Monday, January 07, 2019

Breaking the Chains To the Gillette Corporation

It's no secret that the Gillette Corporation, which sells most of the men's razors and razor blades in the US, engages in monopolistic pricing practices of its products. The razors are overpriced, but the replacement cartridges are ridiculously overpriced, which has led to much hatred toward Gillette by working-class men, and the rise of "shaving clubs" that supply replacement cartridges a a lower price point than Gillette does - - but even those are no real bargain.

So when I found myself with an Amazon gift card from my sister as a Christmas present, I pulled the trigger on purchasing an old-fashioned double-edged safety razor. Blades for it are readily available, and at Amazon can be had for $6.68 for 100 blades - - seven cents per blade, if my arithmetic is correct. In comparison, 12 blades for a Gillette Fusion cartridge razor are being sold at Amazon for $39.99, or $3.33 per cartridge. That's just robbery, pure and simple. I typically shave three times a week, so 100 blades, if I change out a blade once per week, will last me very nearly two years.

And I actually tried the new razor for the first time tonight. I'd never used one before - - when I first started shaving most men were using Schick Injector razors, and Gillette's Trac II had just been introduced - - butterfly safety razors were viewed as "old man" razors, holdovers from the 1940's and 1950's. Damnation, though - - I haven't had this smooth a shave in years, my face is as soft as the proverbial baby's bottom, and there is no clogging issue as found in plastic cartridge razors. And the single edge is quite sufficient to accomplish this task - - no 2 or 5 blades to ensure a close shave. One does the trick.

On the downside, I nicked myself slightly on the chin, which indicates that a softer touch is necessary on the tight curves of my face ("But Bob, you don't have tight curves on your face!" Shut up.). So far I'm quite happy, though. I'll report further if necessary.


Rev. Paul said...

I started using a butterfly razor when Uncle Sam issued them to us in boot camp. I still use a double-edge razor, although the top is of the one-piece variety. Blades & razor are both from Amazon, where prices are reasonable - as you noted.

ProudHillbilly said...

When my hair first started falling out from chemo I had a heck of a time shaving my head - lots of ingrown hairs. In reading on the subject I discovered that multi-bladed razors tend to cause that. The first blade pulls the hair up and the second cuts it. Sounds good but the hair often snaps back below the skin, increasing the chance of it becoming ingrown.

Jim said...

I did this switch about 3 years ago, and did a write-up at the 1-year point: The long and short of it is, you just need to stock a couple of spare disposable razors so the TSA doesn't freak out. I had them lose their collective sh*t a couple of trips back so I travel with a disposable now, but otherwise it's been clear sailing. Since that post, I've spent ~$10 on another block of soap, and ~$23 on another box of 100 razors. In nearly 2 years.