Friday, June 18, 2010

Annals of Retail: It's Toast

I love bread. I love toast; I make some almost every day. I still enjoy making bogus grilled-cheese sandwiches using the toaster and the microwave instead of butter and a frying pan. I'm a lazy cook.

I don't love my toaster. It takes forever to even lightly toast bread, and the only reason we haven't replaced it is that all the current models take up at least twice as much counter space. We can't spare an inch in our tiny kitchen. So even though we worry that our toaster doesn't always shut off correctly and could burn down the building, we keep it around for its skinniness. We unplug it when we're done with it.

I've found that toasting bread in an unplugged toaster is only slightly less satisfactory than when I plug it in. Both methods take forever.

Even though I'm a prime candidate for a fancy toaster, I can't see spending $299.99 for The Magimix Vision Toaster (regularly $350) from Williams-Sonoma, my favorite store for the Person Who Has Everything and Still Wants More:


It's a see-through toaster. A great idea, but is it worth that much money? It won't always look that pristine; you are going to get stuck doing windows. If you look inside your toaster, you're likely to find that its insides are surprisingly grungy. (Unless you're Martha Stewart, who probably scrubs down the inside of her toaster twice a week.) Who knew that bread has tiny explosions as you're toasting it, and that the flying crumbs bake onto the innards of the toaster? 

Cleaning those glass windows will be a pain, even though they flip open like this:


Why spend all that money just to watch bread? As much as I love toast, I don't need a ringside view. With mine, I can look down into its grungy slot and easily see my bread... not toasting.

This Magimix toaster also has quartz heating elements. I'm not sure what those are, or why they are worth this price. It sounds suspiciously New Age-y.

To put the price into perspective: for another $100, you could buy a new electric range, and make entire meals instead of lousy pieces of toast. 

Or you could spend that $250 on a small TV and a DVD player. Surely someone on eBay sells a DVD of bread toasting. You could watch it to your heart's content in HD, even when you are out of bread and frozen waffles. Then you could eject the DVD and tune into something more interesting. Like watching paint dry on HG-TV.

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