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The Rant: A Monday Morning View - For Those Struggling to Read the Fine Print

Updated on July 07, 2013
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Linda lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. She is losing her eyesight to Macular Degeneration.

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The Rant: A Monday Morning View is part of a series about things that bug me. This one is for all the baby boomers who get as frustrated as I do trying to read the small print on consumer products.

Not everyone is as visually impaired as I am. I realize that. But, baby boomers make up 1/5 of the entire population. We are estimated to be 7.3 million strong. Isn't that worthy of a little consideration to manufacturers and the marketing folks? As a side note, I might mention too that there are 9.1 million people in the U.S, (over the age of 40) also have macular degeneration, an eye disease that can be crippling.

Okay, so now you know, this rant is for old, blind people, like me.

I thought that by the time I got to this age, I would be shown a bit of respect. Well, to be honest, I am in most situations. Men now hold doors open for me and offer to lift heavy objects. Although I enjoy their kindness, I'm perfectly capable of doing both. Geez, I'm not in a nursing home yet.

I just need and want a little respect is in the print industry and I don't think it's asking too much to have text big enough to read with my bifocals. Good golly, I'm a great consumer. I have bought magnifying glasses for every room and one for my car and another for my purse. The sad part is that I use them all. I have to if I want to see what I'm buying or signing. Did I say eating too?

Let's talk about that for a minute because I do love good food.

Restaurants

Lately I've noticed that the print keeps getting smaller and the lighting gets lower in every restaurant I visit. Don't those people know that even my bifocals and magnifying glass aren't enough if there's no light to read by? Don't misunderstand. I'm not talking about those romantic, fine dining institutions. I'm talking about big chain restaurants like Ruby Tuesday or Cracker Barrel. I go there to eat, not to have sex. I'm not looking for ambiance at these places, I just want good food, clean dishes, and a menu I can read. So why are the lights turned down so low? Someone should tell them that if they would give us baby boomers just a little more light to read by, we might order more than soup of the day and a side salad. Surely they have some great food on the menu but we can't see the menu well enough to ask for it.

Maybe you could put a lamp on each table or print a menu in large print for us old folks. Maybe?

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Pet Safety

I might as well talk about old, blind pet lovers too. We're no different from young, seeing folks. Our pets deserve to have a healthy life too. That's why I still had this unopened, unused package of Frontline pesticide. But the image here makes my point. Come on guys, do you really think old folks can read all that fine print? Thank God most of us are smart enough to figure out how to use the stuff, or if you're like me, to figure out that it's poison and I don't want it on my dog.

The point is, if there's a safety issue or warnings about using the product, us old folks would never know it because we can't read print this small. How about packaging something we can read or stop worrying about getting sued and just tell us this crap is dangerous. Seriously, if you could just tell us what we need to know in a few words that we could understand, you wouldn't have to worry about being sued because we would be informed consumers using a harmful product.

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Food and Snacks

Since I come home from a restaurant hungry because I couldn't read the menu, I keep some snacks on hand. Thankfully, the cooking instructions are printed in a large font on the individual packets of my Orville Redenbacher's popcorn but hey, I can't read the nutrition information on the exterior packaging. Did you ever think that some of us would like to know how much fat we're getting in the buttered version or that some of us count carbs? Of course not. You know we're fools for popcorn and that we're going to eat it anyway. Well I've got a newsflash for you guys. Some of us old folks are trying to get healthier and we do care. We want to know what we're putting into our bodies and if you can't tell us in print big enough for us to read, some of us are going to just stop eating your product and eat some healthy organic almonds instead. Then where will you be?

So Orville, I know you're not the only one. Sometimes I have to use a magnifying glass to read the cooking instructions on prepared foods. That's part of the reason I've started eating more whole, fresh foods. Well, that's a bit of a stretch but the truth is, with whole foods, I don't have to worry about reading a label.

Medications

This is really important so all you manufacturers and pharmacists, listen up. Just because we're old doesn't mean we trust you. Being a baby boomer doesn't equate to "sick" either. We don't want to take medication but sometimes we have to. So, can we get a little help here?

Would it be that hard to print the instructions for taking medicine in a little bigger print? We understand that like the food industry, you're also worried about legal liability but if we die because we didn't take your product accurately, we can't sue you. Our relative might but I can promise you that if I take too much Aleve and die, I'm not going to sue you. So could you just tell me in a few words in larger print, how many is too many? I don't mean to single you out but you're the only thing I take so I'm picking on you.

Employers

Employers, I just couldn't leave you out of this discussion. Baby boomers make great employees. They have a great work ethic, have a ton of experience and knowledge, and more importantly, they'll show up on time and stay until the work is done. All they want is a chance since many of them have lost their jobs due to the economy. Do me a favor, would you?

When a baby boomer comes to you asking for a job, don't hand them an application and stick them in a back room with low light. I promise you they can fill out the form but if they can't see it well, they'll write outside the boxes or miss filling out something important. And you'll take a glance at the application and think they are stupid. Well hey, they aren't stupid, they are just old and blind. Treat them right and you'll be making a great investment.

It's over

As much I hate to do it, I've got to stop ranting. The Rant: A Monday Morning View is fueled by real life problems and since I live in a real life world, I've got to get some real work done today. I just wanted other baby boomers to know, I've got your back and I hope you've got mine. We've got to stick together if we're going to take over this 20/20 vision world.

© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.

Read more of my hubs here.

