Ten-buck toaster launches online appliance war

This is the tale of a $10 toaster, which caused a ruckus, a feud and a fuss. It had been well cared for by a woman named Coltrane, but she needed the space when it was a replaced by a bigger, better model. So she shined it up, took its picture, and posted it for sale on an online "Dollar Deals" garage sale site.

"It works great and has served me well," said Coltrane's post. "But I bought a new four-slotter that toasts bagels. Ten bucks and the old one's yours, first-come, first-served!"

One by one the responses rolled in.

"I'll check to see if my dad might want it," said Goose. "The man loves his toast."

"Attracted!" said someone else.

"Absorbed!" said another.

"I'll buy it!" said I.

"Sold to Tam!" said Coltrane.

"Toast on, Tam!" said Goose. "My dad didn't need one after all."

And that was that, or so we thought.

"Foul!" cried Attracted. "I wasn't given a fair shot."

"Unfair!" cried Absorbed. "Something smells foul."

The site administrator got involved. "Play fair! Be nice! Follow the rules!" she said.

I didn't think I'd broken the rules. First-come, first-served equals you snooze, you lose. But Attracted and Absorbed held their ground, so I relinquished my tender toaster purchase.

"I'll back out of the sale if it's that big a deal," I said. "But we might be taking things a bit too seriously."

I should mention that Goose is a friend of mine, and a crafty one at that. She jumped in her car, laid a patch of rubber on the way to Coltrane's house, and secretly claimed the toaster for me.

"SOLD!" posted Coltrane. "The toaster has found a new home." Wailing and gnashing of teeth could be heard throughout the land.

The toaster was waiting on my doorstep when I came home from work, with a note that said, "Toast to you, Tam!" I laughed and danced, plugged it in and watched it work. Toast never tasted so good.

The whole shebang gave me a big snort-laugh about appliance deals gone horribly wrong. That night I dreamt of a woman named Coltrane wearing a football helmet and night vision goggles. She ran through backyards with a toaster tucked under her arm, jumping hedges and dodging dogs to deliver a secret knock upon my patio door: "RAP-rap-RAP-RAP!"

I cracked open the sliding glass panel, glancing to my left and right. You can't be too cautious when it comes to midnight toaster deals.

"What's the code?" Coltrane asked in the darkness.

"The bagel toasts at midnight," I replied. I handed her a 10 spot, and a jar of organic strawberry jam as a tip.

We fist-pump a silent goodbye, and I heard her say, "Another day, another toaster," as she disappeared into the night — Coltrane the Toaster Ninja.

I'm a little more cautious about online garage sale sites; careful to be super nice and peacekeeping. I understand online brawls can get you banned, and nobody wants that. There have been plenty of times when I could have cried, "Foul!" and "No Fair!" but it wasn't worth the angst. It's just stuff after all, and I really don't need to add to the impressive stash I already have.

And so ends the tale of the $10 toaster.

Tamera Schlueter

Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.

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