Excess use of warning labels have opposite effect

senseless

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 23, 2008
1,762
152
Pennsylvania, USA
I bought a hatchet that has a warning that it contains chemicals that might cause cancer or reproductive harm. Really?

I've seen new windows with warnings that children can "fall out of open windows". Peanuts contain peanuts. I get it.

The result is I don't know when there is a real hazard or if it's just more silliness.
 

G51989

macrumors 68030
Feb 25, 2012
2,506
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
That would require intelligence and discernment.

I'm sure you can manage to muster up a bit of that.
There is a warning label on my Corvette under where the Door closes that says

" The B-Pillar and rear guard are NOT roll bars! This is an open vehicle and please drive safely "

And I'm just like....no!
 

iMacFarlane

macrumors 65816
Apr 5, 2012
1,123
23
Adrift in a sea of possibilities
My personal favorite has always been the safety tag on the cord of hair dryers. It shows a picture of the hair dryer in the shower with an international "no" circle over it.

Besides the electrocution hazard, which should be obvious to anyone . . . would someone expect to DRY their hair WHILE THEY WERE SHOWERING?

I work in an industrial environment where we have common access and/or exposure to hazmat, asbestos, ionizing radiation, high voltage, and caustic chemicals. The warnings/signs/placards/labels are just so much noise at a given point. Your safety is tied to your own knowledge and situational awareness.
 

G51989

macrumors 68030
Feb 25, 2012
2,506
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
My personal favorite has always been the safety tag on the cord of hair dryers. It shows a picture of the hair dryer in the shower with an international "no" circle over it.

Besides the electrocution hazard, which should be obvious to anyone . . . would someone expect to DRY their hair WHILE THEY WERE SHOWERING?
According to the bleeding hearts, people don't know not to shower with a hair dryer?

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I'm speaking generally. If you constantly warn about trivial nonsense, people will learn to ignore all warning labels, even if it contains a real hazard.
Question.

Do you consider yourself a bleeding heart? And do you consider people to stupid to make their own choices?
 

senseless

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 23, 2008
1,762
152
Pennsylvania, USA
According to the bleeding hearts, people don't know not to shower with a hair dryer?

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Question.

Do you consider yourself a bleeding heart? And do you consider people to stupid to make their own choices?
There should be warnings on products that are actually hazardous.

There are legitimate useful warnings such as Do not mix this product with anything containing ammonia, Do not induce vomiting if swallowed, Do not sand old lead paint, Do not splash in eyes or Edges are sharp- use gloves. These I would like to know about.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
According to the bleeding hearts, people don't know not to shower with a hair dryer?
It's called the "let's make sure we cover our asses from all angles so we can't be sued for negligence" effect. It's not that they think we're stupid, it's that they know that some people will try to find a loophole to get money out of them some way, somehow.

Most of the stupider warnings we see tend to pop up after a company has been slapped with a lawsuit over the very thing they're stupidly warning us about.

edit: I should add that, though rarer than most of you would think, there have been some situations where people really have been that fatally stupid.
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,199
722
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Coffee is still so freaking hot at some places, and that's something my dad and I don't like. Not even the coffee that comes out of our machine is that hot.

They probably put the shower warning on the hairdryer because you tend to grab your towel while you're still standing in there so when you get out you won't make a mess on the floor. I don't think people are that stupid, just impatient.

I don't like the warning on peanuts either. That's just stupid. :mad:
 

EvilQueen

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2013
261
21
In my own world
There should be warnings on products that are actually hazardous.

There are legitimate useful warnings such as Do not mix this product with anything containing ammonia, Do not induce vomiting if swallowed, Do not sand old lead paint, Do not splash in eyes or Edges are sharp- use gloves. These I would like to know about.
I agree. There shouldn't be warnings on things based on every frivolous lawsuit that was ever filed. So so many of the stupid ones in the list, the actual warning you may need is lost in the pile.

My snowblower has a bunch of warnings on it, one of them says not to use it on a roof to remove shingles. There is a warning on a box of my bullets that says to dispose of unused ammunition correctly and not to put live bullets in a trash compactor.
 

aerok

macrumors 65816
Oct 29, 2011
1,488
135
Unfortunately, some of the things that are obvious to most are not to others.
 

