Your Selfie, Toasted

Selfie Toast

The selfie toaster: you put in a slice of bread. And like any toaster, it gives you toast — but when your toast pops up, you will see burned into one side your selfie.

Or, more accurately, you will see whatever picture you submitted when you ordered your toaster — your picture taken by a friend, perhaps, or a picture of a friend, or of a child, or even a pet.

Price: $75, free shipping within the US, L43.86, shipping extra. Order from the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation, www.burntimpressions.comAllow a week for installation of the picture, plus delivery.

Sorry, but is the ‘selfie toaster’ really a ‘selfie toaster?’

In one sense, yes, it is a ‘selfie toaster.’ You can pick up your smartphone, take a selfie — (You’re what? From another planet? Well, a ‘selfie’ is a picture that you take of yourself by holding your smartphone at arm’s length. You can see the picture you’re about to take on the phone’s screen, and adjust it until you like it) — and when you get your new toaster, your selfie will be on your toast for as long as you use the toaster.

But in another sense, perhaps, the ‘selfie toaster’ is not a ‘selfie toaster.’ It is not a digital product. It has no capacity to process new selfies, day after day. One blog, dated Thursday (July 17) began its story with the headline, ‘The Selfie Toaster Is Exactly What It Sounds Like.’ And the first sentence of the article said: ‘A company is selling toasters which can put your selfies [plural] on a piece of toast.’

We don’t find fault with that story — but we want to clarify for our readers that a person who buys a single ‘selfie toaster’ won’t be able to put his or her selfies (plural) on the toast from that toaster. The reason, of course, is that the manufacturer permanently installs the selfie you send in, so you see the same selfie (singular) on your toast, day after day.

You may keep taking new and better selfies day after day, and week after week (you lovely narcissist, you!) — but you won’t be able to put those newer selfies in your ‘selfie toaster.’ Unless the factory does it for you, or you buy some more toasters.

Will we see the day when you can take a selfie before breakfast, upload the image to your toaster, and eat yourself with jam and butter before you leave for work? Yes, of course! You know that day will come, because — your choice — ‘man’s technology knows no limits’ — or — ‘man’s narcissism knows no bounds.’

Who came up with the term ‘selfie toaster?’

Vermont Novelty Toaster Corp. President and CEO Galen Dively came up with it. He explains to Mashable that his company has been making image-burning toasters for four years. They specialize in ‘sports logos,’ he told Mashable, and last year they had a big hit with ‘Jesus toast.’ Reproductions of these images are at the Burnt Impressions website.

Recently, Mr. Dively told Mashable, he saw a way to start producing toasters that put the purchaser’s photograph on a piece of toast — or any photo a purchaser might send in.

But since the handiest way to come up with a picture of yourself today is by taking a selfie with your smartphone, he hit on calling his new offering the ‘selfie toaster.’ Is the term ‘selfie toaster’ a registered trademark? One illustration on the company’s website carries the TM designation —

but Mr. Dively, and the bloggers and members of the press he talks to, appear to be using the term as a two-word generic description, as though it had not been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Here are a couple of questions a thoughtful customer might ask: Can a customer send in a new photograph, after some time has passed, and get a new set of metal plates? We submitted that question to the company, but haven’t received an answer. It’s possible they haven’t established a policy on additional pictures.

Can a customer submit two photographs, and for an additional charge, have two different plates with different images installed on the toaster’s two slots? That way, you could have two selfies from your ‘selfie toaster.’ Can a customer have a number of plates that can be changed back and forth by the customer?

We ourselves haven’t seen or used — or ordered — the ‘selfie toaster,’ but it sounds like fun. If you already have a toaster, keep it and you can use it when you don’t think a selfie would be appropriate.