Tag Archives: red tape

The 2013 Great American Toast-Off

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these posts:

You: “Oh, my God! You are LITERALLY still writing about freakin’ toast?!!?”

Me: Dammit, (whatever your name is)! This is SCIENCE!”


Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the main event of the night … the 2013 Great American Toast-Off.

ON THE LEFT … weighing in at 3.1 pounds, hailing from the Hamilton Beach Warranty/Recall Center in Olive Branch, Mississippi … please welcome the NEWCOMERRRRRRRR!

ON THE RIGHT …  weighing in at 3.4 pounds, hailing from the shelf of a dirty Kmart in Metairie, Louisiana and leaving a trail of burned pastry in his infamous wake … please welcome the FIRRRRRRRE STARTERRRRRRR!

Okay, gentlemen, we want a clean fight. You’ll each be given 5 slices of bread upon which you’ll be expected to perform your duties using each of your five settings. Your performance will be timed and photographed on each of these settings. You cannot hit below the belt, hold, trip, kick, headbutt, wrestle, bite, spit on, or push your opponent. Remember to protect yourself at all times. Okay, touch gloves and come out at the bell!

 (Sound of Bell)



  1. 1:01 (Top left)
  2. 1:15 (Top right)
  3. 1:41 (Bottom left)
  4. 2:07 (Bottom right)
  5. 2:27 (Below) – The only one I would designate as “burned.” I still ate it. Out of spite.


THE FIRE STARTER —————20131209-132045.jpg

  1. 0:47 (Top left – Fine. This time. Just remember, the ONE thing he’s consistent about is his inconsistency.)
  2. 2:20 (Top right – Half burned.)
  3. 1:41 (Bottom left – I have no explanation for why he held back here. He’s shifty like that.)
  4. 2:29 (Bottom right – Burned.)
  5. 5:33 (Below – Charred to the point that his dental records would be unrecognizable. If toast had teeth.)


I should add that, BECAUSE I WAS FORCED TO HOLD THE SMOKING TOASTER OUT OF OF THE WINDOW for setting #4, I opted to test setting number #5 outdoors … using an external, grounded, weatherproof outlet on my back deck.

20131209-163700.jpgIt was a wise decision.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner! (sounds of more dinging bells and a raucous audience)

And now I must go. I have a murder to premeditate.

(Trust me. This makes A LOT more sense if you’ve been following along since the beginning.)

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles.


The Toastman Cometh!

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these postst:



And it comes with TWO important responsibilities!!

1. Test the snot out of Toaster #2.


Okay. (deep breaths) I’m going to need some bread, bagels, waffles, Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts, a sharp knife, a couple of blindfolds, a small kitchen garbage bag and a shovel. And possibly a priest or a therapist after I’m done. Ooh, and a Diet Coke.

You guys feel ready? Let’s do this.

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles.


Letter #4 to Hamilton Beach (How am *I* the outlaw here?)

Dear “Betty,”

What can I say? You guys have been very flexible about which I am most appreciative. I hope that you’re right about the “it may arrive sooner” part you mentioned because we’re now only able to use our toaster when the dial is set to 1. If possible, it seems to be getting even hotter. Consequently, we’ve been eating mostly hot and cold cereals and other breakfast foods that don’t rely on a toaster around here. But, frankly, we miss bagels! And Pop-Tarts! And I just found some pumpkin spice waffles my kids are dying to try!

Concerning the cord amputation, are you sure you don’t want to examine the machine in its entirety to determine exactly what went wrong? Yes. I know you can’t dissect every lemon. But it’s a valid suggestion, don’t you think? If, however, you still want me to proceed with the original plan so you can see a picture of my dead toaster, I’ll enlist my husband’s assistance. He used to work with animals so things like death and guts are no strangers to him. I’m sure he can help me with this difficult task. We’ll get you your (sniff) gruesome photo as soon as the new toaster arrives.

Thanks again for working with me. And feel free to crack a smile. I’ll bet you have a lovely one. 🙂

Michele Robert Poche

P.S. I’d love a UPS tracking number if that’s not too much trouble.

I Googled “Dead Toaster” in an attempt to find a comical image to accompany this post.

