Here it is, my new toaster. My old toaster is now in a plastic bag at the bottom of the pantry - just in case this new one goes bung and we need the old, trusty, still-in-good-working-order toaster to come to the rescue.
Why buy a new toaster when the old one still works? Aesthetics, pure and simple. The old one was twenty years old... yes, a wedding gift, and amazingly the only toaster we were given. It performed valiantly through all these years, never missing a beat and producing a mean slice of toast or crumpet every time. It was a daggy white one with not a stylish line in its uninspiring design.
Over the years its enamel had scratched, and one of the plastic sides had broken when dropped once. Still, it kept on working. Even when it used to be plugged inside the pantry (so I could conceal its ugliness) and one of the kids accidentally let a party balloon fall into it from a higher shelf while we were toasting. Ooohhh, the smell of burning rubber! Nevertheless, it shrugged off that indignity and carried on undaunted.
But the days when we had enough room inside the pantry to house a working toaster are long gone. There was a time when I would use the toaster on the kitchen bench, then store it in the pantry afterwards. It was a squish, but at least it was out of sight. Eventually, even that small space disappeared, and the task of clearing a new space to hide the toaster always seemed to be mine for the taking. Inevitably, the ugly toaster took up its permanent position on the kitchen bench, rightfully next to the ugly white plastic kettle. When that kettle thankfully died and I replaced it with a beautiful, shiny stainless steel model, I began to dream of an equally beautiful toaster to partner it. One that would be a visual asset to the kitchen, that would hold its place on the bench without causing shame. An object of beauty as well as flawless function.
So I guess this post is an ode to that old toaster, for I do feel a tad guilty in having shoved it aside. We lead such a consumerist way of life in our rich country, and my action today was the kind of thing I regularly shake my head at. Buying a new toaster when the old one still works was a wasteful act. How superficial, what a waste of resources, to want a toaster for its looks, not performance. My parents would never have done such a thing. Every appliance in their house is allowed to die a natural death before they replace it, and that's the way it should be.
And worse, I must confess that I didn't even check where the new toaster was made before making my purchase. For all I know, it's imported, and there were probably Australian-made ones on the shelf that I overlooked. Though if that was the case, they weren't nearly pretty enough.
Now for a few apologies: Sorry, old, still-working toaster. Sorry, world environment. Sorry, Australian economy. Sorry, Mum & Dad (who taught me not to waste).
Can't wait for tomorrow morning so I can try out the gorgeous new toaster.