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.