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A Warning for You by Jim Stovall

Here in the 21st century, we have the ability to easily communicate with almost anyone, but the number of miscommunications, misunderstandings, and mishaps are multiplying rapidly. Often we assume something is so obvious that it goes without saying. Not only do we need to say it, but we need to communicate clearly and repeatedly to avoid misunderstandings and the resulting disasters.

Following are just a few real warnings that have been put on various products. These warnings are not random or fictitious. They are put in place because someone didn’t heed the advice and suffered the consequences.

Label on a sleep aid: May cause drowsiness.

Label on a chainsaw: Do not hold wrong end of chainsaw.

Label on a jet ski: Never use lit match or open flame to check fuel level.

Label on hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping.

Label on blow torch gas bottle: Contents may catch fire.

Label on cardboard sunshade for car dashboard: Do not drive with sun shield in place.

Label on a letter opener: Safety goggles recommended.

Label on a washing machine: Do not put any person in this washer.

Label on Dremel power tool: This product is not intended for use as a dental tool.

Label on a Superman costume: This product does not enable flight or super strength.

Label on an iron: Do not iron clothes on body.

Warning on website for iPod Shuffle: Do not eat.

Label on a wheelbarrow: Not intended for highway use.

Warning on a baby stroller: Remove child before folding.

Label on a bottle of dog medication: May cause drowsiness. Use care when operating a car.

Label on a dishwasher: Do not allow children to play in dishwasher.

Label on a brass fishing hook: Harmful if swallowed.

In addition to being sad, funny, and keeping lawyers happy, warning labels like those above remind us that we need to be clear, specific, and never take anything for granted. If there’s a right way to do something, most people will gravitate in that direction. However, if there’s a wrong way to do something, there are those among us who have to learn everything the hard way. In your communications, I’m warning you that you need to warn them.

As you go through your day today, focus on what could happen, not what should happen.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at; on Twitter at; or on Facebook at

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