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Home Economics: A Lesson | Manolo for the Home

The $243.40 Toaster

A wonderful post over at Carpe Diem illustrates just how far we’ve progressed when it comes to the price of consumer goods. Of course, when I say progressed, I only mean that we can get just about any tool or accessory for the home (be it curtains, couches, or the old fashioned toaster) for much less than our grandparents would have paid. Relatively, that is. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is for the economists to decide. Being that one can buy a toaster for a mere $12, I’m just fascinated by the overall difference in price.


Observe… The cost of Sears Toaster in 1949 was $16.95, which doesn’t sound like much but adds up to a whopping 13.5 hours of work at the average hourly manufacturing wage of $1.26. Whereas the cost of a Sears toaster in 2009 is $19.99, or 1.1 hours of work at the average hourly manufacturing wage of $18.03. That explains a lot about why my grandfather will repair a toaster that’s on the fritz while my father will just toss the old one and go and buy a new one at Wal*Mart. Me? I don’t have a toaster; I just use the oven.

3 Responses to “The $243.40 Toaster”

  1. Miranda February 2, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    I wouldn’t pay for it either!!!

  2. La Petite Acadienne February 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    The goofy thing, though, is that the toasters actually LASTED then. My mother’s uncle bought her a Philips toaster as a wedding gift. This would have been in 1967, and he paid $60 for the toaster. That’s a lot of money for a toaster even now. But the toaster still works. It’s 42 years old, and it still makes perfect toast.

    So when you amortize the cost-per-use, and compare it to the $20 toaster I bought (and threw out after only a year), it wound up being one hell of a bargain.

  3. class factotum February 4, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    Amen, Acadienne. When I moved in with my husband and we purged our duplicate items, I gave away the blender my parents got as a wedding present 46 years ago. It still works.