Interestingly enough, when I scrolled down through the images a bit, I actually found a picture of ME holding a butcher knife to a toaster. My image was number 70 on the list. Seventy! Seriously? *I* am the seventieth deadliest person in the world to toasters??? Thanks a lot, Hamilton Beach. You’ve made me a monster in the small appliance community.

Of course, the whole thing got me to thinking … and Googling. And I discovered that, as far as toasters are concerned, I get WAY more infamous than seventieth. Thanks to Hamilton Beach.

Googling “I KILLED MY TOASTER” earned me 4th deadliest …


“MY DEAD TOASTER” inched me up to number 3 …


“I AMPUTATED MY TOASTER” brought me to 2 …


And yes, my friends … thanks to Hamilton Beach … I am now the number one image provided by Google when searching “I KILLED A DEFENSELESS TOASTER!”


P.S. For the record, images four and five here are also mine. I have no idea what image two is but, thanks to Hamilton Beach, we will now all be having nightmares tonight. (shudder)

Stay tuned, guys. That toaster’s got to be coming soon!

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles


Hamilton Beach Wrote Back (I can almost smell the toast. Almost.)

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these posts:

Dear Michele,

Thank you for contacting us.

We will be happy to advance ship the new appliance to you without the photo of the disabled unit.

Please allow 7-10 business days for the new toaster to arrive, however, it may arrive sooner. We will be happy to send the UPS tracking number for your new appliance once it is available.

Once you receive your new appliance, please unplug your defective appliance, cut off the plug, and send a picture of the disabled unit to photo@hamiltonbeach.com.  Please be sure to include your consumer number (1504480) in the subject line as well as your name and address in the body of the email.

Thank you again for contacting Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.

Consumer Affairs

I’m just spitballing there, but here’s what I think happened at Hamilton Beach HQ …

(Southern Pines, NC, Board Room)

G.H. Trepp, Hamilton Beach Brands CEO, rubbed his temples. He was offered two aspirin and a glass of water by a lackey who entered the room. Refusing the water, he grabbed the aspirin and swallowed them dry, chasing them with a handful of chewable antacids.

“Now let me get this straight,” he said to the two women at the table. “She told you she didn’t have a receipt so you asked her for the model number. A model number that determined that the product warranty was expired. Why didn’t it end there?”

“She was very persistent, sir,” said Betty, the first woman. “She explained that she just bought the toaster on October 25, 2013 and that the warranty should’ve lasted longer than three weeks. And then she started talking about the Brady Bunch … and finding an earring in her burrito … and, well, I wasn’t sure what to do.”

“So what did you do, Betty?” asked Trepp, removing his glasses and sitting back in his chair.

“Well,” Betty began nervously, “I looped Veronica in on the claim. She’s used to dealing with claimants like this nut job in New Orleans.”

“Now, Betty. We don’t call them nut jobs. The New Orleans woman is a valued customer just like everyone —“

“Excuse me, Mr. Trepp,” interrupted Veronica, the second woman. “Betty is absolutely right. This woman is crazy.”


“Oh?” said Trepp, taking in Veronica’s face carefully so he could vividly remember the person who’d just cut him off so abruptly. “You have something to add, Veronica?”

“Yes, sir. I have to support Betty on this one. The woman from New Orleans … Mrs. Poche … she does seem a little crazy. I mean, well, her emails certainly seem crazy.”

“Can you please elaborate on these ‘crazy’ emails, Veronica?” he patronized, using his fingers to indicate quotation marks in the air.

“Well … yes, sir,” Veronica answered, a little rattled. “You see,” she began, “I offered to send Mrs. Poche a new toaster. And I even offered to pay the shipping on it.”

“You offered to pay the shipping??” injected Trepp. “That’s insane! You offered to pay the shipping on a toaster for which the customer has no receipt AND the product warranty was expired?”

Veronica was red-faced. “Y-y-yes sir, I did,” she stammered. “But —“

“And THEN what happened, Veronica? I am just DYING to hear what happened next.” Trepp went back to rubbing his temples.

“And then, sir, I followed standard protocol.” Veronica’s body relaxed a little, relieved that she remembered to follow company policy. “I asked Mrs. Poche to cut off the cord for the toaster and email us a picture of the disabled machine.” She started to get nervous again.

