In case you needed further proof that the Human Race is rife with stupidity, here are some actual label instructions from various international consumer products.
On a blanket from Taiwan:
NOT TO BE USED AS PROTECTION FROM A TORNADO.
(Darn, what am I gonna use now???)
On a helmet-mounted mirror used by American cyclists:
REMEMBER, OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE ACTUALLY BEHIND YOU.
On the bottle-top of a British flavoured milk drink:
AFTER OPENING, KEEP UPRIGHT.
On a New Zealand insect spray:
THIS PRODUCT NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS.
In an American guide to setting up a new computer:
TO AVOID CONDENSATION FORMING, ALLOW THE BOXES TO WARM UP TO ROOM
TEMPERATURE BEFORE OPENING.
(Sensible, but the instruction was INSIDE the box.)
On a packet of American Sunmaid raisins:
WHY NOT TRY TOSSING OVER YOUR FAVOURITE BREAKFAST CEREAL?
On an American Sears hairdryer:
DO NOT USE WHILE SLEEPING.
On a bag of American Fritos-brand Corn Chips:
YOU COULD BE A WINNER! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. DETAILS INSIDE.
(The shoplifter’s special!)
On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom of the box):
DO NOT TURN UPSIDE DOWN.
(Too late! You lose!)
On a Korean kitchen knife:
WARNING: KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN.
(Dammit! Who are they to tell me what to do with my kids?)
On a string of Chinese-made Christmas lights:
FOR INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE ONLY.
(As opposed to use in outer space?)
On a Japanese food processor:
NOT TO BE USED FOR THE OTHER USE.
(Now I’m curious!)
On British Sainsbury’s peanuts:
WARNING – CONTAINS NUTS.
On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
INSTRUCTIONS – OPEN PACKET, EAT NUTS.
(I’m glad they cleared that up.)
On a Swedish chainsaw;
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO STOP CHAIN WITH YOUR HANDS OR GENITALS.
(What kind of consumer phone-call led to this warning?)
On a Canadian child’s Superman costume:
WEARING OF THIS GARMENT DOES NOT ENABLE YOU TO FLY.
(That’s right, destroy a universal childhood fantasy!)
On some British frozen dinners:
SERVING SUGGESTION: DEFROST.
On a hotel provided shower cap in a box:
FITS ONE HEAD.
On packaging for a Rowenta iron:
DO NOT IRON CLOTHES ON BODY.
On a British Boot’s “Children’s” Cough Medicine:
DO NOT DRIVE CAR OR OPERATE MACHINERY.
On a British Nytol Sleep Aid Tablets label:
WARNING: MAY CAUSE DROWSINESS.
On British Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:
PRODUCT WILL BE HOT AFTER HEATING.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.