By Rob Poindexter
$15.47 for a package of three, that guaranteed the smoothest shave ever; $18.96 for a package of two that promised no woman would be able to resist the smoothness of my face. Another package containing razor blades made from some exotic and rare metal that I couldn’t even pronounce.
I’m not talking about the whole shaver, I mean just the blades that you replace for the handle you already own, or plan to purchase. I go through this about every two or three months, but for some reason this time was different. At 46 years old, I have been clean-shaven ever since I started to notice long strands of peach fuzz on my pubescent mug. This being the case, I have used many different shavers. From straight blades (thanks Granddad), to the current line-up of four blade disposables with the comfort strip full of soothing aloe vera.
I knew exactly which blades I needed, but for the right price I was definitely willing to switch. But alas, I had spoiled my whisker-infused jaw line with blades of the highest quality for so long, that the thought of going with a lesser product made my five-o’clock shadow bristle with contempt. I stood there, questioning the powers that had set the pricing to such an extravagant level. I mean, they are thin strips of metal encapsulated in plastic sheathing topped with a fraction of a cent’s worth of soothing gel over the top of the blade plane.
How on earth could that cost more than five dollars apiece? Could it be that it took such a skilled craftsman to make the blades that thin that he could demand his own price for the service and that cost had to be passed along to me? No, that couldn’t possibly be it, for just below this package of high-dollar super shavers was a bag of 10 shavers (including the handle) for somewhere around six bucks.
Each shaver had a two-bladed shaving surface, and the blades looked to be just as thin as the more expensive models. There was, however, no strip of soothing gel on these. But, hey man, 10 shavers (including the handles) was only gonna cost me about sixty cents a pop.
I was all over it. My decision was made, and a package of yellow and white shavers (including the handles) was tossed proudly into my shopping cart. Turning to throw a quick sneer at the expensive blades that were hanging above my new, more reasonably priced acquisitions, I proudly made my way to the check out.
The following is an account of my experience with these new blades.
Day One: Stepping from the shower, I lathered my face as usual before drying off and then reached for the first new blade. I immediately noticed it was lighter in my hand then I was used to, and because of this lightness, I felt it necessary to apply more pressure than usual. HUGE MISTAKE!! A nice nick on my jaw line caused me to wince, and I forced myself to finish the job, now shaving with a mixture of blood and shaving cream, before applying t.p. to the wound.
Day Two: Picking up the razor, I quietly reminded myself to ease up on the pressure that had caused bloodshed the day before and commenced with the chore at hand. All went well for the first few strokes, when suddenly I was made painfully aware of the fact that this shaver did not have a swivel head and the blade angle had to be articulated by the user at the end of the handle. Another nick, this time on the fleshy part of my chin. More pink shaving cream, thanks to the addition of blood to the mix.
Day Three: Paying heed to the lessons I learned during the preceding two days, I cautiously set about the task at hand. With the lightest touch and conscientious control of the shaver’s handle, I moved the little shaver over its intended target. Feeling confident that I had finally mastered the proper technique, I let my guard down for just long enough to rip a hole in my skin at the base of my neck. AAARRGH!!!!
Luckily it was on the last stroke, so I was able to apply dressing to the wound immediately after rinsing my face. Putting the tool away in my medicine cabinet, I noticed rust was already starting to form on the blades.
“Are you kidding me?”
Day Four: I stood trembling like a whipped pup. Cold sweat now ran down my face, mixing with the still warm water from my shower. My shaking right hand applied shaving cream while I reached for a new shaver with my left. Still reeling from the wounds of the previous three days of battle, I could not raise the blade to my face. Finally, in utter defiance and defeat, I grabbed all remnants of this experience .and forcefully stuffed them into the waste basket next to the toilet. If I hurried, I could stop at the pharmacy on my way to work, pick up some new blades and shave in the office restroom.
We have all, from time to time, experimented with less expensive products, in order to save a few bucks. And while not all of those experiments have resulted in the same mortal wounds I encountered here, the results, more often then not, are just as disappointing.
My face will eventually heal, and it’s doubtful there will be any permanent scarring, (other than my psyche).
However, the same cannot always be said of other products and services people try to save money on. Particularly, career services. Skimping in this area will have a much more devastating effect then a few nicks on your chin. As a matter of fact, it very well could prevent you from ever having to shave again while getting ready for work.
I mean, if you don’t have a job, do you really need to shave?