Do you read our disclaimers? No, of course not. People generally don't read boring stuff, even though they should.
We had an instance of that right here in the CNBC.com offices. We had a little software change for our Content Management System (the software we use to get our stories and video up on the site where you can see them). The tech folks sent out various emails warning folks that there would be cyber hiccups in the usual routine and what to do about them.
Unfortunately, a few people didn't read the emails. And who could blame them? Technical talk is pretty dry stuff. And so hiccups became convulsions in a few cases. (Now there are other things I could pound on our tech department about, but I'll lay off here).
Now, I caught a stock picker type on our air the other day recommending Clorox stock as a summer play. Why? Because, he argued, it owns the Kingsford charcoal brand and summer grilling may skew to charcoal because of rising energy costs.
Hmmmm .... really? There's a lot more to Clorox than charcoal. With gasoline rising and the economy sputtering, some of its other consumer brands could take a hit. Maybe charcoal will do great, but salad dressing will take a hit? I just don't think Clorox qualifies as a pure charcoal play.
"Hope people read the disclaimer," I found myself thinking. But of course I know they don't. Disclaimers make lawyers happy and that's about it. It makes them feel safe that if some dunderhead gambles the farm on a TV comment, they won't sue. Or at least won't win. Why we need that protection baffles me sometimes, but then the legal system does some strange things from time to time.
Unfortunately, dislcaimers don't teach people critical thinking which, more often than not, is what is really called for.
Maybe if we spruced disclaimers up, more people would read them and at least start thinking about other sides to an argument. And if we spruced up tech emails, people would read those too? Okay, I'm dreaming.
Anyway, I just wanted to stress to people to read the disclaimers from time to time.