[She] cracks open a toaster oven, jams her hand inside, then turns on the power. It looks like she’s about to electrocute herself, but she seems unfazed. “Thermostat or heating element?” [She] mutters, yanking on wires and poking around with a multimeter.It's an article about fixing things, rather than replacing them.
My first thoughts about fixing toaster ovens involve not putting my hand inside it while plugging things in and turning them on. But the person was probably careful not to place her hand onto a live heating element, or uninsulated wire.
The skills necessary to diagnose a toaster are useful skills. And they are skills that I have always thought were just part of life. Sometimes, the cost of repair exceeds the cost of replacement. Other times--many other times, in my experience--the cost of repair is much less than the cost of replacement.
However, I realize that many people don't have those skills. They will throw away vacuum cleaners, toaster, and microwave ovens that can be repaired easily.
It's a good idea, and a return to something that has long been part of the American tradition, to attempt to repair an item rather than purchase a replacement.