Dramatic Toaster

We’ve owned a very bad toaster for years. It was slow, cheap, and it had this ambiguous dial with no labeling that you ‘adjusted’ to set how dark your bread would be toasted — but without any markings, it was basically random. You diddled the dial and hoped it wouldn’t burn it, or you hovered over the toaster watching it feebly glow, and then if you started to see smoke you’d push a cancel button. It was terrible, but serviceable.

My daughter came to visit and was shocked at how us poors live. We don’t even have a decent toaster! When we visited her a few weeks ago, she was in the process of moving to Madison, and she gave us her old toaster. It was a Cuisinart. It looked like a polished slab of steel, with an LED display to let you know the settings, and most amazingly, you pushed a button after you add bread, and a motor gracefully lowered it into the device. When it was done, it didn’t pop up, the motor raised the toast dramatically and presented it to you.

That is how, in the morning, I have Dramatic Toast with my breakfast.

Why do I tell you this story? Because this morning I saw a photo of the back end of a Tesla Cybertruck.

That’s my new toaster! Very nice.


  1. says

    The Cybertruck is a good example of Musk thinking he knows the market better than his competitors, and being wrong. Even the people who use pickup trucks as fancy sedans aren’t going to buy it. They’ll buy conventional style electric pickups because they look like pickups, and they’re sure they’ll need that box for that project they’re gonna do. And they probably will dump some dirt in it once or twice, and perhaps haul a piece of furniture at some point. That kind of stuff isn’t something easily done with Musk’s sci fi prop. Or pulling a fifth wheel trailer, which is why some people buy a pickup.

    As for toasters my dad has been less than impressed with the last 2 or 3 toasters he bought. They tend to grill one side of the bread too much, and other not so much.

  2. nomaduk says

    My mother’s old Sunbeam was a tank that lasted I don’t know how many years before it finally gave up the ghost. A lot longer than one of Musk’s trucks will last, I’m sure.

    Also a lot longer than any of the several toasters I’ve owned since then. Nobody seems to be able to make a fucking toaster that costs less than £300 these days. I have a Cuisinart 4-slice toaster, the left two slots of which have lost heating elements on one side. So we only use the right two slots these days, unless we run bread through the left two slots twice, flipping them and adjusting the temperature accordingly.

  3. says

    @nomaduk My parents also had a Sunbeam toaster that worked forever. We didn’t stop using it because it broke. We stopped using it because a mouse got into it and we didn’t notice until it was too late.

    Toaster still worked fine, though.

    They built those things like bricks.

  4. Scott Petrovits says

    Ever since Technology Connections did his video about the Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster, I’ve been coveting one. I finally found one at an estate sale and bought it immediately. I love how it gently lowers and raises the toast, using leverage generated by the thermal expansion of the heating elements. And it looks brilliant on my counter, despite being over 60 years old.

    The CyberTruck is the single best example of how little Elon Musk actually knows about anything, and was the last nail in the coffin of my desire to own any Tesla, ever. What a disaster.

  5. wzrd1 says

    And my only complaint about my Dollar Store toaster is, it’s only got two slots and alas, my counter space only allows two slots worth of toaster.

    nomaduk @ 3, there is a solution to your toaster issue. A liter or so of petrol. Mix in around another two liters of the oil of one’s choice, pour liberally over the toaster, then turn it on.
    The procedure is strongly recommended for outdoors duty, lest one be required to evacuate one’s domicile.

    As for my counter space issue, the obvious solution is to get a larger counter, one slightly larger than my apartment. Hey, it works for The Doctor… ;)
    Or just wait for the other two slices to toast up. Shit always is happy to wait about for more shingles.

  6. says

    Wow, that thing is ugly even by rear-end-of-a-truck standards.

    And yeah, old-school toasters are still the best. Today’s toasters have lots of silly elaborate functions no one really needs. Like, did anyone, or any focus group, ever actually say “we want a toaster with a motor that lowers and raises the bread for us”? I’ve always had toasters that pop up using a spring, making a noise that clearly says “your toast is ready, get up here and butter it before it gets cold!” And we liked it that way.

    Also, my current toaster is VERY hard to clean. After I’ve pulled out the crumb tray, I still have to shake it every which way to get all the crumbs out, which rarely takes less than a minute.

  7. Loree says

    @1 timgueguen With 2 million pre-orders (granted many were made when the projected price was under 50k and so likely half or more will not follow through), it seems like there is a market for this thing.

