Our toasted has died on one side. The other side still works, but obviously we need a new toaster. I have bought a lot of toasters through the years. I have bought expensive one, cheapies, and many in the middle. Every toaster (except the most expensive one — a Braun from Germany which only lasted 9 months) functioned properly for anywhere between 18 months and two years. The most recent one bought Amazon for $45 has lasted 9 days short of two years. Right on target.

Garry asked me: “Aren’t there any toasters that last longer? Didn’t toasters used to last longer?” I thought about that for a while, but I think toasters never lasted longer. We just tolerated burned toast, dark stripy toast, or breat on which one side toasted but the other side didn’t. We shrugged and turned the toast around. So what if it was only hot on one side. No big deal.

Sometimes, instead of just dying, toasting took longer and longer until you could finish your coffee or tea, even your entire breakfast before the toast popped.

Mostly, we didn’t expect much from our appliances back then.

In a world gone a little big mad, worrying about the quality of toasters seems trivial, even silly, but probably no sillier than most of the things we worry about. After serious consideration (totaling about two hours), I’ve decided to buy a cheap toaster. I’m sure it will last between one and two years, like the Cuisinart which lasted just under 18 months, the Braun which was a total washout at a mere 9 months. The Procter Silex made it to a full 25 months. The record breaker was an oddly-designed Panasonic which went a full five years. I’d have bought another one except (of course) they stopped making them.

This time, I’m going for cheap. All toasters die young, so why spend the extra money?

Appliances did not last longer in “the good old days.” We merely had few expectations of quality from them. We didn’t have great expectations of any small appliances. Did other things last longer? Yes, but they didn’t necessarily do a good job. They didn’t die, but they weren’t great either.

Refrigerators gulped down electricity. We didn’t care because electricity was cheap. Old Caloric gas stoves were great and for all I know, still are, but I haven’t lived any place where gas was available in more than 20 years. Recently, with a couple of towns in this state blowing up from badly managed and poorly maintained gas lines? I think I’ll cope with electricity. The whole “blowing up” thing has me a bit spooked.

Think about it. Our old televisions only got pictures if we stood in the middle of the living room with the rabbit ears in one hand and someone told us to turn “a little to the left. Now, up a little higher. Can you twist your hand to the right? A bit more? Okay. Now don’t move.”

So you stood there while the show played and you were the antenna. Would we put up with that now? Of course not. Those old TVs got such bad pictures, how long they lasted was irrelevant.

You know what used to really work well and remarkably, still does? Audio equipment. Those great 1970s speakers are better than anything they are making today. Everything else? It worked about as well as we expected. Now, we expect more. We get more — but not for long.

Categories: #Photography, Anecdote, Cooking, Home, House and home, Humor, Kitchen, Technology

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13 replies

  1. You Wrote: “You know what used to really work well and remarkably, still does? Audio equipment. Those great 1970s speakers are better than anything they are making today.”

    I HAVE TO DISAGREE. “Speakers” today, are better than they have ever been. In fact the reason old electronics seem to sound so good today is that the speakers are so much better. Now we can finally hear what the electronics, and older recordings, really sound like, and how good some of those recordings really are.

    Also, I have an old GE Toastmaster toaster that still works after 30/40 years…, not to mention my old Setchell Carlson B&W, tube, TV which still has the best B&W picture of anything I’ve seen today. I finally gave away my 13″ Sony color TV to my neighbor’s kid about 10 years ago, it refused to die after almost 20+ years in my possession, and the color was still excellent.


    • Actually I was talking about the speakers. Owen just wired us up for surround on the TV and it’s a HUGE improvement. If there are better speakers, we can’t afford them anyway and these sound great.


  2. I used to repair small appliances right “down” to computers and their peripherals. One thing was always consistent.
    One month and a day after the warranty ran out, the problems would start.

    The disposable age was born in the run up to the millennium.
    After that, it’s been downward spiral for consumers and for repair engineers.

    In the space of a year into the new millennium, 8 little repair shops I worked with went to the wall.

    What was the end result of global trading killing off the little guy?
    We totaled up the engineering knowledge lost.
    32 engineers had amassed just over 380 years of experience.

    The world wanted cheap, you got it Marilyn.
    And lost out like many more will in the years to come.


    • Well, we didn’t just do in repair shops. We also did in a lot of repairable equipment — especially true of newer cars. All this does it add to the trash heaps. We still have repair people. They may not have shops, but they do fix things.

      Computers ARE repairable until they are out of date. But our old refrigerator lasted 15 years without repairs and the range lasted 12. Our washer and dryer lasted close to 20 years and we replaced our boiler after 31 years. I don’t buy cheap equipment. I also don’t buy the most expensive stuff. I buy good quality equipment and it lasts as long until it’s outdated.

      Toasters and hair dryers die. Widgets like the Kindle and a lot of small tablets pass quickly to old gadget heaven. iPhones should last a LOT longer than they do. Televisions hit around 15 years and need replacement. In between, they mostly do their assigned tasks. But the small stuff doesn’t last and usually isn’t worth repairing, even were there shops awaiting them. I don’t think they ever lasted very long.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Built-in obsolescence is the culprit here. Either the unit itself, or the parts for repair are unavailable forcing you to buy a new one.


        • Or they’ve altered the software and EVERYTHING has integrated software now which I think is stupid and pointless and just makes things hard or impossible to repair. It isn’t that the UNIT is obsolete. It’s the software that’s obsolete..


          • Potato, Potahtoh.., makes little difference what makes an appliance obsolete, software or mechanics, you’re still stuck and can’t use it


            • True. But WHY do they add all that unnecessary software to what ought to be simple appliances? I don’t understand why they do it at all. Do you really need software in your toilet? I’m not kidding. New toilets have software that tells you about your shit. Does ANYONE need that information?


  3. Hi Marilyn, you are right that the old appliances just didn’t work properly. I remember bunny ears from when I was a kid and we only had TV for 2 hours in the evening. As you say, modern appliances work better but only last for a certain period, generally about 2 years.


    • I remember being part of the antenna and standing in some strange position to keep the picture coming in. When cable arrived, EVERYONE was thrilled to finally have television with clear pictures.

      Most small appliances last around two years. A few months less or more, but that’s pretty much it. On the other hand, at least we get decent service while they last.

      Liked by 1 person

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