Warning Labels

Signs, Signs, Every Warning Sign

After tonight’s dinner, we had a little treat:  some Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough, right out of the package*.

*Don’t judge me – or my parenting skills.

The lovely Mrs. Feit Can Write asked if I knew what warning was in all caps on the package.  Feeling a little bit like Sgt. Al Powell in Die Hard, I rattled off the warning verbatim:  “DO NOT CONSUME RAW COOKIE DOUGH.”*

*Seriously, don’t judge me.  While this was not the first time I’ve had cookie dough from the package, I have an odd – and relatively useless – talent for remembering random things like this. 

My initial reaction was to claim that “Do Not Consume Raw Cookie Dough” must be the most widely ignored consumer warning of all time.  I eat cookie dough out of the tube.  You eat cookie dough out the tube.  We all eat cookie dough from the tube.  Seriously, does anybody actually bake cookies with the cookie dough they purchase?

Seriously? You can bake this into cookies? (image via delish.com)

But now I’m not so sure.  Mrs. Feit Can Write suggested “WARNING – Contents may be hot” on the side of every to-go coffee cup.  People still smoke in spite of the “Smoking Causes Lung Cancer” warning/promise on the side of each pack.  And I won’t even get into the lists of bizarre (and sadly funny) warning labels that show up in your inbox every few months.

Personally, I think companies should simplify things.  Instead of putting “For external use only” on a curling iron, all consumer products should have a standard warning/disclaimer:

If you use this product in a manner for which it was not originally intended, you may hurt yourself or others.  If you are unsure as to the intended use(s) of this product, please call our consumer hotline at 1-800-YRU-DUMB.  Regardless, do not even think about trying to sue us or our corporate conglomerate overlords.

Yes, it is a bit wordy, but it sure beats the alternative – a world where every product has a four page list of disclaimers, warnings, potential side-effects, and other legalese in 8 point font.

Or, maybe we could all agree to accept responsibility for our actions and behaviors.  If I burn my thighs and groin, I should probably not have placed the paper cup of scalding coffee between my legs.  If I smoke a pack a day – and started smoking at any time after 1990 – then I deserve whatever karma Joe Camel brings my way.  And if I throw up tonight, it may be because of the raw ingredients in that cookie dough.

But it likely will be because I ate half the tube – although my lawyer is checking to see if we have a case.

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