Sue Them!

‘If you or a loved one suffered from enlarged moles after using Viagra, you may be entitled to compensation. Call now!

Europeans already have a pretty fair idea of the culture of suing in de United States. Stories of people finding dead frogs in their Walmart salad, or an elderly lady who lost her beloved poodle to the sound of a muffled explosion, following her attempt to dry the dog (on low power, for just a few minutes) after giving it a bath, to sue for compensation reach as far as our eight o’clock news in the Netherlands. Spending time in people’s homes has afforded me a chance to observe how much of this is true by watching television commercials.

Commercial Break consists of prescription drugs announcements and displays of lawyer’s services to help sue those profitable medication companies (next to car and fast food ads).

‘For itchy, watery eyes, use Floraflor. Side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, lower back pain, liver spots, excessive body odour, diarrhoea, loss of bladder control, low sperm count, heart attack, anxiety, drowsiness, tooth decay, dry heaving, and erectile dysfunction.’

This one is real:

And soon after:

So it’s true; there is a genuine habit here of suing companies for whatever imaginable. To avoid these great reimbursements, companies tend to provide consumers with every conceivable warning. Every coffee cup screams at you that the ‘content is VERY HOT’ and to ‘BEWARE!’


Solo Traveler

There’s also a curious history of fingers being found in foods. In Las Vegas (2005) a woman yelped as she found a finger in her Wendy’s chili. It was discovered she had planted it there, the finger belonging to her husband who had lost it in a working accident. They were sued for damages by the fast-food chain, which lost 2,5 million in returns that year as a result of negative exposure. In 2006 she was sentenced to nine years in prison, ultimately serving four.

Arby’s (a grilled meat restaurant chain), has suffered more than one case of fingers being detected in sandwiches. More fingers were noticed in frozen dinners, custard and hamburgers around this time. It seems 2005 was a big year for finding severed extremities in food.

Fortunately all potentially hazardous things in life -like household appliances- are provided with crucial warning labels here, to hinder litigation. Like this one I found in the laundromat the other day:


If you recall the case of the woman (always women it seems…??) who won 2,9 million dollars from McDonald’s after burning herself with hot coffee while driving… that one goes in the same category as the one of the lady with the exploded poodle (2003)- Urban Legends, often circulated by email. So there are false stories out there, but when it comes to prescription drugs, these companies often deal with prosecution for side effects. Forewarned is foretold so goes the saying, which is why you are informed of every possible after-effect before purchase.

Upon spending some time here you can’t help but start believing that danger is around every corner! Better off staying inside your house to avert any major threat. Like sunshine.

But beware: frogs are still being discovered (as recent as 2013) in Walmart salad greens, and for me that’s just one more good reason never to set foot in one of those thieving stores. Also, stay away from Disneyland, where I took this picture two days ago:



Categories: North AmericaTags: , , , , , , ,

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