The Toast Conspiracy

The Toast Conspiracy

Robbert Haarman

2010-12-11


Introduction

It's widely known that toast, when dropped, tends to land with the buttered side down1. What isn't widely known (because they don't want you to know it) is that toast is made that way on purpose. This essay uncovers the conspiracy behind it.


The Physics of Falling Toast

There are three factors that influence which side of the toast lands down: the orientation of the toast before it falls, the distance to the floor, and the rotation speed.

The orientation of the toast is pretty fixed; putting the butter and topping on top of the toast is easier and prevents the topping from falling off. Thus, although toast could be eaten upside-down, or even sideways, in theory, it's reasonable to assume that people will eat their toast buttered side up.

The distance the toast falls before it reaches the floor is mostly determined by the shape and dimensions of the human body. This means the distance varies a bit from person to person, and depends on the position in which the toast is being eaten. Evidently, however, this variance is not enough to prevent the toast from landing buttered side down in most cases.

This brings us to the last factor: rotation speed. Now here is where things get interesting. Assuming the person dropping the toast does not purposefully influence the rotation of it, the rotation speed depends on the properties of the toast itself. In particular, certain shapes rotate quicker than others.

Of the three factors that influence the rotation of falling toast, two of them are almost inevitably the way they are, whereas the third, the shape of the toast, is controlled by the toast manufacturers. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that the toast manufacturers make their toast so that it lands buttered side down.


The Motive

Once we know that toast is made to land buttered side down, we have to ask ourselves why this is the case. Is toast made that way by accident or on purpose?

It seems pretty unlikely that toast manufacturers make their toast so that it lands buttered side down by accident. If it were all a matter of chance, we would expect toast from some manufacturers to land buttered side up instead. However, the reports of toast landing that way are few and far between. It seems that toast manufacturers universally bake buttered-side-down toast, and toast landing buttered side up happens because of good luck on the part of the person dropping it.

Why would toast manufacturers want their toast to land buttered side down? Well, it's pretty simple, really: when your toast lands buttered side down, you're not going to eat it anymore. Instead, you will have a new piece. Thus, having the toast land buttered side down provides toast manufacturers with more sales.


Conclusion

Following the simple arguments, the conclusion is clear: toast manufacturers purposefully make their toast so that it lands buttered side down, because it give them more sales.


1 Note that it doesn't neccesarily have to have butter on it, nor does it have to have only butter on it. Jam or peanut butter works to, as do chocolate sprinkles, and probably lots of other things.