No purchase necessary….details inside

Published 9:47 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

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I think the first time I stumbled across the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, it was featured on a cable TV channel.

That was 20-some years ago when the tour featured the likes of Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White, and Larry the Cable Guy. Those guys were just downright funny, each with their own style and delivery.

The tour eventually found its way to satellite radio where other equally funny comedians made their mark. There was this one comedian (I can’t recall his name) on the radio one day talking about how stupid the warning label was on a hair dryer recently purchased by his wife.

“Do not use while asleep,” he said of that label.

Well, duh, what idiot would use a hair dryer while they were asleep?

His stand-up bit reminded me of a column I penned back in January of 2005. It dealt with hilarious product warning labels, some that I will share again in this space.

Listed on the side of an electric iron – Never iron clothes on the body.

I found two warning labels glued to the handle of an upright vacuum cleaner – (1) Do not use to pick-up gasoline or flammable liquids, and, (2) Do not use to pick-up anything that is currently burning.

Found on the side of a 35mm camera – Camera only works with film inside. (NOTE: today’s warning: Camera only works with a digital storage card.)

The winner of the “I’m Glad This Information Is Listed” award goes to those little bags of peanuts handed out on an airline flight. The words printed are simple – Open Bag, Eat Nuts.

Believe it or not, but TV dinners also carry a warning label. They are twofold in nature; (1) Dinner must be heated before eating, and, (2) After heating, product will be hot.

Labels can also be used as a gimmick to purchase a product. For example, I saw this in the grocery store, printed on a bag of potato chips that was promoting a prize offer: “You may be a winner. No purchase necessary. Details inside.” Think about that….the only way for the “no purchase necessary” part of that to work is open the bag and search for the prize before heading to the checkout; or, I guess, you could steal the bag of chips.

This label was printed on the box of a 500-piece puzzle – Some assembly required.

We’ve all seen this one on a lawnmower, but it’s still funny to share – Do not attempt to remove blade while mower is running.

Listed on the side of a liquid drain-opener product – Do not reuse container to store beverages.

Beer companies are also warning consumers of their products – Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems. (I swear I read that label off a can of beer in the grocery store, not while relaxing in my recliner.)

Found on a box of matches – Contents are flammable, may catch fire.

Printed on a rain gauge – Suitable for outdoor use.

On a bottle of aspirin – Do not take if allergic to aspirin.

The warning label on a sleep aid product reads: “May cause drowsiness.”

Here’s a warning label that will save you a trip to the hospital: “Do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw.”

Located near the fuel tank of a jet ski, a warning label advises the operator to never use a lit match or open flame to check the fuel level.

To help keep your vehicle cool in the summer months, you might think about purchasing a reflective cardboard sun shade and place it on your dashboard. However, as the warning label on those shades reads: do not drive with sun shield in place. (Well, I guess you could choose to ignore that warning, but you will not be able to see what’s in front of you.)

I’ve always wondered if NCDOT knows something that I don’t know about the movements of wild animals. We’ve all seen the warning signs on the side of highways: Deer crossing next 10 miles. What happens if one crosses 11 miles after that sign? Are they issued a citation for an illegal crossing or is someone there to chase them back into the woods?

And here’s a word of advice from one of my attorney friends….do not use a vanishing fabric marked to sign a legal document.

Spotted on a washer at a Laundromat…To reduce the risk of serious injury, do not open the door when clothes are moving or there is water in the machine.

If you love pizza as much as I do, I’ve found it tastes so much better by following this warning label: Open box before eating pizza.

Saw this one on a fountain drink dispenser: Add ice for cold drink.

I’m glad I saw this label on the side of a laptop computer: Before moving your computer to another location, make sure all cables and cords are disconnected.

And, finally, this label was found attached to a motorized scooter: This product moves when used.

Not limiting myself to funny warning labels, I found this in the instruction manual of my telephone here at the office – To place or answer a call, lift the handset. To place a call, dial the desired number using the keypad on the front of the unit. To end a call, place the handset back into the cradle.

As an added piece of advice (and I’m so glad they informed me of this), the telephone operation manual said to place a call on hold, press the hold button.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207. NOTE: if you get a busy signal, he perhaps forgot to return the handset back to its proper location on the cradle.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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