Less Can Be More – More or Less!

by DavalosMcCormack on January 6, 2011

Based on the theory that nothing exceeds like excess we all sometimes go over the top. I know I do. But the problem comes when you try to decide how much is too much. I mean one pint of Old Bodkins strong ale might be fine, two might be particularly delicious, but how about 10 or 13. It’s easy to know when you’ve gone way too far. When you wake up and your first question is not “What time is it?” but “What day is it, and whose clothes are these?” then the odds are you might need to cut back.

I think we have reached that point with razors. It wasn’t so long ago that men shaved with a cut-throat razor. A simple single blade device that you used over and over again. Not only did it do the job but it also helped create a wonderful image for slasher/horror movies.

Cut throat competition

Then someone introduced the safety razor. It was great. Less blood loss overall and when one blade was dull instead of spending half an hour running it up and down a leather strap to sharpen it you simply threw it away and bought a new one (that was a more innocent time when chucking stuff away seemed a much easier way of dealing with something that no longer worked the way it should).

The downside to the safety razor was that it lacked the, for want of a better word, “romance” of the old cut-throat razor. I mean, imagine Jack the Ripper or Sweeney Todd using safety razors to dispatch their victims. Instead of having their throats slashed they’d simply have a close shave – both figuratively and literally – which might be better for them but would have resulted in some really lame movies (Jack the Shaver doesn’t have quite the same ring does it!)

Mutant follicles

But now, instead of a single safety blade, we have razors with five blades. Five. We seem to be operating under the impression that if you have one that works well, then two will be better, so five must be brilliant. And I don’t doubt that these new razors are fine – even if the commercials they are using to push them are asinine on a level that makes the Geico ads look like Oscar worthy material – but really, do we need five razors to get a decent shave? Have the hairs on our chins and legs and armpits evolved so dramatically over the last few years that nothing but a high tech version of Excalibur will really get rid of them?

In the mid-1990s Gillette spent more than $1 billion developing its three blade device, the imaginatively named Mach 3. Think about that. One billion dollars for a razor. It’s not as if the two blade or single blade devices out there weren’t doing the job. It’s not as if there weren’t a lot of other things that wouldn’t have benefited from that kind of cash. I mean, poverty, disease, hunger hadn’t exactly been eradicated by then so that kind of money could really have helped a lot of folks, besides giving them a good clean shave I mean.

But that was more than ten years ago. Think about how much must have been spent to develop these new devices. Mind boggling isn’t it. And really, does anyone care that much if their shave is 8% closer than it was a month ago with the old four-blade device? Particularly if it costs you 23% more to buy the razors and even then you have to ask the desk clerk to open the cabinet they are locked in.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Gillette and the rest of the razor-making world decided they’d pretty much gone as far as they needed, then calculate how much it would cost to develop a six blade razor, produce it, market it, advertise it etc, and simply donate that money to something really worthwhile.

Like finding a cure for male hair loss.

OK, OK, poverty disease and hunger.

P.S. From Shirl –

I like a clean shaven man…but when you put it this way,  “What the heck?”  Couldn’t  business shave off some of their profits to help others?  Wouldn’t that be an interesting concept?   Just a thought.

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