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"Do Not Eat iPod Shuffle": 30 Dumb Warning Labels 143

jfruhlinger writes "You'd think that people would know electronic equipment isn't for eating, but apparently you'd be wrong. Find out what dumb things companies felt compelled to warn their customers not to do in this list compiled by JR Raphael. Some of the best include: Don't throw your mouse at a co-worker, do not attempt to stop with hands or genitals, and do not put lit candles on phone."
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"Do Not Eat iPod Shuffle": 30 Dumb Warning Labels

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  • Label works (Score:5, Funny)

    by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Friday June 24, 2011 @02:39PM (#36558418) Journal
    That label works. I haven't eaten a single iPod Shuffle. At least, none that I've noticed.
    • Re:Label works (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AdmiralXyz ( 1378985 ) on Friday June 24, 2011 @03:47PM (#36559276)
      The best part about that label was that it was slightly different in the UK: there, it said, "Do not chew iPod shuffle" instead

      Just goes to show you what Apple thinks about our intelligence: us dumb Americans would actually swallow the iPod, whereas the rest of the world is much smarter and would only munch on it.
      • This was a "lesson learned" from a customer's complaint of an awkward situation where he had already chewed the Shuffle to a point sufficient for ingestion, but at that moment realized that actually swallowing it is prohibited.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        Chewing on an iPod touch isn't so far-fetched. Some people have the habit of absent-mindedly putting small stuff they're carrying into their mouth.

        How many pencils have you seen with teeth marks all over them? I suppose in ancient times these folks would walk around with twig in their mouth, but you can see their modern counterparts chewing all kinds of random stuff: writing instruments, notebooks, fingernails and so on. I've seen people absent-mindedly chewing the end of their hair. Would it be so far-f

        • by rjch ( 544288 )

          Chewing on an iPod touch isn't so far-fetched. Some people have the habit of absent-mindedly putting small stuff they're carrying into their mouth.

          Never mind that, I used to work with a guy who regularly used to stick things in his ears.

      • It has got nothing to do with how smart or dumb Apple thinks people are, and has got everything to do with the legal system. Most of the US and the UK fall under Common Law where judges interpret laws and contracts to the letter. If something isn't written in the contract then it isn't there. This in contrast to Civil Law countries where judges interpret laws and contracts according to their spirit. If something isn't written in the contract then the judge can still make a decision based on what is reasonab

    • by modi123 ( 750470 )

      I was going to comment that you are looking slim and very healthy the other day, but you were busy on the phone. Kudos to the new iPod Shuffle free diet! Jumping high five!

    • When I first saw the story and your comment, I read it as iPod Souffle.

    • It was not on purpose, and it was really annoying, especially since the iPod Shuffle is a no-user-serviceable-parts design. Once it dried out and I got the switch unstuck, I found that the electronics were mostly ok, but the battery or its charging system was toast, so it only works when plugged into a USB power source. Since then I've mostly used it as a memory stick, but 1GB is becoming less useful than it used to be.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        If it's not that useful to you, try soaking it in distilled water then re-drying. That might kill it completely or it might fix it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That is a bad thing. It prevents natural selection.
      I personally don't want someone even close to me, who would eat a electronics device otherwise! Would you?

      I say: ( http://bash.org/?4753 [bash.org] )

      I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

      • I very much doubt that someone over the age of 5 stupid enough to eat an ipod is going to avoid natural selection by not heeding the warning.
      • by rjch ( 544288 )

        That is a bad thing. It prevents natural selection.
        I personally don't want someone even close to me, who would eat a electronics device otherwise! Would you?

        Never mind the iPod nibbler, I don't want to be near the guy who tries to stop a chainsaw with his genitals...

    • Yeah, but just wait for the iPod Pico. That'll be so small that you can't help but accidentally ingest it
    • I haven't eaten a single iPod Shuffle

      Have you ever peed on it? [youtube.com]

    • by kmoser ( 1469707 )
      They're silicon wafer-thin.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    hrmph- i remember those ads. They showed the shuffle next to a pack of gum. The "warning" was a joke.


