Friday, January 16, 2009

The high cost of modern gadgets

I think I've actually come up with an insight into why consumers have managed to get themselves into such financial trouble. Forget just taking out unrealistic mortgages, paying the high cost of college tuition or buying an expensive car. We've apparently become obsessed with gadgets. These are the little items, often advertised on TV, and intended to make our lives ridiculously easy.

The first time this notion occured to me, I was watching a commercial for some kind of pancake maker that would assure that all your pancakes were perfectly round. I believe it also flipped over for perfectly even browning. Now why anyone needs to spend money to accomplish this is beyond me. When I spoon batter onto a flat griddle pan, guess what? The pancakes are round. And when I flip them with a spatula, the other side gets brown, too. Amazing, huh?

Ditto special grills for making grilled cheese sandwiches. Paninis, of course, are trendy. Whole restaurants (even in my books) are devoted to them, but let's remember, they can be made just as efficiently on a griddle pan. Two pieces of buttered bread, cheese, ham or whatever in the middle and voila, something that tastes pretty similar to any panini I've ever had. Keep in mind, our ancestors were making grilled cheese sandwiches long before anyone invented a panini press. And if they wanted them to look a bit fancier, they put them in the waffle iron.

Then, just the other day, came the special egg cracker, which will crack your raw egg without any mess, help you to crack and peel your hard-boiled eggs AND separate eggs for cooking. Assuming it works as shown, I suppose it can cut down on a certain amount of mess. However, in tight economic times, what's wrong with cracking those eggs the old-fashioned way?

That, of course, is the real argument against all these modern conveniences: the cost, especially when there are simpler, cheaper ways to accomplish the same thing. I guarantee you, though, that some of these things are probably selling like, well, hot cakes. Plus the cost of shipping and handling, of course.

There are tons of other gadgets out there and people are obviously buying them or they wouldn't be airing expensive commercials to sell them.

Keep in mind, as you read this, that I still have dial-up internet service and have yet to make significant inroads into discovering the many talents of my cellphone. Guess I'm just an old-fashioned girl...or a cheapskate. Of course, there is this one handy little tool for dealing with grout that I do have my eye on!

Sherryl Woods

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