Legal product disclaimers have gone too far.
We’ve all seen and ignored them in the past: those huge slabs of tiny writing that lawyers put onto the packet to tell you that what you’ve just bought doesn’t actually work.
Disclaimers are getting ridiculous. The other day, I saw a disclaimer on (of all things) a kids’ coloring book. It said:
The illustrations and information contained and conveyed in this book are not intended to be exhaustive for educational purposes and are merely examples of actvity to stimulate fun. Readers are advised to acquaint themselves with all the relevant facts and circumstances which may give rise to harm or loss of any nature and howsoever arising.
- IGA Colouring-In & Activity Book 2007
Someone did some risk analysis. “If a frog gets colored in red, we could scar a kid for life, and have to pay millions in compensation,” someone said as a joke.
“Call a lawyer,” said their manager in a panic.
And it was done.
But it got us thinking about other legal disclaimers that the world really needs.
- Beer cans – “Warning: excessive consumption may lead you to sleep with a work colleague.”
- Toy trucks – “Trucks are not really this small. A real truck is too heavy to lift, and if you crash it into another car, it will kill the occupants. Do not attempt to squeeze yourself into this toy truck and drive it as it has no engine.”
- Chocolate Easter rabbits – “This is a chocolate rabbit. Real rabbits do not taste of chocolate. Do not use this rabbit in a recipe for rabbit casserole.”
- Washing machines – “Warning. Clothes may come out wet. Any cold symptoms developed by the customer due to putting on a wet sweater are at your own risk.”
- The Sun should have a sign saying “May cause cancer or blindness.”
- Windows – “Hitting this window really hard with your fist may break the glass, causing pain, bleeding and a really bad owie.”
- Toilet paper – “Warning: this product is not intended for use as a gift wrap.”
- Due to a bad experience we had, gift wrap needs: “This product is not intended for wiping away faeces.”
- Lego needs to remind us: “This product may not be fun to use if you have no imagination.”
- Telescopes – “Warning. Telescope may cause objects to appear closer than they really are.”
- Books – “Reading skills required to operate this item.”
- World globes – “Warning: world is actually flat.”
- New babies – “Caution. Babies poo. Not cute when crying.”
- McDonald’s burgers – “Warning: not for human consumption.”
- Chocolate – “This product may go straight to your hips.”
- James Blunt – “Warning: may induce coma.”
- Mobile phones – “Disclaimer: text-messaging at 2am may cause loss of friends.”
- MySpace – “Please do not enter into suicide pacts with other MySpace users. Entering into said deal may have adverse outcomes.”
- Meat pies – “Warning: may contain traces of meat.”
- Celebrities – “Disclaimer: being a well-known celebrity does not make you an interesting person.”
- Money – “Contrary to popular belief, this note did not in fact grow on a tree.”
- People magazine – “Knowing the current status of Brad and Angelina’s relationship does not make you an interesting conversationalist.”
- The Internet – “Caution: may contain traces of fact.”