Shrink

macrumors G3
Feb 26, 2011
8,914
1,596
New England, USA
Consider the possibility that the Warning labels serve only to eliminate the liability of the producer for any possible stupidity of the user.

It has little, or nothing, to do with actually warning the user of hazards, but to indemnify the maker from legal liability and lawsuits.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
17,525
8,141
Colorado
Consider the possibility that the Warning labels serve only to eliminate the liability of the producer for any possible stupidity of the user.

It has little, or nothing, to do with actually warning the user of hazards, but to indemnify the maker from legal liability and lawsuits.
Winner, winner chicken dinner.
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
8,917
6,694
Vilano Beach, FL
Consider the possibility that the Warning labels serve only to eliminate the liability of the producer for any possible stupidity of the user.

It has little, or nothing, to do with actually warning the user of hazards, but to indemnify the maker from legal liability and lawsuits.
Bingo.

My favorites are the disclaimers/warnings displayed at the bottom of TV ads, especially in some car commercials.

“Do not try this, a simulated event”

Oh really? Dang, because I was thinking if I drove my Mini off a dock, I could drive it across the Atlantic ocean and pop out in Italy!

:p
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
2,327
10,229
Scotland
A colleague and friend of mine was once hired to help with the defence of a company that was being sued. Somebody has used their product and had come to grief. My friend, who was an academic psychologist, was asked to do a study sampling 150 people about how they might use the product. Not one of them thought of the way the complainant used the product to his harm (each person in the sample had to think up of 20 uses for the product). Overall, the case cost the company more than $100,000 (in 1980's) even though it was eventually thrown out of court.

How did the complainant hurt himself? He tried to dive through the middle of a truck tire inner tube (the product in question) from a high dive. His body made it through, but his head did not, with consequent damage to his neck.

Customer (tragic) stupidity is why there are warning labels warning against being a dumb-ass.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,009
16,454
The Misty Mountains
Warning labels are good when they are appropriate. Anything excessive is usually bad. Contains peanut oil or bad for pregnant mothers, those are good. I assume when it comes to excessive, it is driven by liability. Let's get to work on our legal system.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,830
Midlife, Midwest
Consider the possibility that the Warning labels serve only to eliminate the liability of the producer for any possible stupidity of the user.
The warning label doesn't eliminate the manufacturer's liability: Nothing, legally speaking, can do that. Even if you asked every buyer of the product to sign a waiver, people can still sue you if something goes wrong.

What warning labels do, from the manufacturers perspective, is minimize or mitigate the liability, should an accident occur, and should they be sued as a result.

A Warning Label shows that the defendant manufacturer a) anticipated the potential uses and misuses of the product and b) took reasonable steps to prevent harm from occurring as a result.

Warning Labels are therefore designed for the most-stupid reasonable person they expect to be using the product. A Warning Label cannot prevent a monkey from improperly using a toaster (the simian being presumably unable to decipher the symbols showing a finger getting zapped with an electric shock.) But a warning label could deter, say, a Chinese person - unable to read English - by the combination of the Red warning label and the symbology - from putting his fingers into the device while it was plugged in.

By way of contrast, a commercial airplane cockpit is relatively free from warning labels (although there are some.)

The airplane manufacturer may reasonably assume that only highly trained and skilled personnel will ever be using the product. And so they don't have to plaster a big decal on the control yoke, warning of the dire results of exceeding the plane's performance envelope.
 

samiwas

macrumors 68000
Aug 26, 2006
1,575
3,518
Atlanta, GA
Ha. Has anyone bought an extension cord lately? When we bought several dozen cords from Home Depot, I actually had to have an extra person that day to take them all off.

Maybe it's job creation...

Couldn't find a photo of them, so this strand of Christmas Lights will have to do:

 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
To be honest, everybody knew that this was going to have the opposite effect back in 1985.

Anybody remember the PMRC?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PMRC

They were the sole party responsible for:



After the Senate hearings on it, most bands actually asked and dared the record labels to put the sticker on their albums. It had the opposite effect: it made sales of albums with it on it skyrocket.

BL.