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Razors

Anyone who a) lives in .uk and either b) watches commercial television[0] or c) walks into a reasonably large Boots or similar can't help but notice the vast amount of effort spent on advertising this new "Gilette Fusion" thing.

This is supposedly a razor with five blades. I remember when the first three-bladed razor came out, people were joking about 5 coming along. Now that three's locked into the consumer-male mind, five is the next step. But three-blade razors never had the same level of marketing push, never the twice-an-ad-break drumming in that this new thing will Revolutionise Shaving Forever!

See, the theory they use goes "Three blades cause irritation because they're not spreading the pressure evenly". This is, quite frankly, a load of old toss. It's yet another example of brain-damaged corporations claiming that their new thing is the best thing yet, when it really isn't.

The problem, of course, is that Gilette is competing with itself. "Three blades are bad", they say. Well, they are the ones who gave us three blades. Wilkinson Sword introduced a four-bladed creation that tanked. Gilette don't want this 5-bladed monstrosity to go the same way, so they must compete not only with themselves but with the whole idea that they came up with and propagated in the first place. Thus, they spam the fuck out of the airwaves and shops that sell such products, coming out with lots of related toss that nevertheless manages to be just the same as everything else.

I mention this because I'd never before realised just how fucking insane the whole economics of shaving were. I was in the aforementioned branch of Boots, looking for some blades for the triple-bladed thing I used to use. Four for just under five quid, eight would leave you with pennies from a tenner.[1] These 5-bladed monstrosities were on the order of a eight and fifteen quid for 4/8 blades.

Now, I've ranted before about the uselessness of electric razors. They leave me with a five o'clock shadow right after shaving, and so are right out. The thing is, the vast majority of razors are crap. Swivel-heads and lubricating strips, multiple blades and guard wires, these are not for people who want a proper shave. They are instead designed so that your average simian can shave while hungover all to fuck to go in to work looking like slightly less of a unkempt wino than he actually is. The razor manufacturers gouge the ever-loving fuck out of said simians, giving them things that barely require human intervention to shave with in exchange for truly ludicrous amounts of hard cash.

Hence, I'm using a safety razor. It cost me three quid and came with five blades. A pack of ten blades costs less than a pound. Yes, the whole thing's still a loss-leader, but when you work the percentages the only way to avoid that is to buy and use a straight-razor, and I'm not about to go that far.

I'll probably spend less in the next twelve months on shaving supplies than I would on one pack of four blades for the triple-bladed thing I used to use, and I get a better shave out of it. Yet more proof that advertising is actively evil.

[0]: In my defence, The Simpsons is on Channel 4. And I haven't got Freeview yet.
[1]: I actually went to the Boots website to check these. I feel dirty.

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