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  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I would have laughed harder at this rant except that a great deal of it hit home. I simply cannot read the fine print on a medicine bottle. I don't care how I hold it, near or far, up close, at an angle, it makes no difference. I am lucky to be alive considering I have no idea what the recommended dosage is on anything these days.

    Now you have me ranting! LOL Back to writing and making this world a better place. :) Great job Linda!

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    What bothers me the most is white print on backgrounds. If the print is black no problem. My glasses work well in restaurants...however, I know what you mean by the print so small there isn't a font number for it. I like your rant and it is well taken. Even worse are business people with their email and phone number so small you cannot read it. Voted UP and Sharing is important.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Bill! I wrote it for you too. lol

    I love it when you start ranting with me. Takes away the loneliness. :-)

    As sad and infuriating as it is, I'm glad you got a chuckle out of it. It's so much better than crying. So, have I missed your new hub today or is it coming?

    Enjoy the day pal!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    lol Carol, started to a segment on the text color but thought I had ranted enough. It makes such a difference. I was looking at a cosmetic product this morning. It was a dusty pale pink background with a very light beige font. I couldn't read it if my life depended on it. Argggghhhhh! Thanks for the comment and for sharing it. We've got to start standing up. lol

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    No new hub today my friend; I'm catching up on some other work and taking the day off from Hubs. :) Thanks for looking, though!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Good for you!!!!! I'm proud of you.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    There, there someone needs a warm cup of coffee,some sweets and a ear. Thank you for this.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Oh MH, I'm jut having a little fun. lol But I'll take the coffee, sweets, and caring ear. :-)

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    Outstanding and funny too. I am just beyond the boomer age, I guess, and had cataract surgery nearly two years ago on both eyes which brought my vision back to near perfect. But, those low lights in the restaurant make the menus unreadable for me too. If I have glasses along, it helps a little, but I agree they should light the place better. And the fine print on human and pet meds...agreed again!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi xstatic. I tried to infuse a bit of humor into something that is a real irritation. lol Thanks for reading and hey, congratulations on successful cataract surgery. That's great news.

  • kenyanXstian profile image

    Eword Media Unit 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

    The companies should follow the links you posted to this hub and expand their text. What are we buying anyway if we can not read the labels

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi kenyanXstian. Thanks for reading. I agree with you but it is an industry wide problem that all companies should consider. I appreciate your comment and visit.

  • Sparklea profile image

    Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

    irc7815 Hi, I voted up, useful and funny. I totally get it, I use a magnifying glass to read most labels. My husband is a riot, he ALWAYS forgets to take his reading glasses into a restaurant.

    I have about 3 extra pairs in my purse, so he looks funny with my girlie glasses, but at least he can see!

    Great hub, I felt as if you were talking directly to the reader. I am going to try to read some of your other "rants." Blessings, Sparklea :)

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Sparklea. I love your screen name. It "sparkles". ;-)

    Thanks for reading my little rant. It's nice to know I'm not the only one. I was beginning to feel like a dinosaur. lol I'm glad you enjoyed nd hope you will enjoy some of my others too. Thanks for the visit.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

    LOL, what a great topic for a Monday morning rant, even though I am ranting about it here on Wednesday - is that what day it is? I am sorry dear one, as I have been lost out in HP land for the last few days.

    Oh how I can relate to this, even with my strongest reading glasses on, I still cannot read the back of any of these bottles!!! Back when I turned forty, I told my daughter, "huh, they didn't even put any directions or whatever on the back of this bottle!" Then she said, "Uh, Mom, you are blind!" LOL

    Voted Way Up I need a good laugh tonight. So glad I came across this one finally!!!

    In His Love, Faith Reaper

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Dear Faith, I am always happy to see you but if you needed a laugh and I could provide, then I am especially happy. My vision is my only real complaint about getting older. Otherwise, I'm a happy camper about the process. Thanks for being here - always.

  • b. Malin profile image

    b. Malin 4 years ago

    I Loved reading your Monday Morning Rant,"Irc". So True, so True. I can't STAND, that Print Everywhere seems much too Small to read. I definitely need my READING glasses. I Enjoyed your Humor.

    I now look forward to Following your Hubs.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks b Malin. This was a fun write because it's so dang true. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed it.

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

    I completely agree.. it really does seem that the writing is getting smaller and smaller.... and not just for baby boomers.. I think it's hard for anyone to read. It actually does hurt my eyes sometimes and gives me a bit of a headache. I love a good rant!!!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hey Jamie. Let's blame it on the print. :-) It works for me. lol

    But seriously, I agree. It is painful sometimes having to work so hard to see. Stay tuned if you love a good rant. I try to rant every Monday about something. Thanks a lot for the visit.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, this is so true! In my new old age, I need glasses to read. I still can't read most of what is meant as information or a warning!

    As for the dim lighting in restaurants, it's probably so you can't see the crud they've left on the table.

    And meds? Even if you can read the dosage on the labels, can you read the 14 page 'call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these life threatening symptoms' novel they carelfully put into the package? Even if you could read it, the folds obliterate the 'you can die' information!

    Sheesh! What's a young soul in an old fart's body to do?

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    That's a damn good question Shauna. LOL Your comment cracked me up and you're probably right about the crud the restaurants are serving.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    So true so true! I keep a magnifying glass around the house to read those with but out in a store I am out of luck!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 3 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Jackie. Thanks for the visit. I keep a small LED flashlight and a magnifier in my purse now. It helps but boy is it frustrating. The more regulation the government implements, the smaller the print gets to accomodate them. But, that's a fight for a different day, isnt it? lol

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