Viva La Frivolous Lawsuit

I saw some funny warning labels recently that made me laugh. They also made me wonder about the lawsuits that surely must have prompted them.

  • on a personal watercraft: “Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level.”
  • on an iron-on T-shirt transfer: “Do not iron while wearing shirt.”
  • on a baby stroller featuring a small pouch for storage: “Do not put child in bag.”
  • on a brass fishing lure with a three-pronged hook on the end: “Harmful if swallowed.”
  • on a popular scooter for children: “This product moves when used.”
  • on a digital thermometer: “Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally.”
  • on a hair dryer: “Never use hair dryer while sleeping.”
  • on a cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard: “Do not drive with sunshield in place.”
  • on a 12-inch rack for storing compact disks: “Do not use as a ladder.”
  • on a cartridge for a laser printer: “Do not eat toner.”
  • on a 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow: “Not intended for highway use.”
  • on a can of self-defense pepper spray: “May irritate eyes.”
  • on a snowblower: “Do not use on roof.”

 It made me wonder if authors should consider attaching warning labels to their books, perhaps to replace the dedication page. I mean, better safe than sorry, right? Of course, people who read my books are all brilliant, learned individuals so this would not apply to them. Just those other readers. You know which ones.

  • Danger—Serious risk of paper cuts
  • Do not insert this book into any body cavity
  • Do not use this book while operating a moving vehicle
  • Prolonged use of this book is associated with an overabundance of entertainment
  • Do not read this book in a microwave oven
  • Caution—Safety goggles recommended
  • Words in this book are not to be cut out and rearranged to create any binding legal document
  • When properly used, contents of this book should not spontaneously combust, harm native vegetation or wildlife, create noxious odors, contribute to gangrene, exceed EPA tidal basin recommendations, or create hazardous winter driving conditions
  • This book is not intended to replace dental hygiene
  • Do not attempt to extinguish a fire with this book
  • Danger—Do not eat this book or feed it to marsupials, ruminant mammals, or bees
  • Warning—May cause sleepless nights
  • If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions, and warnings issued herein, do not read this book

Can you think of any more warnings we should give?

43 thoughts on “Viva La Frivolous Lawsuit

  1. Ha ha! Yes, there are definitely some bizarre warnings put on products. And I love the idea of using warning labels on books. I think the “Never use a lit match or open flame” warning could apply to reading paperbacks too. It’s all fun and games until your book catches on fire.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Genius! What do you think of this?
      “Warning, dropping of this book while reading it in the bath may cause contents of said book to become wet.”

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Well, you’ve already got your standard boilerplate, “This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people blahblahblah…” So next I think you should say:

    Events described in this book are unlikely to happen in your life. This book should not be used as a template for interfering with your local law enforcement in solving crimes.
    Not all irrascible-but-hot-looking neighbors will eventually fall in love with you.
    Many criminals will not return to the scene of the crime.
    Dogs may or may not talk. Your mileage may vary.
    Do not stake out the homes of strange-looking people.
    Do not go for a walk when there is a killer on the loose.
    Do not confront suspicious people in an attempt to extract confessions from them.
    Stay safe, stay home…and read [the Next Book in This Series]

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Excellent, Face! And really, that’s solid advice for people who aren’t crime fiction readers.

      I’ve actually read some really funny front matter in books, and I may start doing that in the future. See how many other crazies are out there who read all of it, like me!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Becky, what a hoot!

    Caution: the reading of this book may cause teleportation to undiscovered worlds.
    Warning: if it takes longer than a month to read this book, read faster.
    Caution: reading can be highly addictive
    Warning: you may know the author, but you are not the sexy/quirky/villainous/smart character in the book.
    Caution: reading may cause extreme bouts of hermit actions, causing family members to send out search parties.
    Warning: you can’t read just one.
    Warning: copying the actions in this book can be dangerous. Only authors do their own stunts.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. These are great, but I’m going to alter this one a bit. “Warning: you may know the author, but you are not the sexy/quirky/villainous/smart character in the book……unless you are.” Gotta keep folks guessing!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. These are hilarious, Becky–and you commenters, too! And having worked as a personal injury lawyer, I can assure you that some are (alas) not all that far-fetched. (Don’t get me started on how I believe we need to change our tort system in the US….)

    Now, where’d I leave my copy of Foul Play on Words…I mean, dental floss?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. LOL, Leslie! I worked for years in the liability claims department of a big insurance company. We passed around this kind of silliness like doughnuts in the break room. Never failed to entertain us.


  5. “This book is not intended as a flotation device.” Also, “In case of accidental ingestion (injection?), do NOT induce vomiting.” And maybe, “ Some characters in rearview mirror may be larger than they appear.” Great post, Becky!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wonderful post, Becky! These are hilarious.

    My additions are…
    “DO NOT use as a means to murder.”
    In Book 1 of the Sassy Cat mysteries, Mimi’s glad that she owns paperbacks and not, say, a hardcover of Crime & Punishment for the detective to consider as a murder weapon.

    On a more serious note, I’d say, “Be aware the books may cause the following side effects: empathy, understanding, and knowledge.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jennifer, so true. The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries movies, someone was doing copycat stuff, and Aurora said “sloppy” when the killer wanted to use the wrong edition of a dictionary to knock her out

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m laughing so hard at your warnings. And I do believe an author or two owes me for papercuts. And sleepless nights.


    1. Mark … I got a paper cut from the cover of a book once, didn’t know it, and bled all over the pages. I was so embarrassed I told the library I lost it and bought them a new one.


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