Ticket stub disclaimers are quite the anomaly. Even though they often account for 50% of the surface area of the actual ticket, the vast majority of event-goers never read them. However, they contain some powerful information. Let’s focus on the fine print from a sporting event.
The most prominent section deals with rules governing ticket refunds, admission, transference, forfeiture, etc. There’s also a clause which permits the use of your identity. And there’s often a waiver of consent to be searched prior to admittance.
With regard to liability, you’ll often see the following statement: Ticket holder assumes all risks incident to the game or related events, including the risk of lost, stolen or damaged property and personal injury.
On baseball ticket stubs, they take it one step further. There’s a specific warning encompassing the danger presented by broken bats, batted balls and other objects that could be thrown into the stands. They go the extra mile with this disclaimer because it is a reasonable expectation based on historical precedent. The routine frequency of broken bats and foul balls represent a situation unique to the sport of baseball. Thus, it necessitates a higher standard of waiver liability.
In the aftermath of a high profile artificially generated stampede, or worst case scenario dominipede, I would expect to see new government mandated warnings on the back of ticket stubs. Considering the gravity of such an event, I cannot envision any scenario where this would not quickly become the law of the land. This new ticket stub disclaimer would exist across the board. My hunch tells me it would apply to all sporting and entertainment venues, even those with a capacity as limited as 1,000.
For ticket stubs:
“If you receive an emergency evacuation notice and/or a panic-inducing message on your cell phone or mobile device, it is almost certainly a hoax designed to create an artificially generated stampede. Always wait for official confirmation from the public address system.”
I could envision similar disclaimers making headway into the cellular industry when an individual purchases a cell phone or enters into a contract with a retailer or wireless carrier.
For cell phones:
“By entering into this contract for cell phone services, or using this or any cell phone, the purchaser acknowledges the risk that cell phones can be used to generate dangerous situations, such as mass panics or stampedes, through the use of intentionally false, disseminated information. The purchaser knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks, including but not limited to the risk of sustaining serious bodily injury and death, that are in any way related to such cell phone-related dangerous situations.”
I suspect at some point, this waiver might even be elevated to the status of a separate contract, similar to a HIPAA privacy form.
Can you convince the entire population to voluntarily leave their cell phones behind before entering a venue? Call me a cynic, but I just don’t see that happening. Even in the aftermath of one of the worst human tragedies, the notion of everyone voluntarily giving up the “right to bear” a cell phone does not seem realistic.
Not to play the role of a psychic, but I could foresee some future societal implications. Many people would use the excuse of a stampede in order to avoid attending major events. “I’m not going to that concert. What if there’s an artificially generated stampede? I’m not going to that game. What if there’s a dominipede?”
Since I’ve been analyzing hypotheticals for the past couple years, here’s another one. The hypothetical litigious fallout from a dominipede would be indescribable. Just who would bear the greatest burden of liability? The venues, for not providing a safe, stampede-free environment? The cell phone manufacturers, for neglecting to inform the general public that their devices could be used as weapons? The wireless carriers, for allowing the transmission of dangerous information? The people, who unknowingly exacerbated the panic? The federal government, for failing to adequately protect its citizenry?
It all sounds like one hypothetical big mess. Until it were to happen. Then it would instantly become one REAL big mess.