©05 The Media Desk
The question was asked with open derision and no small amount of judgment.
Well, the Desk is used to that. Some people just don't understand, which is fine, because the Desk itself doesn't understand totally either.
AMTRAK does not maintain this station, please contact station manager with concerns.
sign at Wilmington, DE train station, circa 2001
Once upon a time (about 1998 or '99) the Desk stumbled across a badly formatted page that was simply one paragraph of maybe twenty five warnings and disclaimers somebody had posted in a forum someplace.
It was a neat idea, and it would be a lot more fun if it was broken up for easier reading and some other changes made.
That was the kernel from which the current Disclaimer Collection sprouted. Some of the originals are even still there. Buried deep inside the now multiple paragraphs of the page that now contains over 475 entries covering all sorts of public notices over a wide array of subjects. As far as the Desk can tell, it is the Largest Collection and Most Extensive of its kind on the web.
And yes, before you ask. The sequencing, positioning, and formatting of the various statements is done intentionally (at least partially) to inject a bit of humor or.... something, into the equation. And, for this article, the Desk will identify the sources for some of them, just so you know that it Hasn't made any of these things up.
No miniskirts on dance floor.
Caution: Contains hot oil and steam.
sign at country bar, about 1999
note on side of microwave popcorn
Caution: Contains hot oil and steam.
The Desk doesn't prowl the countryside in the wee hours of the night searching for consumer notices and user warnings stuck to the side of almost every retail package, taped to the doors of stores, and even stenciled on the backs of US Army trucks.
CAUTION This blade was shipped upside down. It is necessary to turn blade over before installation.
Note attached to ventilation fan, found 2005
It simply lives its life and when it runs across a new noteworthy warning, or one that is particularly ridiculous, creative, or simply beyond anything resembling common sense, it jots it down, saves the label, or in some cases, takes a picture of it. Like the following:
EMERGENCY FIRE EXIT ONLY Violators will be prosecuted Punishable by up to one year in jail and $4,000 in fines. LA SALIDA DE FUEGO DE EMERGENCIA SOLAMENTE Violadores estara juzgado punible por hasta un ano en carcel Y $4,000 en multas.
warning on fire door at Dallas, TX airport, photographed in 2004
And another photo from an airport (BWI this time) to PROVE you can't make some of these up. Caption this one: And WHO invented the English Language?.
These things are so much a part of our life they're like MUZAK ® and are part of the background noise of life to the point that most of the time, we really don't see them, and when we do, we usually don't read them.
Everything has labels full of fine print warning the user not to place a ladder on frozen manure, that a permanent marker is permanent on most surfaces, that pork hot dogs do indeed contain pork and are not Kosher.
And then sometimes the warnings are simply bizarre. Somebody felt obligated to go into some detail to warn us that eating bugs might upset your stomach. That wire dog cages shouldn't be used for child control (although some kids do belong in a cage). Or that if you cannot read English to dial a special number, the note was written in English of course.
Others are simply hilarious:
NOTICE:This product, when extremely cold, may stick to warm skin, lips, etc. Before eating, please briefly rub the product, WHILE STILL IN THE WRAPPER, between the palms of your hands to insure maximum enjoyment.
warning on box of ice cream treats
And there MUST be a story behind some of them: Adult Event, no one under 21 admitted, modest attire suggested but not required, no intoxicated individuals will be admitted, No Cel Phone Cameras Allowed. That was on an advertisement for a celebration in New Orleans the Desk came across while traveling through the area. While intrigued, it wasn't able to attend that particular event although something like that clearly warrants further study sometime in the future.
Others you know are the result of a lawsuit filed because somebody, somewhere, was a moron and ended up either dead or injured and some other outfit got sued: Do not inflate indoors. Caution: Load Bearing Wall. Keep away from fire or flames. If somebody is dumb enough to reload shotgun shells in front of a roaring fire, why should the powder manufacturer make their surviving family members independently wealthy? Ahhh, we'll deal with that at another time.
Some just make you wonder "Why?":
This Flavor Is Not Sold To Any Retailer As A Store Brand
on a bottle of mouthwash, fall 2004
And so, in its travels and the normal case of daily life, the desk will occasionally see one of these things, or in some cases, they jump out at it: Due to HIPPA regulations, we cannot wait on anyone while they are on a Cel Phone. -sign at pharmacy (soon to be seen everywhere). And once in awhile friends and family will point out a really good one as well: Discard by adult. Take out for normal play mode. -on toy daughter number two received.
And then others, although they are not specifically a warning or disclaimer, are simply too good to pass up:
"Civil authorities have issued an immediate evacuation order for all of Connecticut, beginning at 2:10 p.m. and ending at 3:10 p.m."
Emergency broadcasting test gone haywire, February 2005
the Disclaimer Collection
[NOTE: The DISCLAIMER COLLECTION is not Original Material by the Desk. The Media Desk simply collects them and formats it for easier reading. As far as the DESK is concerned, this work is a collection of Public Domain information and is presented simply as entertainment. Please treat it as such. Thank you ]
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