I started rinsing with Listerine about a minute ago. I was about to spit it out, when I took a second look at the directions. It said to "rinse for 30 seconds. DO NOT SWALLOW." So, I'm not swallowing. But that's not really an instruction. It's a warning of what not to do. . . . So what do I do? Hurry! I have "not swallowed" for just about as long as I can and my mouth is really burning.
Gargles in South Dakota
Dear Gargles (or should I call you Burning Mouth?),
A lesser advice columnist would just tell you to spit it out. I'm not sure why the good folks at Listerine didn't give you that instruction. You're quite correct, "Do not swallow," hardly classifies as direction. But now that you find yourself in this predicament, you could turn your germ-killing quandary into a financial windfall. Johnson & Johnson is a big company with a lot of money. Their negligence could be your good fortune.
I'm no lawyer, but I think that in civil litigation, a jury of your peers might find that Johnson & Johnson informing you on the matter of expectoration is a reasonable expectation. The dentist tells you to spit. Why can't a bottle of Listerine? I'm sure the bottle tells you that failure to use the product in accordance with the directions is a violation of federal law. But seeing as though they give you no recommended course of action other than not swallowing, you could be in for some compensation. If you show up to court with the Listerine still in your mouth, that would be grand. But if you attempt to expel it through your nostrils, that could cause damage you can prove. Or if you simply fail in the not swallowing department, I'm sure that would mess you up pretty good physically (though not financially). You might even be able to find a psychologist who would conclude that the mere mention of not swallowing makes it impossible for you to think of anything but swallowing, especially given no written alternative.
But the whole process takes a long time (a lot longer than 30 seconds). Considering all your options, my final advice to you would be the following: