits of information on their products. Of course, certain information is necessary like knowing ingredients and processes that are related to allergies. But, do you need to be told that a bag of carrots contains the ingredients carrots? Most labels also are useful at warning of dangers or explaining guidelines of the product's usage. But, does a consumer need to be told that a Harry Potter broom does not actually make a child fly?
Label regulations come from many different sources, depending on the industry. The food industry in the U.S., for example, must adhere to the FDA (Food and Drug Association) regulations regarding ingredient and nutrition labeling. Warning labels, on the other hand, are generated mostly through the advise of company lawyers and federal laws. Instructions, too, sometimes originate from lawyer recommendations.
For fun, many websites - such as DumbNetwork.com - are devoted to cracking jabs at some of the sillier labels in today's market. Below are some highlights of the dumber warnings and instructions for the average consumer:
- Heinz Ketchup, "Instructions: Put on food".
- Ray Ban Sunglasses, "It is not suitable for driving under conditions of poor light".
- Blow dryer, "Do not use while sleeping".
- Rowenta iron, "Never iron clothes on the body".
Lots of labels instruct you on how to remove wrapping or empty the box contents first. This might sound silly at first, but many users are starting with many basic skills and require much spelled out. In other words, what seems obvious to you might not seem obvious to someone else – perhaps these words might make a great label some day! Sometimes manufacturers include words that might sound like common sense but are actually attempts at discouraging undesirable use of their product. For example, did you know many golf carts have the warning "not for highway use" to discourage joy riding on the road.
Even though lots of labels sound silly, unfortunately careful label wording is needed to protect companies from careless lawsuits and to save consumers from doing dangerous things. Perhaps once hair-coloring manufacturer hit it on the head when it explained this warning on its product "Do not use as an ice cream topping".
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