So how’s the new toaster? Where’s the quality control?

This morning I was asked whether I had found a good toaster yet. Those of you who have followed the saga will be familiar with my search for a toaster that toasts well. Was it an ask too great for modern technology? Apparently so, because I had to return the various toasters three times before getting this one. Apart from the nuisance of having to go back to the shopping mall, there was the fundamental question of why can’t they make things that work properly?

Manufacturers used to make toasters that toasted very well. Sure they cost a lot more before the Chinese came onto the scene with their cheap appliances that either don’t work reliably or don’t last more than a couple of years. So where’s the economy in that?

The person who asked me about my latest toaster is still using the one that he received as a wedding gift from William the Conqueror. It works, has been repaired a couple of times, but does the job.

I wonder how many of the appliances we buy nowadays would last more than a couple of years. That’s if they work well in the first place.

The Chinese don’t care cause they’re selling millions of them around the world and if they have to replace them for free within twelve months, it doesn’t bother them because setting up a good system of quality control would cost them more. Actually, nowadays, the quality control is done by customers, so it’s up to the customer to complain and return the darn thing. That’s if the customer has the time to do it. The problem with that is that sometimes the customer suffers from poor control in production e.g the melamine in dairy products fiasco which led to the death of babies.

China is now one giant factory. It has cheap labour and lots of it and thrives on turnover. It has many customers all over the world. Famous electrical brands set up their factories in China and the market churns out products that will end up in the refuse dumps within a short period of time.

In 1960, Vance Packard wrote a seminal work on the disposable society called “The Waste Makers” about planned obsolescence. Well, he certainly described how things are now and they aren’t going to get any better.

if we are really serious about all the garbage we produce perhaps we should demand that factories monitor their products more strictly. Perhaps the price will go up but then products may become more reliable.

So how is the latest toaster? Well, it’s okay. Its brand name is Sunbeam Toastum. The result is not quite even all over the bread, but at least the thermostat is working for the time being. What is unsatisfactory, however, is that the bread does not rise high enough at the end of the toasting, so you have to be careful not to burn your fingers removing the toast. Ouch!

Lawson’s Bread has finally arrived!

Today, 6th October, is the day that Lawson’s Bread came to Melbourne. I can recommend it to anyone who likes real bread instead of that mush that is usually sold. Just because a loaf looks like it’s been trampled on by hippies in Birkenstock sandals does not mean it tastes good or that it is even healthy. Those sort of loaves look so bad that we mistakenly believe that something as ugly as that must be good for you. Reminds me of the time that my husband was the controller of CSR’s sugar and he revealed that all those people who believe that brown sugar is healthier are being conned. Apparently, sugar is refined into white crystals and then molasses is added to the crystals to make them look “natural” and “wholesome”.

As I have always maintained it’s all about perception. Reality doesn’t come into it.

Sarah Palin delivered

I couldn’t imagine that Governor Palin could stand up to Senator Biden in the vice-presidential debate today, but boy was I wrong!

She showed that she’s a quick learner and can take advice from experts. There were times that even Biden himself looked smitten by her. Yesterday I was convinced that the Republicans had had it but now for the time being, anyhow, it looks as if Governor Palin has delivered a coup de force to the elections once again.

She certainly is quite impressive. If the Republicans lose the election it will probably be because it’s time for a change, but then perhaps Palin and McCain will be viewed as the necessary change. Very interesting.

Vice-presidential debate.

No matter how much preparation Governor Sarah Palin receives, she will not be able to convince voters that she would make a good vice-president in the next debate. It’s not that she’s dumb because she’s not. Palin is a smart lady with loads of charm. Even women like her despite her good looks!

But she lacks political experience and knowledge of the world. The job is too demanding for a person with her limited experience. Had she been active in national and foreign politics for two decades then she would be a formidable candidate, but she simply hasn’t had enough hours of flying.

The problem is that when one elects a vice-president, one is electing a potential president in case something happens to the incumbent and one just can”t imagine the U.S being run by someone as inexperienced as Governor Palin.

So whom would I have selected? Joe Lieberman, but I can’t imagine that he would appeal to the conservative right or to African-Americans.

Handwash only!

The world of manchester, not the city in England, but what you put on your bed, is run by comedians.

I love beautiful sheets and pillow cases, adore elegant quilt covers and comfy comforters. So when we go shopping, I gravitate towards the bedding department.

My husband has absolutely no interest in sheets and doona covers, but I drag him along and ask his opinion on which pillow case goes best with what set of sheets. That’s when I wish I had a gay male friend with refined decorating tastes who could become excited about aubergine or pistachio or buttercup combinations. “What’s the difference?” is the only comment that ‘he who shall cart the shopping back to the car’ makes when I ask his opinion.

So I ignore the pagan response and make my selection. We get the heavy package home, unpack the ruddy lot and start reading the instructions. Wash separately before use. Gosh, and those creases were so perfect! Then we read further down. Do not dry clean, do not tumble dry, line dry only, do not machine wash…

What? Do not machine wash? Handwash only? That’s what it says all right. I phone the company and learn that because of the braiding or the decoration, it is better that I wash my King Size doona cover by hand. I suppose I can then pound it with a soft river rock as well.

But the instructions assure me that I am allowed to iron it on a cool setting if I so desire. Well, I didn’t so desire, nor did I wash this massive thing by hand. Wringing it out would have been fun, wouldn’t it? I was looking for the punchline in the instructions and all I got was the handwashline.

We drove back to the shopping mall yesterday to return another lousy purchase. I’m beginning to suspect that St Mastercard, the patron saint of shoppers, is toying with me.