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10th Annual Wacky Warning Labels Out 445 445

autophile writes "It's official: M-Law's 10th Annual Wacky Warning Label Contest is over. First prize has gone to a washing machine label urging not to put people in washers. Started to promote awareness of excessive litigation, the contest highlights common sense warning labels, such as the one that warns not to dry cellphones in microwave ovens. Companies find it necessary to stick crazy warnings on their products because of previous insane lawsuits: 'A front loader (washing machine) is just at the right height — speaking now as a mother and not a corporate spokeswoman — for a four-year-old,' said Patti Andresen Shew of Alliance Laundry Systems. Personally, I think a four-year-old precocious enough to read and understand all the warning labels hidden all over a product probably doesn't need those labels."
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10th Annual Wacky Warning Labels Out

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  • by packeteer (566398) <packeteer AT subdimension DOT com> on Saturday January 06, 2007 @12:33PM (#17488404)
    The labels are pretty rediculous but they are for the parents not the kids. Nobody thinks a 4 year old is going to read the labels and to make it sounds like thats what the company thinks is going to happen is silly. You don't need to be deceptive to make your point that the label to not put people in the washer is silly.
  • Knowledge is Power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Torico (732160) * on Saturday January 06, 2007 @12:41PM (#17488478)
    stupid people + clever lawyers = trouble

    Should there be warning labels? Of course.
    Should there be warning labels as a replacement for a basic level of education? Of course not.
  • by gravesb (967413) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @12:48PM (#17488552) Homepage
    The law generally is that the company must warn against unintended uses that a reasonable person would forsee. The problem is the reasonable person standard is determined by a jury. If juries would stop awarding such verdicts, then lawyers would stop suing. As long as juries continue to say a reasonable person would forsee someone putting a wet cell phone in a microwave, lawyers will continue to file suit. Talking to one juror about a malpractice case, they said they really didn't see that the doctor was negligent, but the plaintiff was suffering, the insurance was the only one who was going to pay, the insurance company had money, so why not give the plaintiff $400,000? The thing they didn't see (other than their conduct being against the law) was that everyone pays increased medical costs to cover the increase in malpractice insurance that the doctor must pay. If jurors were more responsible and more intelligent as to the consequences of their actions, the legal culture would have to change. Don't expect the lawyers to change the system, they have too much of a vested interest, and they are legally bound to look after their client's best interests within the law. People need to change the system.
  • by thewils (463314) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @01:21PM (#17488864) Journal
    The labels are pretty rediculous but they are for the parents

    Well, actually the labels are there for the manufacturers. They don't give a crap what you do with their product, if there's a warning label then your chances of successfully suing them are minimal.
  • by adenied (120700) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @01:22PM (#17488878)
    The do not iron warning on the lottery ticket makes a lot of sense. How many people (outside of computer geeks) really know that most lottery tickets are printed on thermal paper? Get that warm and all of a sudden you have a black ticket that's pretty much ruined. Combine that with the fact that some people like to iron their crumpled up money and I can totally see how some people might need this warning.
  • by IdleTime (561841) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @01:47PM (#17489098) Journal
    These warning labels are a social curiosity found in USA.

    When I first moved here I was totally cracking up at all the stupid warnings you have on everything. Why are they there? Because of a horrible justice system and not because you want to warn people about the obvious but to avoid paying millions and millions to idiots.

    Your justice system is long overdue for a total overhaul, it is horrific at best.
  • what was it that I bought??

    You bought a cheap bike for an activity that would need good, heavy-duty gear (i.e., not cheap)
  • by MrHanky (141717) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @02:07PM (#17489296) Homepage Journal
    Well, you shouldn't use a Q-tip to clean your ear. It shoves the earwax further in, and does far more damage than good. No doctor would ever recommend Q-tips for ear cleaning. Yes, it's probably the originally intended use, but good intentions don't always give good results. Q-tips are still kind of neat for other uses, though.
  • by ericlondaits (32714) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @03:10PM (#17489916) Homepage
    While McDonald's and Starbucks can afford to make the effort to find the perfect temperature at which to sell their hot beverages, it's a sad sad life if the only hot liquids you place in your mouth come from a fast food corporation.

    From the first sips of hot home-made tea I took in my life my mother taught me to be careful and check the temperature least I burn my tongue or mouth. I never attempted to chug down hot coffee like it was coke... the only way I can think of to get third degree burns in the stomach.

    The ability to sue is a poor replacement to knowing how to get around in life.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @03:23PM (#17490054)
    Yes, it's a real risk, but putting a label on it in no way reduces that risk.

    Putting a label on it enables the manufacturer to claim that they did what was practical to warn people of the risk, and thus presents some defense against lawsuits based on their being aware of the risk but concealing it. Now, its unlikely that most such lawsuits would succeed, and its not all that clear that such a warning would necessary actually adequately protect them against any that would. But its extremely cheap to put the warning on, and it might have some utility in either discouraging lawsuits from being filed or in defeating ones that are filed, so they'll do it.

    Whether it actually reduces risk to other people is about the last thing manufacturers care about.
  • by AnotherUsername (966110) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @07:10PM (#17492166)
    I am sick of people saying that public transportation is the Holy Grail of this country's transportation/pollution/whatever else problems. Here's a big secret that all these pro-public transportation people don't seem to realize:

    Not every place has public transportation.

    Believe it or not, people commute from small towns and small cities to bigger cities. And, believe it or not, these small towns and small cities don't always have a public transportation system that can get them from point A to point B and back again. In the town that I grew up in, the only time a bus was ever seen, other than school buses, was when a charter bus would pull off the interstate to get gas or pass through the town.

    In the small city I live in now, there is a bus line for around the city, but it only goes to the college and a strip mall. There are several buses that go to the surrounding cities. However, they don't operate at the times necessary for people to get to and from work, and there are no buses that get around those cities.

    There is no rail line. There are no taxis. How do people get around? Cars.

    There is a bike path that stretches from the college to the strip mall area. But there is no bike path on the major streets. How are people supposed to get where they are going without spending a hour to get from one end of the city where they live to the other? Again, personal vehicles.

    So, next time that you think that public transportation is the be all, end all of our transportation and pollution woes, think again. Not everyone in this country lives in a major metropolitan area with a squeaky clean public transportation system.

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @09:08PM (#17493140)
    The kid who never burns the roof of his mouth while young enough to have rapid cell regrowth in his mouth and sensitive pain receptors

    Sorry, humans of all ages have rapid cell regrowth in their mouths, which contain sensitive pain receptors.

    (Very young children mouth everything they pick up because their mouth is more sensitive than their fingers. As they age, their fingers get more sensitive, their mouth remains the same)

    I don't think protecting people from common sense is a good thing

    Common sense says that I will get scalded if I spill hot coffee on my lap. That's a first degree burn. In the McDonalds case the coffee caused 3rd degree burns, thus defying common sense.

    Common sense also says that a restaurant wouldn't be so stupid that they would sell a beverage that was so hot it could not be consumed without injury. Much like common sense would tell you that a restaurant wouldn't sell coffee made with concentrated sulphuric acid.

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." -- Ford Prefect, _Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_