More than a toaster / by Susie Lubell

How can it be that a toy toaster costs as much as a regular toaster? I mean, you search for toaster in the toy section on Amazon and you get a whole mess of toasters ranging from about $10 to (this is not a typo) $130. And then in a row of images underneath the toys are the real toasters that cost the same amount and, get this, they actually make the toast.

But you know what they don't make? Time. Whoever is pricing the toy toasters clearly understands the underlying value of a toy that will occupy two kids in 30+ minutes of cordial pretend play.

I recently bought my kids a little wooden kitchen off eBay and then pimped it out with all kinds of wooden food and a blender and a cash register and whatever else I could find on the cheap. My goal was to create a little kiddie vortex in this oddly placed corner of our hallway and it appears to have worked. The two of them are in there making cupcakes and soup and whatever else they can think of for HOURS. Literally hours. And these are little people with little attention spans. This affords me the time I need to breathe for a second after work and prepare dinner which makes me endlessly happy. And this is a day after day phenomenon.

Which brings me back to the inherent value of the play toaster which is endless happiness for me and my kids. Don't get me wrong, my kids would happily play with a real toaster. And I definitely like toast. But not as much as I like endless happiness. And that is why I am willing to pay regular price for a toaster that doesn't make toast. Because my kids can play together and no one gets electrocuted. That's worth $25 in my mind.