September 1, 2006

Warning: Read at Your Own Risk

And from the Washington Post, today's dose of random craziness. The linked article discusses the warning labels that have become so prolific on every single product around us. So common I don't even see them anymore, to be honest.

In an effort to combat lawsuits, manufacturers are playing CYA (cover your arse) as fast as they can get their junk onto store shelves. Everyone remembers where it started in earnest - the woman who burned her legs on hot coffee from McDonalds, prompting them to lose a huge lawsuit and subsequently have to label their cups - "Caution: Hot coffee is hot".

And lawyers are greedy and people are stupid and the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

I remember moaning to a lawyer about that lawsuit, and he replied that actually, the burns were severe and she required skin grafts etc. Am I nuts, or does the fact that she got the coffee in a drive thru, put it between her legs and opened it, and THEN her son drove off and it spilled not scream some sort of personal responsiblity here?

The article lists lots of useless warnings (sleeping aids that may cause drowsiness), but I cry for the future of the human race if we don't instinctively know that we shouldn't catch falling knives, or that a toilet brush shouldn't be used for personal hygiene. Though that last one does beg the question: Where?

Here's a thought: Sometimes, it IS your fault. That's all. You screwed up. You made a bad call, so suck it up and take responsibility. Admit your mistakes, fix them, and move on. We have become the biggest bunch of whiners, ever. I know one woman who has gone from cradle to 50 (and counting) blaming someone else for every single miscue in her entire life. Get real.

No wonder our kids keep looking for the lazy way out - parents blame teachers for a lousy work ethic and bad grades, they coddle their kids into a catatonic state of inability to even wipe their own butts, and then they wonder why they have adults living at home unable to leave the nest.

Self control, self reliance, self discipline, self restraint. All part of responsibility. If you pour too many drugs or dangerous substances down your throat, it is not the manufacturer's fault. Their fault may be established in supplying a faulty product, but not the misuse of that product.

I don't care if you're the President of the United States, or my kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Own up, take your lumps, and don't do it again. You shouldn't need a warning label to do the obvious.


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