For the past 15 years, the Center for America has held a nationwide contest to see who could find the most outrageous, hilarious warning label in America. We have done this for two reasons. First, it’s just plain fun to see how many labels there are around the home and office that warn us to exercise common sense — such as the warning on a fishing lure that says, “Harmful if swallowed.” (I didn’t even know fish could read.)
Second, it has become an eye-opening way to learn about the burden on product makers in the most lawsuit-happy society on Earth. For today in America, warning labels must protect not only consumers from genuine danger but also producers from frivolous lawsuits from those who ignore common sense and get hurt while using their products.
With personal injury lawyers lurking around the corner and advertising on every daytime television show, manufacturers are constantly looking over their shoulders in anticipation of the next lawsuit. There is a lawsuit filed every two seconds in America. Manufacturers know they are just a trip, poke or spill away from being sued at any moment. This is why we see warning labels like these three finalists in our 15th annual Wacky Warning Label Contest that were announced this week:
- A label on an electric razor for men warns: “Never use while sleeping.”