  • With some of those LED tealights I've seen a warning that says you shouldn't light them with a match.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seen on materials for a Pentium processing chip: "If this product exhibits errors, the manufacturer will replace it for a $2-shipping and a $3-handling charge, for a total of $4.97."

    calculated on a P5 most likely

  • I've often marveled at the number of things which come with the warning "For External Use Only". I've seen it posted on things ranging from sunblock to various topical creams. Though I never have, I hope to see it on a box of ear plugs. That would quickly make it to the top of the list of dumb labels.

  • "If your phone rings and you discover it's in the back seat, do NOT crawl over the seat to answer it while driving."
    • We at T-Mobile would like to apologize for accidentally giving you the wrong phone. We sent you the "G2 smartass phone" instead of the "G2 smartphone".

  • Everything you buy from Harbor Freight has the same boilerplate on it:

    "Always wear ANSI approved safety goggles etc etc"

    I found the warning on an apple slicer [hfreviews.com], and all kinds of other silly things.

  • I've actually read a lot of these labels mentioned before and always laugh at how stupid every warning can be. The funniest ones to me are when the warning label is placed in such a way that you break the warning it says not to do. Such as when a product says "DO NOT TURN UPSIDE DOWN" yet the warning is on the bottom. Supreme logic at work, or poor warning placement.
  • I saw only one quote from the Dremel manual, and it's probably the least ridiculous one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2011 @02:57PM (#36558678)

    If you would like the full article and marginally funny commentary, feel free to click through to the article.

    For just the 30 labels:

    1. Seen in the manual for an SGI computer: "Do not dangle the mouse by its cable or throw the mouse at co-workers."
    2. Seen on a Terrestrial Digital outdoor antenna: "Do not attempt to install if drunk, pregnant, or both."
    3. Seen on a Samsung 3D TV disclaimer: "Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilizing the unit's 3D functionality."
    4. Seen on a computer software package: "Optional modem required."
    5. Seen on a microwave oven manual: "Do not use for drying pets."
    6. Seen on Apple's iPod Shuffle marketing materials in 2005: âoeDo not eat iPod Shuffle.â
    7. Seen on a TV manual: "Do not pour liquids into your television set."
    8. Seen on a laser pointer user manual: "Do not look into laser with remaining eye."
    9. Seen on the case for Jabra's Drive 'N' Talk car Bluetooth speakerphone: "Never operate your speakerphone while driving."
    10. Seen on the packaging for a wristwatch: "Warning! This is not underwear! Do not attempt to put in pants."
    11. Seen on a chainsaw: "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."
    12. Seen on a Nintendo GameCube instruction booklet: "Do not attempt to stick head inside deck, which may result in injury."
    13. Seen on a Sony Ericsson cell phone: "Be careful of bad language on this mobile phone, because a partnerâ(TM)s feeling is going to be bad." ("Let's keep mobile manners." - from one of the few images image of the actual labels, but strangely not quoted in the article. This is just Engrish, of course.)
    14. Seen on an electric thermometer's instruction sheet: "Do not use orally after using rectally."
    15. Seen on the instructions for a cordless phone: "Do not put lit candles on phone."
    16. Seen on a Boeing 757 plane: "Fragile. Do not drop."
    17. Seen on the Styrofoam packaging inside a stereo box: "Do not eat."
    18. Seen on materials for a Sony Vaio computer: "Warning! Disconnect telephone lines before opening!"
    19. Seen on materials for a Pentium processing chip: "If this product exhibits errors, the manufacturer will replace it for a $2-shipping and a $3-handling charge, for a total of $4.97."
    20. Seen on a TV remote control: "Not dishwasher safe."
    21. Seen on an electric rotary tool: "This product not intended for use as a dental drill or in medical applications."
    22. Seen on a CD player: "Do not use the Ultradisc2000 as a projectile in a catapult."
    23. Seen on a microscope: "Objects are smaller and less alarming than they appear."
    24. Seen on materials for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000: "Warning! This program should not be used in flight training! Death or serious injury could result!"
    25. Seen on a New Holland tractor: "Avoid death."
    26. Seen on a washing machine: "DO NOT put any person in this washer."
    27. Seen on the packaging for a Rowenta-brand iron: âoeDo not iron clothes on body.â
    28. Seen on a laser printer toner cartridge: "Do not eat toner."
    29. Seen in a product's information booklet: "Do not use if you cannot see clearly to read the information in the information booklet."
    30. Seen on a Japanese food processor: "Not to be used for the other use."

    anon - because karma be damned, too.