“And???” Trepp shot out.

“AND SHE REFUSED TO DO IT!” Veronica screamed, now full on crying.  “She kept talking about amputations and euthanasia and … and … she accused us of being a bunch of Mafia overlords!!” Betty jumped to her feet to console her friend.

The two women stared desperately into Trepp’s eyes. They needed answers. And they needed them now. “What do you want us to do now, sir?” Betty finally managed.

Trepp walked over the refreshment table and poured himself a tall glass of something. From across the room, the women were not able to discern the label on the bottle. He took several fast, dramatic slugs from the glass, set it down and walked back to the conference table.

With his hands folded under his chin, he looked at the two women and said, deliberately and through gritted teeth, “What do we have to do to make this problem go away … forever?”

The silence was deafening for a moment.

Then Veronica spoke up. “I think we need to send Mrs. Poche a new toaster to replace the old one with the expired warranty for which she doesn’t have a receipt. We will pay the shipping. And we’ll send it without asking her to disable the old one first.” She screwed up all of her courage and then said, “Right, sir?”

Trepp turned away to face the window. “Make it happen,” he mumbled stoically, staring blankly through the glass at something in the distance as he gestured for them to leave.

The two women jumped up to flee the room and put the plan into action when suddenly Trepp swiveled back in his chair to face them. “But ladies!” he called out, smiling shrewdly. “Please tell Mrs. Poche that we’ll still expect her to ‘amputate’ her old toaster and send us a picture, won’t you? Once she gets the new one, of course. Do make sure that part’s in there for me, please, ladies.”

The women nodded compliantly and slowly backed out of the room. Trepp swiveled back to the window laughing, almost maniacally.

Well played, Mr. Trepp. Well played.

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Chronicles


Letter #3 to Hamilton Beach (I’m a lover, not a fighter)

Just joining us for the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles? Get up to speed by first reading these posts:

Dear “Veronica,”

Thanks for writing me back to help resolve my family’s toaster issue. In light of the fact that I am without a receipt for the merchandise in question, I appreciate that you are still offering to help me obtain a new machine. I do, however, have mixed feelings about the request you made in your previous email.

“… please unplug your appliance and cut the electrical cord off where it comes out of the machine and send a picture of the disabled unit to photo@hamiltonbeach.com.”

Wait … seriously? You guys need to see my dead toaster as proof of my loyalty? That’s kind of Mafia-ish, don’t you think?



Perhaps you weren’t sent all of my previous emails where I made it clear that my machine was, indisputably, a very unpredictable fire hazard, but I never said it didn’t work. I just said that, when I use it, I have to hover over it like a sleep-deprived new parentan airborne traffic reporter … a person who loves her kitchen. Unless I want to summon my local fire department.

That said, I am asking that you please reconsider your request that I euthanize the toaster to prove that I am not committing fraud and scamming you for a new appliance. Frankly, if that were my thing, I’d like to think I’d be smart enough to hunt much bigger game in your jungles. Perhaps a rotisserie oven … or a GrillStation 5 Burner Gas Grill.

The thing is … my family relies heavily on our toaster every day. Especially for breakfast. And 7 to 14 “business days” could easily become even longer. And that’s time that I’d rather have a toaster that I could use, hover over and unplug (I always do, by the way) than have nothing at all. This error is not mine. Why should my kids go without toastables for what we both know will probably be a whole month?

Right? Of course, right.
So thanks in advance for understanding that, if it’s all the same, I’m not going to amputate my toaster’s cord and be without a toaster (albeit a needy, operationally unstable one) for weeks or even a month. There will be no pictures sent other than the ones in this email. I will, however, be more than happy to send you the troubled machine (at your expense) through the mail once my new one arrives so that you can perform an execution, autopsy or any other necessary forensics.
Until then, I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Michele Robert Poche
Consumer #1504480
P.S. Because you are new to this claim, I want to inform you that all of our correspondence is being shared on  my humor blog,  olddognewtits.com. Even though, as everyone knows, burnt toast is no laughing matter.

Click here to read the next installment of the Hamilton Beach Toaster Chronicles