Why isn’t ‘Occam’s razor’ applied to the business of shaving?
I’m growing to loathe ‘loss-leader’ marketing; the kind of thing where a manufacturer sells you equipment at (what seems to be) a bargain price and then stings you big-time for the consumable items it uses. It seems to be a growing trend and is happening with everything from printers to games consoles; coffee makers to razor blades!
Speaking of which, like most guys, my morning ritual involves shaving – but I’m getting increasingly fed-up with the premium price the manufacturer of my razor-of-choice charges me to buy their replacement blade cartridges.
It’s taken many, many experiments with different combinations of razor blade and what marketeers have taken to referring to as ‘product’ (shaving gel or foam to you and me) for me to find something that feels comfortable, avoids cutting my skin and / or leaving me with razor-burn but actually shaves close enough that I don’t need to repeat the process every few hours.
All credit to the manufacturer for their commitment to research and development in their endless quest to find ‘the best’ for men everywhere… but I must confess to a sneaking suspicion that this isn’t really what they’re committed to at all. I think all they’re really trying to do is come up with a new variation on an ancient theme so they can sell me a new razor ‘handle’ which comes with it’s own unique blade cartridges. Each iteration seems to cost just a little bit more than the last and each time one of the previous designs is ‘retired’ forcing me into the upgrade path they map for me. Sadly this path now seems to consist of little more than a sort of micro arms-race with each of the main players vying for the largest number of blades in their new cartridge design and the most ‘intelligently’ designed battery-powered ‘handle’. Just how complicated does it need to be guys!?
What really annoys me about all this is that I’ve tried cheaper alternatives but so far keep coming back to the same manufacturers’ blades because they really do work for me! I guess an outside observer would say that this behaviour demonstrates some kind of ‘brand loyalty’… but if that’s the case then you should watch out, ‘manufacturer’, because the kind of brand loyalty you’re building (at least in the *this* house) is very, very grudging indeed. This reluctant and temporary acceptance of the status quo has already led me to deliberately seek out alternatives to your shaving foam / gel ‘product’ – so that at least I’m not buying that from you too – and every time I spend money on your razor blades I resent you just a little bit more ….one day I’ll be free of you, I swear!