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Common Sense

P J Martin
Office/News Reporter, Metcalfe Division

Whatever happened to good ole common sense? It seems to have taken a beating lately. So much so that companies are putting a warning on literally everything to safeguard against litigation from customers. Manufacturers are scared of lawsuits that can bankrupt their businesses. It seems that nothing is common and nothing makes sense anymore.

For example: why would anyone over the age of say 10 even think about eating a detergent pod? It’s detergent! When most of us were growing up we had enough common sense to not eat detergent. Mind you it wasn’t packed so pretty then, but still, we knew better than to try to eat it.

Lots of products have ridiculous warning labels or instructions on them. Here are a few examples:

An over-the-counter sleep medication warns that it ‘may cause drowsiness.’ I hope so since that is the purpose of the medication.

A jar of peanut butter warns that it contains peanut oil or a carton of egg warns that it contains eggs.

A reflective auto sun shield with a warning label stating not to drive the vehicle with the sun shield in place in the windshield.

A clothing iron label warns consumers not to iron clothes while wearing them or they could suffer burns. Also, a shirt label warning not to iron the shirt while wearing it.

My personal favorite is the warning in the instruction booklet for a Dremel rotary tool. This product not intended for use as a dental drill or in a medical application.

The sad part of all this is not that society, in general, has lost its last shred of common sense, but that litigation has gotten so out of hand. Companies have to provide warning of “foreseeable” dangers and if their product is not used in a reasonable manner the companies are still at risk of being sued and taken to court.

Let’s face it, sometimes a warning label is necessary to avoid injuries, but many of those warning labels just need to be replaced with some common sense.


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