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Frank Mahony

World Gone Legal!

2/19/2008   Comment on This

Have you noticed that the whole world has gone legal crazy? Everybody is suing somebody about something in 2008. There is always someone “at fault” for everything that doesn’t work out the way we planned and it can all be settled with huge sums of money. Everyone remembers the woman who initially won millions because she spilled hot coffee on herself.

Since then, the whole world has taken up the new pastime of “legal posturing” to minimize liability. An example of this stupidity is right on the keyboard I’m using where it says:

WARNING: To reduce the risk of serious injury to hand, wrists or other joints, read Safety & Comfort Guide.

I don’t happen to remember where I left my Safety & Comfort Guide so I searched for it on the internet. It was easy to find on the company’s website. This ridiculous document contains 58 pages translated into 32 languages to tell me how to sit in front of a computer and type on a keyboard - safely and comfortably. I can guarantee this exists because somebody sued some computer company.

This kind of thing isn’t just on machinery. I just cracked open a box of snack bars and the packaging is like a legal contract and disclaimer between me and the manufacturer with:

  • A warning about freshness dates
  • A warning for people that may be allergic to nuts
  • A disclaimer of what is meant by “100% natural” and “a good source of fiber.”
  • A warning by the picture of the snack bar that “the image has been enlarged to show detail.”
  • Helpful tips to teach me how to open and close a box

Years ago the product package gave us “the pitch” and a few facts (size, weight. etc…) without a legal team standing by. I found this cool website that shows what food packaging looked like in the good old days. http://www.theimaginaryworld.com/page4.html

Everything was simpler back then and nobody was legally liable if you were too stupid to know that the picture on the box was a little bigger than the actual food inside or that coffee is hot.

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