I’m sure that like many people I could list several things in today’s world that confuse me but to try and narrow it down to just a single issue is really difficult. An example that I come up against time and time again is the Terms & Conditions clauses on websites. Now these works of literature I am convinced are designed to baffle consumers and make lawyers richer.
As a small foray into this baffling world you will see at the end of many emails long winded disclaimers explaining what course of action you should take if you inadvertently and entirely through no fault of your own receive an email that is not intended for you. Why do you need several paragraphs to explain that you should delete it and inform the sender of their error? Why should you do anything at all, after all you didn’t press send. I used to work for a patent attorney and the disclaimer simply said if it’s not for you please let us know and delete it. It doesn’t require five hundred words to tell you what to do.
Website sign up terms and conditions are much worse, pages and pages of disclaimers about how they cannot be held responsible for anything that goes wrong and that you must not upload this or that in case it offends and how they will use your data according to the laws of various countries. On and on. How many people actually read all this stuff? Someone in a legal firm has been paid quite a lot of money to draft it, do you not feel that out of respect to them you should at least make some attempt to go through it, no nor do I. I bet you could count the number of people who read it carefully line by line on one hand, and they’ll be lawyers.
So why do they keep doing it? Well I guess the answer is that we live in a litigious society where suing has become normal practice for even the most minor thing. No one trusts anyone anymore. It’s all very confusing.