CH. 33 «Idiot-Proof»



I kind of feel bad for people. They’re not given the respect they deserve sometimes, especially when it comes to common sense. I think most people are reasonably aware of what is and isn’t beneficial to their overall existence, or at least the right and wrong of a given daily situation; we normally know our up from our down without anyone having to remind us. Someone in marketing must think we’re really dumb, though. Everywhere you see a product for sale you could surely spot a disclaimer without looking hard. It seems like everything these days is idiot-proofed.

I believe originally it began for new, unusual items that could actually cause harm if used incorrectly, like caustic cleaning supplies or small plastic children’s toys. Harmful if Swallowed and Infant Choking Hazard were insightful and very helpful warnings for the consumer at the time. From some point afterwards, most likely emerging from our recent age of cutthroat legal battles, these caution stickers have been implemented to instead protect the manufacturer from the customer. Following precedent set by a class-action suit against hamburger mogul McKroc’s, you can’t get a cup of coffee without being told the contents are very hot. You can’t find an power plug that doesn’t remind you that it’s purpose is to carry electricity, or that it wouldn’t be wise to take this in the bath with you. You can’t even call those bits of packing foam peanuts anymore.

Somewhere along the lines, probably because of everyone being incessantly instructed on incorrect use, people got even dumber. Or so it would seem with today’s disclaimers. A sleeping aid that warns you it may cause drowsiness. An in-flight pack of peanuts that reminds you it contain nuts. A superhero costume that notifies you it doesn’t award it’s user the power to fly. There’s even an iron that suggests you don’t wear the clothes while you’re pressing them.

This one just puzzles the slag out of me though. In a flowerbed beside the late night drive-thru there is a sign, a little white thing adorned with the graphic of a red line through a glass of water. The plaque informs that the water used in the sprinkler system is recycled and not suitable for human consumption. I don’t think my brain will have the power to comprehend the existence of a person who would ever consider drinking from a sprinkler, even after I eat a double cheeseburger which May Contain Meat and Dairy Products.

I actually feel really bad for anyone who needs all these little signs.

circularcrop-itlom052-chapter-idiotproof copy

PREV: CH. 32 «Sleeping on the Floor»

PREV: CH. 32 «Sleeping on the Floor»

NEXT: CH. 34 «Status Update»

NEXT: CH. 34 «Status Update»


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