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

Updated on July 7, 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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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, 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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