Sunday, September 12, 2010

pia's got a brand new toaster


And it's red. Very red. Quite quite lovely. But with reservations;

* I prefer my toaster to be of four slices and not two, but I'm sure that's just a silly notion since in case one wants another two slices it's better to get them warm and crisp.

* It's not like I didn't need a new toaster, my other one is probably over 15 years old and its even-roasting-features somewhat out of whack. Still I kinda like to chose my own kitchen utensils and gadgets...

* Things that are really cheap, where there is no obvious reason given quality and such, really gets me going in a non-positive way.

Because it's so very obvious that the person in the beginning of the manufacturing process hasn't been paid a reasonable amount of money for his/her work. I wish more people could realise that for every cheap T-shirt, every cheap furniture, every cheap gadget, there most probably is someone who has paid the price in the other end of the production line with an unfair salary or unhealthy working conditions.

And when one has paid a silly low price for something like that, in our part of the world, one really has no reasonable right to act all surprised and upset when the next working-conditions-in-the-third-world-scandal is revealed. Because that right has been revoked with the low price.

Paying a fair price on the other hand does give one a right as a consumer to make demands on both product and the way in which it has been manufactured.

M is like most people, he does not care the least bit about this (and he probably thinks that I'm naive, too much of an annoying, passionate, analyzing thinker that likes to think too much and make a fuss) and love to find bargains. I do too, but not on someone else's expense (in case they don't deserve it, but that's another story than the one about a red toaster).

Let it also be known that I by no means always live smug like I talk, write and preach, I don't alas. But I'm always aware of the issue, I do strive to be better and better at it. To not be a part of the problem but of the solution.

Anyhow, this Bosch toaster apparently was just that unreasonably cheap, some recent special offer at an electric device chain store. When I got all upset - and not as only happy with a red gift - he brought up the idea that perhaps actually the store reduced the price, made a loss on devices they weren't able to sell instead of keeping a lot of unsold (no matter how cute and convenient) red toasters in stock. Well, so okay then, that could perhaps make somewhat sense. Maybe. Thus for now I will try and be reasonably pleased with my new red toaster (but every time I look at it I will be remembered about the too cheap to be good notion, yes I will).

Conclusion; sometimes a red new toaster is so much more than just its red new toastery. It's political.


Kea said...

Well, I like your lovely new red toaster. So there. LOL.

I'm quite well aware of third-world sweat shops and cheap material goods. There *is* an issue, however, for people who are on very tight budgets, fixed incomes, etc.

In my instance, I have no savings, because any extra goes to the cats and I'm still trying to pay off big vet bills and the fence work I had done in June, to keep Nicki safely contained. I have always lived on the financial edge--growing up we had little money and as an adult I have made enough to just scrape by, with very few "toys" -- no cell phone, no car, no iPod, iPad, etc. Only basic cable service. Shopping at second hand stores for clothing and sometimes housewares, because that is all I can afford. So for me, what I can reasonably afford to pay for an item takes precedence over where it was made. That is an unfortunately reality for all too many people--and I am one of the lucky, with a decent job with benefits, knock on wood. Many are not so fortunate.

So do enjoy your toaster; I think M got a great deal on a good brand!

Pia K said...

i think that's an great comment, kea! because i too am so aware of that issue, tight budgets. i still believe that most of u can do our bit to improve the living conditions for others and this world, if we just think before we buy and get creative, there's mostly pretty decent alternatives. the real problem is the shopping frenzy that seems to flourish most everywhere. fewer items of better quality at a higher price instead of lots of bad quality cheap stuff. i think second hand shops and thrift stores are great! and exchanging stuff with friends for example, most of us do have a lot of unused/not in use anymore things lying in cupboards, storage, wardrobes... just to be a consumer that is aware and think further than to one's own needs (or wants) and hopefully act accordingly more often than not is a good good thing!

P.K said...

Buying appliances is a political thing in our household.
I do not like the idea of things like toasters, mixers and such to be manufactured by underpaid workers living in inhumane conditions. I resent that all manufacturing has gone off shore. Our vacuum cleaner (red) at least was made in England. I like your red toaster. We had to purchase a hand mixer, it is red. It was purchased from a privately owned kitchen store rather than a big box electronic store. I like red small appliances.

Åsa said...

Me like! Kloka ord.
Men visst är det så att tanke, tyckande, vetskap och handling inte alltid går hand i hand. Så som vi lever här i Sverige är det mer eller mindre omöjligt att alltid handla "rätt".
När jag läste MR skulle vi ju alla mer eller mindre bli CSR-ansvariga för kläd- och skoföretag ;-) Det finns ingen ände på orättvisor inom klädindustrin. Nyligen blev ledsamt medveten om hur billiga kläder det finns på H&M. Alltså det är ingen nyhet men jag har aldrig varit någon stor hennesfan (gillar mer Indiska men är väl mest en jeanstjej) men genom praktiken har jag blivit pinsamt medveten om hur jag verkligen inte "hänger med" och inte är tillräckligt "uppklädd" så jag känner mig tvingad att iaf snegla på en ny typ av kläder jag aldrig tidigare haft och jag styrde således stegen mot HM. Men en stickad kofta för 149, en t-shirt för 79 och ja, det är ju superbra för min plånbok men det är så att jag skäms ändå. Bara för att jag vet allt det där som de flesta inte vill se.

Nä, det är verkligen inte lätt att göra rätt alltid. Faktum är att även dyrare märkesvaror tillverkas på lika orättvisa sätt så vem är egentligen värst?

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