In which a quest to purchase a breadmaker unlocks the secret of the latest digital advances in home technology…
In my lunch-hour I dutifully trot off into town to buy my wife a bread maker for her birthday. I wouldn’t dream of buying her a kitchen appliance normally but in her own way, bless her, she’s as much of a gadget lover as I am.
So I wander into Argos to pick up the one she’s carefully chosen and, after dutifully jotting down the catalog number on the requisite slip, take it to the cashier so they can fetch it from the stock room for me.
However I’m then told that they can’t guarantee that they’ll give me the exact same brand or model of breadmaker. In fact the only thing they will guarantee is to take precisely the same amount for it. It’ll be pot luck which one I get. Err…hello?
Reeling in confusion I return to work, intending to order one from the web. Surely this will be an easier option? You’d think.
Firstly the Argos website can’t be viewed with Netscape 6 or other browsers with the same rendering engine. I chuckle to myself at their cluelessness and idly consider shopping elsewhere just to show them whose boss. I also ignore their suggestion to ring them up and order items from the catalogue. “You’re not catching me out that way” I think.
One browser change later I find the breadmaker. However at this point I’m struck with doubt: said baking device looks the same, boasts jam making facilities, and is the exactly the expected price. BUT it doesn’t advertise the overnight timer which is the absolutely essential feature required to fulfill Debbie’s dream of tasty fresh bread. Cue Samuel L. Jackson impression — “HmmMmmm that is a tasty loaf, mind if I take a swig of your orange juice to wash it down?”.
But this is the all-powerful web. Maybe I can track down the CoolTouch Breadmaker on the Morphy Richards website, confirm the timer function, and return to order it from Argos just in time for it to arrive for her birthday.
At this point I’m greeted by a flash based website (cue sigh) and an exciting animation that teases that “You are about to see a new addition to the Morphy Richard range…” My heart starts beating rapidly, and my finger trembles against the mouse button. Could this be the next generation of kitchen gadgetry? What wonders to behold? Perhaps a breadmaker that creates bagels, muffins, or even croissants?! Oh no, it’s something much better.
A digital iron.
A digital iron that allows me to control the temperature of my iron with the touch of a button.
The merest touch of a button!
A digital iron with a 400cc water tank with no drip system. Variable steam facility with (my italics) steam shot facility and digital status display with audible(!) temperature warning. All lovingly rendered in three dimensions. See? Click the button and you can watch this beauty spin round and round all afternoon.
But wait, there’s more.
You can view the Digital Iron Presentation which will tantalise you with the additional details such as “less moving parts” (bye, bye, clockwork iron!); “easy to use and reach controls” (enhanced user experience!); “whole screen illumination” (iron in the dark!); “temperature settings default to max” (burn it all!); auto on/off function (surprise your friends!) and much more.
Racked with indecision I hesitate at this point. Do I pursue my purchase of the CoolTouch Breadmaker or do I surprise my darling wife with the latest in digital ironing technology?
But then I realise that I’m a New Man and do all my own ironing. In fact I wouldn’t let her near my trousers for fear that creases would turn up in all sorts of obscure places. So the iron would be for me and not her. Which leads me to the further revelation that this 400cc steamy monster isn’t up to spec. What I want is an iron that will allow me to iron my shirt at precisely 25.75 degrees, not some measly 3 heat settings. And I want downloadable tones and tunes for those audible warnings. And where’s the developer kit, dammit! That’s what I call digital technology. And I’m not upgrading from my analogue ironing misery until its available.
Are you listening Mr Morphy Richards? I think not!