    • Well somebody forgot "Do not taunt happy fun ball".
    • by sfm ( 195458 )

      Okay, some of these are funny, just because they are so absurd.

      Where I have trouble is in the realization that there are far too many of the pointless labels, which are generally ignored. So people get in the habit of ignoring ALL labels, even the important ones.

      Thats when it gets dangerous.

    • by TheGreatGraySkwid ( 553871 ) on Friday June 24, 2011 @05:41PM (#36560804) Homepage

      Seen on materials for a Pentium processing chip: "If this product exhibits errors, the manufacturer will replace it for a $2-shipping and a $3-handling charge, for a total of $4.97."

      There is exactly zero chance of that being an actual warning label.

      OK, maybe .00003 chance.

    • Seen on a New Holland tractor: "Avoid death."

      Pretty sure a tractor is one of the best ways to kill death if you don't have a potion.

  • Seen on chainsaw: Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals.

    But I've got balls of steel.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday June 24, 2011 @02:58PM (#36558690) Homepage Journal

    See here. [archive.org] The page (the article only shows a bit of it in the screenshot) said "iPod shuffle: Smaller than a pack of gum and much more fun.* ". The "warning" was a joke.

    * actually, it was a [2] footnote, but Slashdot doesn't allow <sup> tags.

    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      What's really funny is that the first page for the Mac mini [archive.org] showed a bunch of them in a stack next to a PC (animated .gif that grows and shrinks) but the instructions that came with the Mini said "do not put things on top of the Mini" so they quickly took down that graphic.

    • I think at least half of the warnings were jokes. A few Engrish translation errors and the remaining were just dumb.
  • The author thinks they're the result of an overly litigious society, but a lot of these have to be firmly tongue-in-cheek. I mean, "Do not look into laser with remaining eye?" Someone threw that in as a joke, and kept on laughing after it got past editing.
    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      In the case of the iPod, the joke was part of the marketing. They compared it to a packet of gum, to impress you with how small it was. Nobody expected you to try to eat it; the fake warning was a bit of humor.

      I have no idea how many of the others are jokes, or how many of them have other stories that make them less than they might appear. I do know that the authors of the article didn't try to find out.

  • You realize that there is probably a story behind each of the warning labels. And an expensive lawsuit.

  • Ring ring ring (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mmontour ( 2208 ) <mail@mmontour.net> on Friday June 24, 2011 @03:26PM (#36559034)

    "Warning! Disconnect telephone lines before opening!"

    As someone who was once zapped when removing a PCI modem, I can understand this one. Phone lines carry a moderate DC voltage, plus a higher AC voltage when ringing. It is a good idea to disconnect those lines before handling the circuit boards they connect to. It wouldn't be lethal, but it's unpleasant and could cause you to yank your hand away suddenly (right into a pointy heat-sink or razor-sharp edge of sheet metal).

    • I think it is liek 40v so it is a decent jolt.
      • 5 VDC on the hook
        40 VDC while talking
        90 VDC while ringing

        the last 2 can kill you.

        • Talk battery is nominally -48 VDC, on hook or off. It usually measures a bit lower in practice, due to line losses and the like. It really is a battery, for POTS: Telco COs run everything off batteries, and the phones are powered from them, more-or-less directly.

          Ring voltage is AC, not DC. 90 VAC, 20 Hz.

          At least, that's what the numbers are in the US. Prolly some other countries are different, I'm guessing.

    • I was working on a phone line under a desk once when it rang. I don't know what hurt worse, the shock or my head hitting the desk. I had actually disconnected the line before I started working on it, but someone came into the office, noticed it was disconnected and plugged it back in.
      • by hawk ( 1151 )

        My Mac SE/30 hada tip broken off the tube, so it only displayed on it's huge 19" external monitor. And it had a cooling problem, so it usually had the castoff. And finally,the eject tab on the floppy had to be bent a little more every few months.

