Those of us who snigger over "Remove Pop-Tart® from wrapper" level of detail, need to understand that there's been a precedent set. Someone, somewhere sued Kelloggs® over that information being deliberately left out, and a house burned down because of it.
Most of us will continue to snigger, regardless of how much insight we have into the mind of an idiot. In fact, it frequently transmutes the snigger into guffaws. Really? That stupid?
The answer, I'm sorry to report, is an everlasting yeah.
Idiot proofing is often expected...and yet we all know, somewhere deep inside of us, that when we attempt to idiot proof anything, the world just creates new idiots. It's a slower race than we're experiencing with germ warfare, but not always...and in the process, we writers are caught in the crossfire.
Parameters? This is what we're working with:
- Make sure people understand how it works, but not so much that it will get the company an unpopular reputation. The Slap Chop comes to mind -- it slices and dices, sure...but it doesn't cut well through a tomato's skin. If people knew they had to skin the tomato first...well, then nobody would buy a friggin' Slap Chop.
- Keep everything a wee bit nebulous by using words that nobody can define without a glossary....which is located at the very end of the book, after the French, German, Spanish and Dutch translations. That almost guarantees we'll be safe because nobody will look anything up. Take the sleeve and insert it onto the neck and twist in a deosil manner. What?
- Put in a bunch of warnings, but not so many that it implies that we know it's hazardous. Caution: contents may be hot. Do not use in bathtub. Do not use during thunderstorms. Do not set on the edge of a door jamb before operating. Keep sharp objects from infants.
- Write short sentences.
- Provide pictures.