We always make fun of useless warning labels.
“What kind of genius needs these?” we ask. “Who on earth would not only eat toner, but stop and read the warning label first?”
“Oh, wait. It says we shouldn’t.”
“Are you sure?”
Of course, the manufacturers don’t really put it there so you should read it. They put it there so that afterwards they can go, “Well, did you read the label?”
“No, I was too excited!”
And anyway, people pick and choose which signs they’re going to pay attention to. For example, when a sign says “wet paint,” everyone touches it, but when it says “wet floor,” no one does. Maybe because the “wet floor” sign has a picture of a guy falling. A “wet paint” sign should show a guy ruining his pants.
But they have to be safe, because there are always scenarios where people mess up. For everyone who makes fun of these warnings, there’s someone, somewhere, slicing jalapenos in a blender with the top off.
So sometimes there’s actually a good reason for these labels. Also, there’s always some scenario where even sane people would go against recommendations:
On a dishwasher: “Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher.”
Do not allow them? Like they’re gonna listen? What’s the correct punishment for something like this? How do you punish someone who’s already been in the dishwasher?
“That’s it. Go to your room.”
“Wow, this is roomy!”
But my guess is they’re talking about hide and seek. Because where else is there to hide in the kitchen? The fridge?
On pepper spray: “May irritate eyes.”
May irritate eyes? I want the one that does irritate eyes. I can’t just herd muggers into my kitchen and turn on the blender.
But maybe it’s written for the mugger to read, once he’s going through the victim’s purse.
“May? Let me see.”
Then you can take your stuff back.
On silica packets that come in boxes of shoes: “DO NOT EAT.”
Are so many people eating them? Why are they even in there? The entire purpose of including the silica packet seems to be to let you know not to eat it. Like you buy shoes and say, “Hey! A free snack!”
Does it mean you shouldn’t eat the shoes? This changes everything!
I actually read that the stuff inside isn’t even harmful, except in large doses. Like maybe if you buy a whole bunch of shoes at once. It’s sand, and people do swallow sand from time to time, mostly during picnics. The warning is not for the contents, it’s for people who attempt to chew on the packet itself, and then choke on it.
Maybe they should put it on sugar packets.
On a hair dryer: “Do not use in shower.”
I know that some people brush their teeth in the shower, but there’s no multi-tasking like washing and drying your hair at the same time. Is this some kind of scientific experiment? Or are you trying to keep your hair from getting wet? It’s much cheaper to go with a shower cap.
On a hotel shower cap: “Fits one head.”
I cannot imagine the kinds of calls these people get that prompted them to write this.
Yes, in general, they say two heads are better than one. But they’re not. If you had two heads, you’d have to call the front desk for an extra shower cap. Though you can probably come up with some way to make it work, if you put your heads together.
On an air conditioner: “Avoid dropping air conditioners out of windows.”
Well firstly, that’s the easiest way to bring them downstairs.
On the other hand, maybe it’s talking to the guy on the ground: If the air conditioners are dropping, avoid them.
Though if that’s the case, they should print the letters bigger.
On a car sunshield: “Do not drive with the sunshield in place.”
Then what’s it for? I need to keep the sun out of my car when I’m not in it?
I don’t even use our sunshield. My wife keeps putting it up, and I keep taking it down. Yes, without it, the car is like 200 degrees, and with it, it’s only 190. But I don’t think that’s worth the extra time before I start driving, to sit in the hot car trying to fold something that’s the width of the entire vehicle. I have to get out of the car. Or take on a passenger, so he can hold the other end and we can walk towards each other.
The only thing the sunshield really accomplishes is that I don’t burn my hands on the steering wheel, as much. But I can solve that problem by keeping a pair of oven mitts in the car. Pareve oven mitts. They’re also great for discouraging phone use.
Laser pointer: “Do not look into laser with remaining eye.”
At least don’t do it twice. Learn from your mistakes.
Maybe this is directed at the guy who tested the pepper spray.
Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and Aish.com, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].