    As for utility, at 6′ the bed on this thing is as wide as and longer than the Rivian or Ford Lightning. Additionally, it has rear wheel steering at low speeds so the turning radius is tighter than any pickup on the market. The stainless steel body panels won’t rust and are much more dent and scratch resistant than typical pick up body panels. There is loads of hidden storage and many features such as 110v outlets in the bed that make it even more attractive as a work vehicle.

    I get it… the looks are polarizing and Musk is an evil rich asshole and it’s de rigueur nowadays to bash Tesla at every opportunity. I’m not a husky musky fan girl, but I also think it’s silly to make stuff up about Tesla products… especially when the release is just a couple of weeks away and real world events will either show you’re right or prove you wrong in short order.

    Personally, I’d be loathe to make a short range prediction that will make me look like an idiot if it doesn’t come true. So I am NOT going to predict the Cybertruck is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m going to wait and see how it functions in the real world over time. If you held a gun to my head, I would take a look at Tesla’s current products and tentatively suggest the Cybertruck will be a financial success for Tesla, based on the fact that Tesla is one of only two companies in the world that actually makes a profit on electric vehicles (the other is BYD) and the their Model Y is slated to be the best selling passenger vehicle in the world for 2023.

  8. says

    @1 timgueguen
    they’re sure they’ll need that box for that project they’re gonna do. And they probably will dump some dirt in it once or twice, and perhaps haul a piece of furniture at some point.

    Right. The rest of the time they’ll be “hauling air”. It’s very popular around here. I assume there is an air shortage in the suburbs.

    Regarding toasters, I have long felt that the average toaster is emblematic of modern capitalism. It is a device that will be relentlessly “cost reduced”, to the point where it will barely function, and will not last at all. It will not be worth the effort of repairing, so when it dies (in short order) it will go directly to the land fill, and then be replaced by another model, this one with slightly different chromey bits, but which will offer roughly the same lack of quality. No one’s life or health will be at stake, so the circular garbage fest will continue unabated. At the end, they can say that the market has successfully produced the lowest priced appliance for the happy consumer, in spite of the fact that it will be a piece of crap that will never quite work right, which people will swear at continually, and the environmental consequences of which will never be mentioned.

  9. Paul K says

    I don’t really care if the Cybertruk sells well or not. It’s fucking ugly, and stupid, and way overdue. And Musk’s ‘presentation’ of it was both cringeworthy and gross. All in the eye of the beholder? Fine. I behold nothing but contempt for the guy and his truk.

  10. mordred says

    My last toaster started to pop out the bread way to early after a few years. Oh well, after three rounds it was usually browned enough.

    At some point the problem turned into the opposite and I got toast that was allready glowing at the edges. Then I finally got a new toaster.

  11. JustaTech says

    In college my dorm had a pop-up toaster (as opposed to a toaster oven, which is what I’ve always had, and has its own issues). The toaster worked fine, except for the pop-up part. So if you didn’t know that the pop-up part didn’t work, and walked away while your toast toasted, well, that’s how we had a few early morning fire alarm evacuations before the toaster mysteriously got thrown away.

    @ 10 Loree: Given that the only other road vehicle I can think of with a stainless steel body is a DeLorean, there might be a reason to not choose that material for the body of a car. The gaps between panels do seem sub-optimal, but the thing that worries me is the driver visibility – I hope the cameras are really good because it just doesn’t look like you can see out of it well enough to avoid pedestrians.

  12. brucej says

    JustaTech @18 “I hope the cameras are really good because it just doesn’t look like you can see out of it well enough to avoid pedestrians.”

    Whatever makes you think the target audience for this…thing…or trucks in general cares about the lives of spit pedestrians??

    I am not a short person (5’11”), but I’ve walked past modern pickup tanks, err ‘trucks’ where the top of the hood is pretty much nose level to me. (parked at Costco, natch, gleaming and mud free, as if these 4WD behemoths had never been farther off road than the shoulder of a highway.)


  13. JustaTech says

    @ 22 brucej: I know exactly the truck you mean. I passed one in an in-city grocery store parking lot where the hood was level with the top of my head (I’m 5’6″). It was also so long it took up two parking places in an effort to not block the entire lane. The only reason I could imagine for something that large that far into the city was that it was right next to one of the hospitals, so maybe they were dropping off a patient?