        Since the cover was off, and the display didn't work anyway, so the socket was off the back of the tube. I needed the disk out, and since the socket was off, I reached in . . . yipped in pain . . . and a second later, people were coming into my office, where I wa

    • Thank you for explaining that. That was the only one I didn't understand, so I figured it must have been part of a marketing campaign that I'd never seen.

  • EN: Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

    ES: Tu gato tiene una piruleta apestoso.

    FR: Aprenda a leer las instrucciones de shampoo en Inglés!

  • I think I'll write an article with silly warnings and write, "Seen on product X! For real! No lie!"
  • I think somebody's missed the joke. 30 times.

  • Early on when we were becoming a litigious society (mid 80's) my dad purchased a new fan belt for his car. It didn't have a warning but instruction #1 was:
    "Shut off engine before removing old belt"
    Given the time it may have been an early C.Y.A. thing or maybe someone lost a few fingers.

    Another personal favorite one I have seen a few times, most recently in the instruction manual for my Lawn Boy mower I bought last year:
    "Do not use mower to trim hedges"

  • My iron has the warning "Do not iron clothes while wearing them." then adds "No, don't laugh. I've seen it done"

    I like to think that the instruction writer who wrote these instructions fought for that addendum and insisted that if they have to treat some customers as idiots, at least assume some of them have a sense of humour.
  • Considering it had no buttons and was just a metal stick, I could see how someone might eat it. I wonder if that iPod Shuffle actually carried the warning for real. (I suspect it's small enough to actually be eaten without much difficulty.)

    And yes, I know it referred to the first iPod Shuffle.

  • My favorite warnings were on the dust jacket of 5.25" floppy disks from Beagle Bros, as seen here http://stevenf.com/beagle/diskcare.html [stevenf.com]

    Best Software Company Ever!

  • Seen on a Samsung 3D TV disclaimer: "Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilizing the unit's 3D functionality."

    It seems legitimate to me. Did anyone think this one was funny?

  • One of the warnings in the manual is "WARNING: Do not insert this device into any orifice!"

    I wish I'd been able to see the lawsuit that drove THAT warning. Though really, it would be fitting for very nearly every device that I own...

    • An ex used a waterproof shaver with the blades removed and a piece of silk folded over the end as an entertainment device. That is probably a good warning.

  • I say just let the cognitive deficient peons crash and burn without having dumb warning labels. Generations of having to actually use common sense may actually benefit future civilization by stupid people doing their civic duty and removing themselves from the gene pool. I don't know what effect this lack of ethics would have on future society, but it probably isn't much worse than what we have to look forward to within the next 100 years otherwise.
  • The article is really fucking stupid.
    Some of the "Warnings" were clearly jokes ("Be careful of bad language on this mobile phone, because a partner’s feeling is going to be bad."), others seemed silly but are something that people actually do, ALOT ("Do not use for drying pets."(Regarding microwaves)). Some were just lies or taken completely out of context, like "Seen on a Boeing 757 plane: "Fragile. Do not drop." and "Seen on a New Holland tractor: "Avoid death.""

    "Seen on a washing machine: "DO NOT

    • The microwave one is actually due to a real case. It was not uncommon to put a small animal in a draw at the cool side of a recently used big AGA oven to warm the animal up of dry it off. Some old dear tried this with a microwave, not knowing that even though it had the word "oven" associated with it it was not at all the same thing as her old aga, with predictable results. I don't know if she won or lost her case, but since them microwaves have carried that warning just in case someone else tries the same
  • The manufacturer of a popular motorscooter placed a graphic on the inside of the compartment under the seat (where riders typically store their helmets) which depicted a cat with the universal "no" symbol. Henceforth this compartment has come to be known among scooterists as "the pet carrier".

  • they are all the result of product liability claims. Somebody has actually done each one of those things and successfully sued the manufacturer. Now you know why Jay Leno never ran out of material for Jay Walking.
  • Hold stick near centre of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.

    welcome outside

    Wonko the Sane
  • What's REALLY scary, is that each one of these usually indicated that there was some litigation somewhere along the line regarding incidents such as these...

  • I have to say that this is a total epic win, for us, the smart ones. So, if I wanna eat my iPod, I should simply place it inside the fridge to keep it fresh and healthy. That just made my day!

"If you can, help others. If you can't, at least don't hurt others." -- the Dalai Lama