Oster, Oster, Broken Toaster

You can probably guess where this blog post is going to go...or where it started off.

Today's rant is about Toaster Ovens.  While I titled this post based on a cute little rhyme that stuck in my head and the fact that I currently own an Oster Toaster Oven (which it turns out is part of Jarden Consumer Solutions...can't trust any manufacturer these days), I have had too many toaster ovens over the past few years.  I purchased Hamilton Beach, Black and Decker...basically any name slapped on a toaster oven. Every single one of them has failed.  All in the same way and all after approximately the same time frame (just over the warranty period of a year but less than two years of purchase.)

What horrible thing am I doing to my toaster ovens that keeps breaking them?  Quite simply, I use my toast oven pretty much every day.  I make toast (okay, more often English Muffins) at least 5 days out of the week.  I reheat cold pizza.  (It's much better than using the microwave.)  I have always purchased toast ovens that are large enough to cook small meals so that I don't have to turn on the stove.  (The stove, which by the way, is probably 30 years old and still in decent working condition.  If ANY item has the "right" to fail in my kitchen, it should be this one.  Not that I'm ready to go out and by a new stove!)

It gets quite a bit of use, but is not abused in any way.  No matter what the brand name slapped on the front of it, I have consistently had the same problem over and over again.  (Before you ask, yes I have written to the "corporations" behind the name regarding the problem.)  First the glass door starts to stick so that it doesn't want to open.  I work it carefully (despite that fact that I just want to yank it open).  Since I am now on my third or fourth toaster oven within the past 6 or so years, I know what this means; the end is near and my wallet will soon be hurt.  Eventually, despite being extremely careful (because we have learned from multiple experiences), the door will open easier, but will not close all the way.  Not that the door will fall open, but it will not close all the way; leaving about a 1/4" gap.  So the oven still works, but items in the front don't get well cooked and items in the back will get burned.  (Case in point:  two pieces of toast, side by side.  The part closest to the door doesn't get toasted much at all, but the part towards the back gets burned if I want the "front" part to get toasted at all).  

Now I could solve this by simply standing there and holding the door closed by the handle.  But most of my mornings involve rushing around from place to place as breakfast is made and I run out the door.  Standing there for a couple of minutes just so that the toast cooks properly; well that just doesn't fit into the daily plan.  And purchasing a new toaster oven every 18 months doesn't fit into my financial plan either!  (So it's not going to put me in the poor house, but shelling out $50+ dollars for the same appliance every 2 years or so doesn't seem right to me.)

What's the answer?  Should I take the thing apart and try to fix the spring or latch that is obviously failing?  (When I say I, I'm really talking about my husband who is much handier than I am.)  Do I shut up and stand there and hold it closed when making toast and use the oven for other items?  (Heating a whole oven vs a small toaster oven does not seem to be the best answer.)  Do I swallow my pride and head back to Target (or Kmart or Lowes...I've hit many different stores when it comes to toaster ovens over the years) to plunk down another $50+ for a toaster oven knowing that I'll be back in 16-24 months?

All this angst over a toaster...if only SOMEONE made/sold one that lasted for 5-10 years I'd be jumping for joy.


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