On Shaving

OK Gillette, you got me.

Your ads are annoying and absurd. Your product strategy is ridiculous (throw more and more baldes on a razor.) I am bothered that my beloved Patriots play in “your” stadium.

And yet. A month ago, they sent me one Gillette Fusion razor in the mail. When I went on a weekend trip, I decided to take it instead of my regular razors. And darned if it wasn’t about the best shave I’ve gotten in my life. It was everything they said. Smooth, responsive, and a great shave. OK, so a supermodel didn’t stroke my face hungrily when I was done, but at least my wife didn’t groan in pain when I kissed her.
My old razors costs about $25 for a 20-pack. These cost about $40 for a 16-pack. So the cost is twice as high, per blade. It was hard to bring myself to really commit. However, let’s leave out percentages and think in absolute dollars. For me, a razor lasts for 2 shaves, 2 days apart, or 4 days per blade. So I need about 90 blades a year. That’s a little over $100 difference. Is it worth $100 over the course of a year to get a better shave? Probably, but I was still unsure. (That’s an underestimate. I don’t shave on weekends or most vacations. I basically shave every other workday, so that’s 280 days / 4 = 70 blades.)

Two things tipped the scales for me. One was that when I mentioned this to Big Scotty, he admitted he had completely folded and was a devoted user. Second, I realized that because this has so many blades, it doesn’t wear out as quick. I’m getting 3 or 4 shaves per blade. If it costs twice as much, but lasts twice as long, it’s effectively the same price, right?

I folded. They got me.

Update (June, 2007): I just finished my first pack of 20 blades. Five months for one pack? That’s amazing! Some of this is due to the introduction of casual Friday at work, reducing my usage to twice a week. But still.

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