Tuesday, December 12, 2006
So T and I were watching TV last night, and one of those "pharmaceutical" commercials came on (I can't remember exactly what they were pushing a cure for...sorry). I was kidding and said something along the lines of "Using XYZ may cause urinary bleeding, prolonged diarrhea, and erectile dysfunction". T thought that was funny, and added a few of her own. Well, lo-and-behold, at the end of the commercial, the disclaimer began; to my surprise, one of the conditions was "In a few patients, fatal events may occur". FATAL EVENTS??!?!? Um...do you mean "DEATH MAY OCCUR" or "THIS PILL CAN KILL YOU"?? T and I were sitting there joking about the obligatory overly-descriptive disclaimer, and they went and upped the ante on us. Then I started thinking: Why didn't they say "DEATH MAY OCCUR" rather than "FATAL EVENT"? Here's my theory: If we get right down the brass tacks, the reason that they worded it in this manner is to 1)maximize their profits, and 2) decrease their liability. Lessen the liability by stating that their product may cause a "fatal event"...sure, they HAVE to state this BY LAW, that makes senses...but maximize their profits? Well, my theory is that they word it in this manner because at some point, someone will read the disclaimer in it's current form, not fully comprehend the meaning, and proceed with their fatal purchase of XYZ. How could someone not know what a "fatal event" refers to? DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE IGNORANCE OF THE AVERAGE CITIZEN!!! Sure, you're sitting there reading this right now, college shingle on the wall, feeling pretty good about yourself, but if you think...REALLY think hard...I bet you can remember someone from your past (or your present!) that fits this bill (ex: not-so-bright co-worker, language-challenged neighbor, oft-drunk college buddy, etc, etc). Anyway, the wording for this commercial struck me as disingenuous and purposely veiled AT BEST. The lesson here is "Always read your labels, check your instructions, and report your 14-hour boner to your doctor, you pervert".