The Strangest Laws for Consumers

You're Arresting Me for What Now?

There are lists upon lists on the Internet devoted to compiling the wackiest laws in the country, but many entries are dubious to say the least. Is it really illegal in Indiana to grow a moustache if you’re planning to kiss other human beings, as one site claims, or against the law in Maryland to play the song Short People by Randy Newman on the radio? We’ve done some digging and have verified 10 lesser known laws in the U.S. and abroad that affect consumers in one way or another. Photo Credit: mskogly


Pinball Ban (New York)

If you’re a fan of playing pinball, you might want to stay out of Beacon, N.Y. There’s a long-outdated law on the books there that bans the installation of pinball machines. As crazy as it sounds, this law was actually invoked last month to shut down an arcade museum that housed a pinball machine. Photo Credit: Silly Little Man


Young Hunters (Texas)

Kids grow up so fast, don’t they? One moment they’re eating mashed peas in their high chairs, the next they’re out hunting live game for dinner. In several states, including Alaska and Tennessee, kids are allowed to go hunting without adult supervision at the age of 10. In Texas, they can do it at 9. I wonder what their mothers think about that? Photo Credit: Junior Shooters


Bingo Time Limit (North Carolina)

Bingo can be a great way to pass the time, but in North Carolina, you’d better keep an eye on the clock. According to the state’s Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, it is illegal to play bingo for longer than five hours at a time. Additionally, a venue can’t have more than two bingo sessions over the course of two days, unless the games are taking place at a fair or other designated exhibition. Photo Credit:  Leeks


Get a Boat, or Else (Hawaii)

Most Americans hate being told what to do, and especially how to spend their money, but Hawaiians must be used to it. According to Lonely Planet’s guidebook to the state, it’s illegal for residents not to own a boat. So whether you spend your cash on a boat (and associated taxes) or on the fine for not having a boat, the house wins in the end. Photo Credit: J D Mack


Not-So-Happy Meal (California)

California’s legislators are either trendsetters or party poopers. Earlier this year, Santa Clara County passed a law prohibiting fast food restaurants from including toys with their happy meals unless the restaurant meets certain nutritional requirements. Now, other parts of the state are considering similar bans, with the goal of limiting the ability of fast food chains to market unhealthy products to children. Photo Credit: jasonippolito


Keep Your Dirty Carpet in Your Home (New York)

In New York it’s illegal to shake out your dirty carpet on the sidewalk. Too bad New York City’s streets are full of trash anyway. Photo Credit: D’Arcy Norman


The Road Kill Cafe (Ohio, New Hampshire)

If you happen to hit a deer while driving in states like New Hampshire and Ohio, you are entitled to take the remains home to eat, free of charge. Mmm, gamey! Photo Credit: wilkeshe


Watch What You Drink (Utah)

Of all the states, Utah has the strangest – and the strictest – rules about alcohol consumption, which is probably the reason why they drink the least amount of alcohol in the country. Until last year, residents had to buy a membership to each bar they wanted to drink at, which made bar hopping impossibly expensive. That law has since been changed, but the spirit of temperance remains: If you want to have a mixed drink or a glass of wine while at a bar or restaurant, you have to order food with it as well. Photo Credit: House of Sims


A Different Kind of Speeding Ticket (Finland)

In the U.S., speeding tickets are mostly determined by a simple comparison of how fast you’re going to what the speed limit is. But in Finland, authorities also factor in how much you’re worth. As a result, when the head of Nokia was busted for going 16 miles over the speed limit, he was initially fined a whopping $103,000. Yikes! Photo Credit: Ana Patricia Almeida


No Taxi for You (England)

Talk about an outdated law. In London, it’s illegal to hail a cab… if you have the plague. I suppose that makes some sense though. The plague was incredibly contagious (a few hundred years ago), and if you have it, you should probably be hailing an ambulance instead. Photo Credit: Ian Muttoo


Medical Urban Legends

Interested in finding out more cool facts to toss out at a cocktail party? Check out MainStreet's breakdown of seven medical urban legends. We offer up the most recent scientific answers to questions ranging from whether cracking your knuckles causes arthritis to fears that gum, if swallowed, may stay in your stomach for years. Photo Credit: KonRuff


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