My toaster oven broke about a month ago.
One mid-afternoon on a Saturday about a month ago, I popped a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster with the intention of making a chicken dinner sandwich for my lunch. When the “your toast is ready” indicator went off, I opened the door to find that only half the bread was toasted. That happens sometimes – someone will flip the dial to “broil” and forget to switch it back – but that was not the case here. Nope; only half the toaster is toasting anymore.
We still haven’t replaced it (due in equal parts to Mr. Chili’s desire to research and my need for the fucking thing to not TICK as it’s making toast; I am made uneasy by ticking toasters), but the broken toaster has got me thinking; is it just me, or are the things we used to think of as sturdy, dependable fixtures in our everyday lives becoming less and less so as we go forward? Is it reasonable to have to buy a new toaster every couple of years? What about coffee pots? Microwave ovens? Vacuum cleaners? I understand that the term “durable goods” applies to things like refrigerators and washing machines (both of which are going on nearly 20 years in the Chili household…shhhhh! Don’t jinx them!), but it seems to me that there are a number of other things that should last a whole lot longer than they do, but they don’t.
All of this has brought me back to my commitment to shop locally and, wherever possible, to buy handcrafted items for the holidays this year. I know that I’ll hit Amazon for a couple of DVDs for my family and friends, but my plan is for the bulk of my holiday purchases to be hand- and well made, and that the money I pay for them stays firmly within my community. I can’t get a locally-made toaster, however, so as much as I may want to stop my money from going to Chinese shops that make cheap goods (both in terms of price and quality), I am going to have to suck it up and take what I can get.
All I can say, though, is that the damned thing had better not TICK….