So I have this toaster oven. I bought it in 1993 or 1994. It has always been a good little toaster oven. I know exactly where to set the dial so that my toast comes out perfect. If I want to bake something small, like a sweet potato, I don’t have to heat up the big oven, which is an advantage in July in Texas. It has one small quirk, which is a lack of ding when the toast is done. It didn’t come with one. No idea why, but over the years I’ve learned to listen for the click of the lever popping back up instead.
Late in 2008, the baking aspect got a little hazy. When one small batch of frozen tater tots took something like seven and a half hours to get done, we suspected that perhaps the temperature control was going out. Since I have toast way more often than tater tots, I decided I could live with that. Then the toast lever thingy stopped staying down when you pushed it down.
I set the toaster oven in the garage, planning to put in on craigslist to see if anyone wanted it, because people from craigslist have taken all kinds of crazy stuff from my house that I have no idea why they would want. Then we went to Target to get a new toaster oven.
What we came home with was less than satisfying. We tried to get the simplest possible toaster oven they sold, and it had two dials instead of a lever, and they were really hard to turn, and you had to set both of them to make toast, and then there was a ticking sound the whole time it was toasting, and then it toasted too much or too little because the horrible little dials were as previously mentioned sticky and thus impossible to set precisely, and did I mention the time one of them didn’t bother to work its way down as it was supposed to and my blackened toast SET OFF THE SMOKE DETECTOR?
So yeah, it went back to Target. I should have left the burnt toast inside for effect. Why do I always think of these things two weeks later?
We tried getting a convection oven thingy that was on sale at Costo, but when we brought it home and unwrapped it, we realized it was the size of our car. With a kitchen smaller than a garage, this was problematic, so back it went as well.
My mother in law went to her Target and got the simplest toaster oven they had, which strangely was different from the simplest one they had at our Target, but it still had the accursed two dial system and I am just not interested. My eardrums will not survive another assault from the smoke detector. (Which also means C-Man is no longer allowed to break eggs directly on the pan if it’s already on the stove, but that’s another story.)
My mother in law then suggested I call a place in town that deals with parts and service for small appliances. Perfect! I will have the toaster fixed, and we will go on with our lives. Except that the gentleman on the other end of the phone said exactly this:
“Ma’am, no one is going to fix a toaster oven.”
Even if I am willing to pay MORE to fix my current toaster oven than I would pay to buy a new one, he was certain that my quest would prove fruitless. All he could suggest was that I put in a request to the company who made it and see if one of their authorized service centers would handle it at my expense, but he didn’t think it would do any good. I did put in a request for information online, but I am not hopeful.
So now there is no toast unless we make a LOT at one time and can justify heating up the regular oven. This is great when my sister brings her three ravenous children to visit and we must create large quantities of cheese toast quickly, but that’s only happened once in the two years we’ve lived here. C-Man has often said that my personal slogan should be “powered by toast,” so you can see how this is creating a bit of a crisis.
Before you ask, no, I do not want what we have taken to calling a “toaster toaster” to distinguish it from a toaster oven. That kind that holds the pieces of toast upright in slots, you know? Can one toast cheese on a tortilla in a toaster toaster? I think not. Also, what if I want to slice my bread thicker than the slot?
This is why I am skeptical of capitalism. I am not asking a lot from capitalism. I am not asking it to end war, remedy injustice, and level the playing field for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. I am not asking it to develop a health care system that is simultaneously fair, generous, and affordable, or to ensure that our nation’s youth all become educated, moral, and productive members of society by the time they turn 18. I’m just trying to get my consumer desires met. Isn’t that what capitalism is supposed to be FOR?
I should just dig a pit in my backyard, put a piece of bread on a stick, and start a fire. We have an unsightly deck that is falling apart on its own. I wouldn’t run out of firewood for a really, really long time.