Worn as Toast: A Simple Tale of Modern Consumerism

| October 24, 2000

Worn as Toast: A Simple Tale of Modern Consumerism, Russel Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, The Ecologist
Remember the toasters of old? You know, those old stainless steel 1940s Toastmasters. Built to last decades. Today's models, on the other hand, barely last a year before their plastic parts begin to break and their microchips go on the fritz. In a humorous article in the British magazine The Ecologist, investigative reporters Mokhiber and Weissman -- who returned five broken toasters to WilliamsSonoma in just six years -- dig deep to find out what went wrong. 'Unfortunately, we live in a more disposable society,' says a WilliamsSonoma spokeswoman. 'If you don't want to clean the crumbs out of your toaster, you can just get rid of it and buy a new one.' Toastmaster also makes a heavy duty toaster, they write, but it's built in Germany by Bosch Siemens, designed by Porsche, and sells for $225. 'The decline of the reliable, reasonably priced toaster is symbolic of what's gone wrong with modern society -- shoddy products, disposable society, planned obsolescence, high tech but no respect. Shade control in, quality out.' -- Leif Utne
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