Yesterday I brought an electric toaster.

OK – it is slightly more interesting than that, as I used to sell toasters about a decade ago. In those days, we had two types, 2-slice and 4-slice and that was it. Then the “amazing” Thick ‘n Thin toaster was launched which shook the market up quite a bit.

Oddly, despite selling them for several years, I’ve never actually owned an electric toaster.

Yesterday I popped into Waitrose and was actually slightly bewildered by the range of toasters on display from the humble and simple(ish) 2-slicer to contraptions that wouldn’t look out of place in a science laboratory.

Anyhow, a purchase of a simple toaster occurred and when I got home, I was reminded of a story from the days when I used to sell these devices.

Back in those days, there was a weekly trade magazine for electrical goods retailers, and in the back was a diary of an independent retailer. Never quite sure how much of the diary was entirely honest, I always recall the following story, which I will try to recount:

A young sales lad had been dealing with an elderly couple who were purchasing their first ever electric toaster and being quite new to the product, they sought much advice that their choice was suitable and not going to let them down.

The following day though, the elderly couple were back distraught as the toaster was faulty.

The lad checked and it seemed to heat up correctly – and even went to the trouble of getting some bread from the staffroom and toasting it. The bread toasted as expected and at the end, popped up.

Ah-ha, cried the elderly couple – see it’s faulty!

It transpired that the only toasters they had seen were on TV adverts for “pop-tarts” which are shown practically leaping out of the toaster where they are caught in mid-air by the cavorting family dancing around the kitchen.

Our couple expected that all toasters behaved in the same way and were not to be corrected in their belief by a mere shop worker.

He gave them their money back.

I shall not expect my toast to leap into the air, especially as it would probably miss my outreached hands and end up on the floor.

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