I Ain’t Afraid of No Toast

'This deceitful charlatan of a device'

Okay, I know the title doesn’t exactly make sense in regards to the following, but it sounded catchy.

You know when you think a product’s so bafflingly bad that you just have to complain about it? Yes? Then you might like this. No? Then this is what happens when I get that urge…

December 2009

Dear Kenwood,

My name is Paul W. Franklin, and I would like to complain about one of your products.

Over the summer I moved into a new flat, to share with two other professional men. Like most professional men, Kenwood, I like shiny silver kitchen equipment, and so was happy to spot, amongst other things, a shiny silver Kenwood TTM404 toaster in one corner of the kitchen. However, this contentment lasted all of mere hours up until the point where I proceeded to use said toaster.

Now this isn’t a product that I myself bought, Kenwood, otherwise I would have complained a lot sooner. In fact I would have put the item back in its box and returned it whence it was purchased at the soonest convenient opportunity. But no, it is not my toaster, and so for the next few months I put up with its poor performance, until finally it has come to this. I am so irritated by your pathetic excuse for a toaster, Kenwood, that I am compelled to write to you and complain, prior to the likely event that I do two things:

  1. Buy a decent toaster in the January sales; and/or
  2. Take a baseball bat to your TTM404 toaster, whilst filming it in High Definition, and watching it afterwards in slow-motion as an act of cackle-inducing catharsis.

In case you are not aware of your product’s shortcomings, Kenwood, let me go into detail for you:

It is far, far too slow. It is slow because the elements are either not hot enough, or too far from the bread, or both. It takes so long to get bread even vaguely brown that I have to allow two more minutes for breakfast. I do not appreciate this. Furthermore, due to some design fault that I cannot pinpoint, one side of the bread comes out more done than the other. How, Kenwood, I do not know, since the elements far away as they are from the bread still seem to be equidistant from each side. Therefore, I have to pop the bread up and rotate it 180 degrees midway through ‘toasting’. That’s not very convenient, is it? What is the point in having modern 21st century technology if it is not convenient and does not perform like a 21st century device? Flipping the bread halfway through is comparable to turning a cassette tape over at the end of Side A. It’s so very 1980s, Kenwood.

Furthermore, when the toast is finally ‘done’, it is not really done. It is brown, but goes cold very quickly and does not have that satisfying toasted crunch that good toast should have. The apparatus does, however, operate slightly better if when toasting two slices of bread – the bread is dropped into the middle two slots and both sides of the toaster are engaged, thus having all four slots heating at once. The end result is quicker and somewhat more acceptable, but of course it should not be necessary for all four slots to be engaged just to toast two slices of bread. I didn’t go and change all the lightbulbs in the flat to energy-saving ones, Kenwood, only for that eco-efficiency to be undone by a juice-thirsty toaster.

Oh, and furtherfurthermore, [I am fully aware that this is not an official English word, but I am so animated by your poor item that I am forced to invent a new word so as to push home my dissatisfaction,] the slots are ridiculous shapes, being cut off on one side, so that in a cross-section they might resemble, for example, a lean-to at the side of someone’s house, or, appropriately, a loaf of bread that’s had a stroke. It is as if the designer of the product the product with your name on it, Kenwood thought that the traditional rectangle looked too boring, and decided to chop off one top corner. Perhaps, given this aerodynamic tweak, they wish to be a car designer? I remember many years ago I wanted to be a car designer too, Kenwood. I think most men probably did. Anyway, I digress. On top of this curious design flaw, the trenches aren’t deep enough either, even for not-particularly-large pieces of bread. All this adds to the laughable level of ‘toasting’ offered by the TTM404, and also adds to the cause for the bread to be rotated midway.

Frankly, Kenwood, the TTM404 is the worst toaster I have ever used.

No, more than that it is the worst product I have ever used. In my entire life.

I may as well unblock the chimney in the lounge and toast my bread over an open fire with a metal toasting fork. Just like in Victorian times. Remember those days, Kenwood? Those glorious days when Britain invented almost everything, and built things with quality and more than a dash of pride? Ah, yes, how I long for those days again. And yet I have to put up with this: this pathetic excuse for a toaster, this Fisher-Price imitation of kitchen equipment, this sham of a gadget, this deceitful charlatan of a device.

I owned a 」12 Tefal toaster in 1991 that was better. Surely toasting technology has come on significantly since then??

I am now forced to buy a new toaster, despite the unfavourable economic situation, because there is no way I can live my day-to-day life with such an incompetent tool. Even if this means reducing my alcohol consumption or eating over-processed and under-nourishing food for a month to finance this purchase. I bet you did not for one brief second envisage that one inferior item could have such a grave effect on an individual’s life?

What baffles me so much, Kenwood, is not only how such a woe-inducing machine could be conceived, but also how the finished product (I use ‘finished’ with my tongue wedged firmly in my cheek) could be allowed by your Heads of Department to be sold in the shops. At which stage of the design and manufacture process from inception, to initial sketches, to prototypes, to testing, to production line did somebody not spot the inadequacies? Which person with a clipboard put lots of ticks where there should have been crosses, and allowed this infernal demon to be born? Which division of your business does not comprehend the phrase ‘Fit for Purpose’? Who gave the green light for this contrivance to enter the public domain and, in exchange for money, to pass into the public’s homes? To sit on their kitchen work-surfaces, like faulty toys at Christmas, lurking, waiting to disappoint.

I would suggest to you, Kenwood, that whoever bears the blame for this is not worthy of doing their job. Not worthy to wear a badge with their name emblazoned beneath your very Kenwood logo. Not meritorious enough to have even a company car, let alone their own named space outside HQ. I would go as far as sticking my neck firmly out there, Kenwood, and suggesting that I a person who quit their engineering degree ten years ago could do this person’s job twice as well as they can, and for half their wages.

For me, Kenwood, Kenwood has always been a brand synonymous with reliability, trustworthiness and innovation. I recall fond memories of days spent helping my Mother bake cakes with her Kenwood Mixer the Jaguar E-Type of 20th Century kitchen products and wondering at its quality and versatility. It may even have been this contraption that, on some level, contributed to my wanting to study engineering. Now, however, I feel that all that good sentiment has been dramatically undone, forever tarnished, by this abominable creation of yours that is the TTM404 toaster.

Please feel free to restore my faith.

Yours, disappointed and disgusted,

Paul W. Franklin


About PaulWFranklin
Writer, wanderer, whatever.

One Response to I Ain’t Afraid of No Toast

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