Wearing of This Garment Does Not Enable You to Fly: 101 Real Dumb Warning Labels

Wearing of This Garment Does Not Enable You to Fly: 101 Real Dumb Warning Labels

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by Jeff Koon, Andy Powell, Tim Carroll
     
 

America's famous teenage stalkers of stupidity are back! From the authors of You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant, here is a collection of 101 of the dumbest product warnings you'll ever see.

The infamous 1994 McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit has spawned a veritable industry of "hot" warnings, from Kellogg's Pop-Tarts admonition that

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Overview

America's famous teenage stalkers of stupidity are back! From the authors of You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant, here is a collection of 101 of the dumbest product warnings you'll ever see.

The infamous 1994 McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit has spawned a veritable industry of "hot" warnings, from Kellogg's Pop-Tarts admonition that "[i]f pastry is overheated, frosting/filling can become extremely hot and could cause burns" to the Black Cat Fireworks label: "Caution: flammable. Do not put in mouth." If, on the other hand, you manage to escape the heat with a trip to the beach, be warned that a twenty-inch beach ball is "NOT a lifesaving device." Kids (and maybe even parents) might be forgiven, however, for thinking that Mr. Bubbles Body Wash for Kids of All Ages would be okay to use if they missed the warning label: "Caution. Keep out of reach of young children."

In the brave new world of technology, users frustrated by the gobbledygook of users' manuals will be relieved that their warning labels at least make sense: the Sun StarOffice End User License Agreement warns users that "software is not designed, licensed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility," while the SGI IRIS Indigo Workstation manual tells you, "Don't dangle the mouse by its cable or throw the mouse at coworkers." And for those who just can't quite figure out what to do with some of their new purchases, this might help: "Use Gold Dial as you would ordinary soap" explains the Dial soap label.

Compiled by Jeff Koon and Andy Powell, this hilarious collection features the best contributions from the hundreds of thousands of fans of their Web sites, www.dumblaws.com and www.dumbwarnings.com, and forty-two original drawings by illustrator Tim Carroll.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439150443
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
11/18/2008
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

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Preface

Some time ago a friend told me, "Stupid should hurt." I just laughed, but over the past year the truth of that statement has been made clearer to Jeff and me. Stupid actually does hurt, if the warnings we have collected have any reason to exist at all. Jeff and I found one warning on a car sunscreen -- one of the large folding ones that cool your car in the summer: "Remove shade before operating vehicle." I've been guilty of driving in the winter with a bit of frost on my windshield, but someone must have decided to drive with the sunshade up, right? It is through the gratuitous mixture of stupidity and litigation that it has been possible for Jeff and me to present this collection, so give yourself a pat on the back if you've ever applied Preparation H internally, tried to dive in the 0' 0" section of your public swimming pool, or given ant poison to small children as a toy: you've helped further the career of two aspiring college freshmen.

Jeff and I take our responsibility as "exposers of the dumb" pretty seriously. We searched high and low shelves for these warnings. And we endured some adversity. As we walked through stores closely examining each and every product for dumb warnings, we became magnets for rent-a-cops. Of course, we are teenage guys, which seems invariably to arouse the suspicion of all security personnel in towns small and large. That was not the only peril of warning-shopping: there was always the looming risk of someone you know actually catching you in the act. "It's for my book" simply doesn't cut it when you're caught in a Wal-Mart holding a bag of adult diapers.

Fortunately Jeff and I are accustomed tobeing the subjects of ridiculous public spectacle. Following the success of our first book, You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant: 101 Real Dumb Laws, we were invited to New York for a media tour, and our schedule included an unforgettable photo shoot with a magazine. We knew that the photographer wanted to get shots of us violating some laws -- however, we didn't know this meant standing on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway for three hours in a circa 1920 swimsuit while foreign tourists talked about "crazy Americans" as they passed. Even stranger, perhaps, was the photographer who tied Jeff and me to a fire hydrant, in my own neighborhood, for an hour and a half. To this day, I'm not sure the neighbors knew what was happening.

In looking over our collection of dumb warnings we can see certain types emerging. Certain products are intended to cure specific ailments or to be used for particular applications, but knowing what the product is really for and when to apply it is not always clear, as it seems, at least to some of us. One might assume that toilet cleaner should be applied to a dirty toilet. Apparently, though, a select group of people also think that toilet cleaner is good for baking, eye irritation, or as a sexual stimulant.

Manufacturers of products of all sorts seem to enjoy informing their customers of the most blatantly obvious information. Certainly, it fills up the package with more "interesting" content to read, but why not just cut to the chase and tell us what we really need to know?

There are various other loose categories, including "Don't eat it" and "If it's hot, it's hot," but we don't want to get too taxonomic about our warnings. Enjoy dipping into this book whenever life begins to seem safe and dull. But please note: this book does not enable you to fly -- or do anything at all!

Copyright © 2003 by Jeff Koon and Andy Powell for text

Spare Bladder Not suitable for human consumption.

This is a bag for urinating in while hunting in a tree stand. If you are in the habit of eating raw deer meat it might seem like a nice snack....

McDonald's Coffee Cup Caution:

HOT!

For this one we have to thank the famous suit against McDonald's for coffee that was too hot for at least one customer's lap.

ChapStick Lip Moisturizer Keep out of eyes.

Boudreaux's Butt Paste Avoid contact with eyes.

Homelite Zip Start Vac Attack Blower Do not point blower in direction of people or pets.

Wild animals and leaves are presumably okay?

Bono 527 Multi-Purpose Cement Exposure may result in confusion.

Anyone who sniffs glue is more than confused.

The Web Filter Fresh Air Freshener Not for human consumption.

3M Auto-Pak Aluminum Oxide Automotive Sandpaper Safety information: Work smart every time.

To change sheets, wait until sander has completely stopped.

Copyright © 2003 by Jeff Koon and Andy Powell for text

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