Close shaves

Here’s one way that Austinites maintain that clean-shaven appearance. So says the staff at the drugstore we frequent for the good prices on house-brand disposable blades. We had noticed that the plastic dispenser case seemed to be broken or jammed or something. Attempts to remove blades resulted in a buzzing noise and the appearance of an employee on the spot to “fix” the case. Finally, we noticed that this happened every single time and asked a few questions. A friend in retail confirms what we were told: razor blades are among the most-stolen items in any establishment that sells them. Many of them are reported to be resold very cheaply at flea markets. Sometimes, given the wild assortment of hirsute facial adornment in this town, one might be under the impression that the per-capita sale of blades and razors in Austin might fall below the national norm; on second, thought, though, many of these designs must require at least as much trimming and edging as a manicured lawn does.

2 Comments so far

  1. Mark Cathcart (unregistered) on January 11th, 2008 @ 6:56 am

    Ahh yes, one of the great marketing successes of our times, disposable razor blades. As you say, Razor brides are indeed highly prized and carefully secured because their high price of purchase makes you feel like you are being ripped off and so it wouldn’t be so bad to have stolen them. They are often secured with security(RFID and other) tags in a supermarket as well as being stored in alarmed cabinets.

    One of the few other things held in such high contempt as disposable razor blades are inkjet printer cartridges. Again, it simply can’t and doesn’t cost that much to make and manufacture them, yet again we are held hostage by the large corporations over pricing. They are also similarly secured often in places where they can be easily stolen.

    The one thing both these treasured items have in common, planned obsolescence. Just as soon as you find a suitable alternative or replacement they change the design for the base unit, the razor, the printer, making any supply of the old stock and the old unit redundant. It’s the culmination and masterstroke of the post 2nd world war war consumer society.

    The only thing one might ask about both the razor blade and inkjet printer pricing, is where is the legendary American consumer pricing protection, the anti-trust protection, ahh, it doesn’t matter they are only razor blades.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on January 11th, 2008 @ 9:14 am

    The blade race is quite funny; beyond, maybe, two, who cares? As to printers, there’s that great “free” throwaway that Dell was tossing into its deals for a while, the one with cartridges available only from the D-people and not cheaply. Now that cameras have gone digital and the film business is plummeting, the third great disposable scam is women’s hosiery.

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