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Friday, August 01, 2008

Things I Read While Camping

Besides the books I took camping with me last week, I found some interesting reading on the bottom of the air mattresses my daughter and I used in our tent. This is a good example of what the litigiousness of our world has brought us to.

I like that, besides the multiple other languages the manufacturer finds it necessary to print warnings in, they have three separate English-language warnings: one for Australia, one for US, and one for Great Britain. Apparently our three countries must have differing propensities for stupidity in how not to use an air mattress. Australia's is the simplest: WARNING: USE ONLY UNDER COMPETENT SUPERVISION. But Australians must have poorer vision, since their warning has to be in larger print. Great Britain starts with the same warning, but adds "KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE". Uh, OK, wouldn't that apply to almost anything that you don't intend to burn? For the US warning, they take out the competent supervision part, probably because our country hasn't yet been responsible enough to enact an air mattress management certification program. They make up for our lack of a domestic air mattress supervisory corps by giving us more warnings: "NOT A LIFE SAVING DEVICE", "DO NOT LEAVE CHILD UNATTENDED WHILE DEVICE IS IN USE", "NEVER ALLOW DIVING INTO THIS PRODUCT" (I'd like to know who tried that), "DO NOT LEAVE IN OR NEAR THE WATER WHEN NOT IN USE" (what does that have to do with safety?), and, finally, the moral: "FOLLOW THESE RULES TO AVOID DROWNING, PARALYSIS, OR OTHER SERIOUS INJURY". I'm so glad I live in America, where we get more helpfully explicit warnings like this. I wonder if the British and Australians only read their sentences, or if they also read the US warning section so that they can benefit from our further wisdom? I hope they do.

My daughter's air mattress was a little newer, just purchased last week, and I found they'd changed the language slightly. They removed the part about keeping away from fire. But the British have apparently had some more air mattress lawsuits in the last couple years, because now they've added "THERE ARE RISKS USING THIS PRODUCT AS A WATERCRAFT. PAY ATTENTION TO WINDS AND CURRENTS." (I found no marine charts, anemometer, or sextant in the package) "NO PROTECTION AGAINST DROWNING! SWIMMERS ONLY!"

Geez, I'm glad I only use these for sleeping on in the tent. I don't think I can handle such complex rules for water (but not fire) usage. I must be getting dumber these days, as I was also unable to understand the alerts on this gas pump where I filled up before returning home today:

1 comment:

Lee Shelton said...

What, no warning about the risk of suffocation if you happen to deflate it and duct-tape it around your head? I smell a lawsuit...

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