Warnings for Idiots
The Baytown Sun
Published July 26, 2006
Dear Target Corporation,
First, you must know how much I love your company, oh, red bullseye of comfort, solace, and little red clearance tags.
Having said that, I need to let you know about something I recently discovered in your Baytown, Texas, store.
In my continuing quest for a decent night's sleep, I was wandering the aisles in search of some kind of sleep inducer the other day. In doing so, I learned something about our society.
Apparently, we are all complete idiots.
In the "Bath & Body" aisle, I happened upon a "Satin Sleep Mask" that promised to "relax and soothe." Hey, who couldn't use that? For just $3.99, to boot. I put it in my little red cart and went on my way.
Once I got home, I examined the mask a little more closely.
"Here's a sure way to get your beauty rest!" the package proclaimed. "This pillowy satin sleep mask relaxes tired eyes while blocking disturbing light during naps or meditation. Enjoy a sound sleep and sweet dreams."
Sounded good so far. I kept reading.
"FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY," the label warned.
Now, hold on a minute. What on earth do you think I'm going to do with this thing? Cram it up my nose?
I began to wonder — although I didn't really want to know — what could have possibly happened to cause this product to be labeled in such a manner.
Then I noticed another label on the package: "MADE IN CHINA."
Is that it? Do people in China think we're stupid?
"Oh, wait. This shipment is going to the U.S. You know what total morons those Americans are. Better put a warning label on those sleep masks or who knows what they'll try doing with them."
This may not be the intention of the Target Corporation, but I think these kinds of warnings only give people ideas. Seriously, it never occurred to me to use a blow dryer in my sleep or submerge it in my bathwater until the warning label told me not to. Try telling your kids not to open the freezer to lick the metal bar on the icemaker. They won't rest until they've done it.
I think people who come up with these warnings should use reverse psychology. Just once, I'd like to see this on a package of hot dog wieners: "Cook entire package in microwave for 45 minutes."
Or on a gasoline can: "Hey, isn't it about time for a cigarette?"
Or on a paintball gun: "Aim at best friend's eyeball. Fire."
For now, the sleep mask is still in its package. I can't bring myself to use it. For some reason, the image of what some poor guy -- probably a member of a college fraternity -- must have done with one of these things to warrant such a warning is not conducive to relaxation for me. Watching the news until it depresses me to sleep is much more effective.
Thank you for your time. Oh -- great shoe sale this week. You guys rock!
Deana Nall lives in Baytown with her family — for now.