    Not everyone who drives a Tesla is a schmuck (my dad has a Model 3), but I have a feeling that the CyberTruck is really for the hard-core fans at this point.

  14. sarah00 says

    Every time I see this truck I get flashbacks to the car that Homer Simpson designed. They look different but have the exact same vibe to them.

  15. microraptor says

    @10: Keep in mind that what Muskrat promises the vehicle is going to be able to do is in no way shape or form a guarantee that the vehicle will actually have that capability/feature.

  16. says

    @brucej Oh, god, the trucks! I’m 4’11” if I stand up. I’m usually seated (wheelchair). The front end of the modern pickup is an absolute nightmare straight out of Maximum Overdrive. I’m eye-to-grill with the damn things, and I KNOW the driver isn’t trained properly or paying enough attention to safely drive that monstrosity.

    Bring back the old-school pickups, please!

  17. Rich Woods says

    I haven’t got room for a toaster. I just put two pieces of bread under the grill at the same time as a couple of breakfast sausages and a teabag.

  18. Silentbob says

    It’s not a dramatic toaster unless it plays Also Sprach Zarathustra while it raises the toast. I don’t make the rules.

  19. ajbjasus says

    Dualit Classic. Hotels use em.

    Had mine 30 years, all parts still available and user serviceable.

    Looks cool too.

  20. indianajones says

    Truck looks ok to me. I mean for a truck. There is a reason that ‘looks like a truck’ is not a synonym for pretty after all. Also, trucks, definitionally are all about function right? So if it does what it does then…. On top of that electric in general is an even better vehicle power option for trucks than cars. Trucks use diesel in general because the torque, the driving power, on a diesel engine is available at lower revs than gasoline all else being equal. Gasoline better for cars because while they rev higher, they have a wider power band, again in general. But I digress. Electric is even better like that for trucks than diesel cos full torque all the way from zero revs.

    None of which is to say EM gonna get anything right about it. But the general idea of an electric truck done well seems like a clear winner to me.

  21. flex says

    Well, while you can’t see it here, there are a few reasons this won’t really work well as a truck.

    First, apparently the interior bed sides are angled, i.e. the bed narrows from the top of the side wall to the deck. So you can’t strap anything firmly against the sides. It does appear that the deck is wide enough for a sheet of plywood or drywall, but the gate won’t be able to close on it. That’s not a huge issue, there are plenty of short-bed working trucks, but the design sacrifices bed room for passenger space. There seems to be plenty of passenger space fore and aft, more than even the standard crew-cab. It would have been better to put that space into the bed.

    Second, that really doesn’t matter because from what I can find out there are no strapping points or hold-down points.

    And finally, reaching over the side of the truck to get to something in the bed is almost impossible. Everything will need to be loaded from the tailgate. Those people who already drive oversized trucks don’t do that already, but then again they probably hardly ever use their vehicles as trucks.

    So, while it may work well to haul an ATV (if you don’t mind driving with it not tied down), I can’t see contractors wanting this.

  22. says

    Count me among those who think the Tesla Truck is highly reminiscent of The Homer. Not in looks, but certainly in spirit, aesthetic appeal, function and, above all, its designer’s intelligence.

  23. says

    Current designs for both toasters and trucks are absurd. Both are too expensive and too full of unnecessary shiny gimmicks. I won’t waste your time with thousands of reasons why.

  24. robro says

    I’ve owned two trucks my life. My partner was driving one when we met, an older Toyota pickup. She used it as a reported in the White Mountains of Arizona covering forestry stories. We drove it until it died. Then we bought a Ford Ranger and drove it for 20+ years. They both came in handy many times, and I’ve thought about getting another one. Those were both light weight trucks and I wouldn’t want anything more. But, I understand some people need heavy a duty truck. Of course, not everyone who buys a monster truck needs a monster truck.

    Trucks generally serve practical uses. The Cybertruck does not seem at all practical…more of an overpriced joke. If I really needed a pickup and wanted an EV that are better, more practical choices. Still pricey but you might not mind banging up your Ford F-150 Lightening on the construction site.

    Now, if you want a no gimmicks product, you could buy the Fendi Little Kid & Kid’s Logo Print Skateboard. From Saks, it’s a mere $1,360.

  25. xohjoh2n says


    Maybe at the weekends it wears platform boots, ties glowsticks in its hair, and dances while taking more than the average amount of speed.