There is just something about packing up all the Christmas decorations that puts me in the mood to redecorate my home, which is inconvenient because I am broke.

After spending beyond my means in November and December, January has a cruel way of scolding me for my sins, beginning with a mailbox full of bills and our tax forms.

Ugh.

Still, my need to buy some new items for the house eats away at me, and I end up at Target looking at new coffee makers and toasters. My shopping partner-in-crime, Haley, and I perused the large assortment of toasters, trying to decide which one to buy. The choices were overwhelming. Two slice or four-slice, red or chrome, reheat button or defrost?

The prices ranged from $20 to $65. I was at a loss. I finally chose the Krups brand, silver, two-slice toaster with a cute retro look for $40. 

I couldn’t wait to get home and get rid of my old toaster, which was a large, four-slice model filled with old crumbs and covered with a greasy film. It was way past its prime and taking up too much room on my kitchen counter. I wiped it down and put it in a box for Goodwill.

Time to unveil my new toaster. I opened the box and packaging. Ahh, so shiny and new. What’s this? There were two huge stickers on it advertising all the slick features it could perform.

I started to peel the corner, hoping it was one of those stickers that comes off easily, all in one smooth piece. Nope. A small corner came off revealing a stubborn glue-like substance beneath. You have got to be kidding me!

I tied to coax a little more of the label off and another small piece came off. This was going to take me hours! I started to lose it. I was yelling and having a fit. Haley came to the rescue. 

“Wait, Mom, let me do it,” she said and gave me a little push out of the way.

She slowly pried up a corner and another little piece came off.

“Oh well,” she said, deciding it wasn’t worth the effort and leaving the room.

I decided to try some Goo be Gone, a product developed to help remove stubborn stickers and the residual sticky stuff. I sprayed it all over the toaster and tried to work off the stickers. It smelled awful, and it was eating off the shiny finish, but not the sticker! My blood pressure began to rise.

“I am calling the customer hotline!” I screamed. “Why do they do this?”

I thought about taking it back to Target, but I was strangely obsessed and more determined than ever to get those blasted stickers off! It took a Mr. Clean Eraser, dishwashing liquid and most of my fingernails to finally get the job done. What an ordeal! 

Finally, the pay off. Time to plug it in. I turned the toaster upside down looking for the cord. The cord was there, but the actual plug had been cut off! For a moment I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing! Was this some newfangled cord where the plug comes separate? That would be ridiculous!

Then it occurred to me that maybe someone bought this toaster, saw all the stickers and was so irate they cut the plug off and returned it to Target! Would someone do that?

I was having my own personal nervous breakdown as I repackaged the toaster into the box making sure to include some of the sticky sticker crumbs that still remained on the counter. I was already planning my speech to the unlucky Target employee who would incur my wrath!

I planned to relate the whole frustrating toaster experience in great detail! All my hard work and chipped fingernails had been for nothing!

I couldn’t get to Target fast enough. Toaster and receipt in hand, I waited in the customer service line, practicing my tirade in my head. It was my turn. I began telling my story, pulling the toaster out of the box, sprinkling some of the sticker crumbs on the counter and, finally, flipping the toaster over to reveal the chopped-off plug.

The gal started laughing hysterically. She called a few other employees over and showed them my toaster. They too were perplexed and amused. Finally, a manager came over.

“How did you end up with the display model?” he asked me.

“Display model?”

“Yeah, the display models have stickers on them and no plug. Someone must have swapped the real one for the display model. Sorry ‘bout that.”

Mystery solved, and a lot of time wasted. I went back to the toaster section, picked out the cheapest toaster on the shelf and made sure it was in a sealed box. It looks great and makes awesome toast, but that old coffee maker sitting next to it sure has seen better days. I bet they have some nice ones at Target …

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