The Not Hot Plate


Okay, I’ve put this off long enough. I meant to send out an immediate warning months ago, alert my fellow man to disaster but I couldn’t bring myself to think about the damn thing past the kitchen counter. I can’t hold back any longer, it’s past bearing quietly in secret and it’s not going away.

IF you must use one, briefly, unhappily, out of necessity, desperation, for the garage workshop, for the kid away at college, or for the RV as a cooking substitute for an actual stove, DON’T BUY A HOTPLATE that wasn’t built before, oh maybe 1970. And definitely DON’T BUY ONE MADE BY BLACK AND DECKER!

In the olden days you’d see that brand on something and your breath would draw in and your eyes would grow wide with the assurance in your hand of something quality, something thrilling, something that was the high mark of the industry, it was American perfection, a beauty thing.

Black and Decker is now made in China and frankly, I’m guessing made by industrious but isolated Chinese in some remote farming village where they never heard of electricity but a factory cropped up on the side of a hill and not a single person in town knows what the hell they’re used for or why Americans want them. The eager workers just show up every day at five a.m under the cruel and watchful eye of whip wielding bosses and put the parts together and get them into boxes before committing suicide from overwork exploiting, and a llama drawn cart picks up the Black and Decker boxed hotplates at sunset and trots them into Beijing to be shipped to the idiots in the west.

I come to this fanciful conclusion after using the rotten thing for a couple of months. Here are its faults. There’s no on and off click or setting. Off is just the furthest part of the dial (must have been a contest making it decrease to left, increase to right). The red (I Am Plugged Into An Electrical Socket) light on the front stays on permanently.

And, here is the greatest infraction, after it has been on for a set number of minutes (I haven’t stopped screaming at it long enough to time it) IT SHUTS ITSELF OFF SO THE USER WON’T BE SO STUPID AS TO BURN WHATEVER THE USER PLACED IN A POT ON TOP OF THE DAMN THING IF NOT UNDER THE CONTROL OF UNSEEN FORCES IN A FACTORY FAR FAR AWAY.

Try bringing anything to a boil. Okay, if you start with hot water you can get a kettle to whistle, but forget potatoes, spaghetti, hooh hah try rice! You have to fool the machine, turn it to sort of off then back to sort of on.

At medium on the dial all the coils get red. On high, maybe one side of two coils. On low, well that’s the place for a burn. And the dial is marked unaccordingly.

There must be a chip in there that’s not just controlling temperature for MY SAFETY but is also collecting information about how often it’s used, and what is it used for, and is the user eating veggies or cooking fudge, and should the Twinkie Police send the SWAT Team to confiscate the appliance and arrest the user for attempting to get diabetes (thereby destroying the economy) by eating the wrong food and not having a compost heap. And TRYING TO CONTRIBUTE TO GLOBAL WARMING! And hurt little children within a fifty mile radius. And God knows what it’s radiating at nearby exotic snails and owls.

Sigh. The red light that never goes off may, come to think of it, actually be a hidden camera recording my every move and my regular scowling at the cute little appliance that I have willingly introduced into my private life.

I’ll put a small bit of gaffer tape over the little red light. No, there’s no chance the tape will catch fire. My Not Hot plate will shut down before I do myself harm…or anything actually cooks.

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