The economy of shaving

POSTED: 08/12/15 4:53 PM

For decades I followed the lead of Gillette where shaving is concerned – the best a man can get. The razor blade industry has steadily innovated its products – in particular the razor blade – and in doing so, it has made shaving a rather expensive business. The moment has arrived where all these innovations are about to shoot themselves in the foot.

This weekend, I strolled through a store on the French side, where I just happened to see two electrical razors from Gründig – a solid German brand. The cheapest model came at around $29, the more expensive one at $39.

Those numbers got me thinking. As an almost lifelong aficionado of wet shaving, I never gave much thought to electrical razors. But the price of the razors hit me right between the eyes and I decided there and then to make the switch. I bought the most expensive razor the store had on offer and I’ll explain why I did this.

Figure this: for four Gillette blades from the Fusion series Super U, the cheapest supermarket on the island, charges almost $28.

I’m using about one of these blades every two weeks – that’s 26 blades per year. As you can see, these blades cost close to $7 a pop, so while I was happily lathering my mug and running a Gillette blade over it, I spent $182 a year on those darn blades. Add to that a can of shaving gel per month for another $5.50 a pop (annual total $66) and it appears that keeping the surface of my face to the satisfaction of my better half, I’m out of $248 every year.

I figure that the razor I bought for $39 bucks will not have eternal life. Hell, if I discover that I don’t like the thing, I could dump it after twelve weeks and go back to Gillette. There’s no price difference.

If my razor holds up for, say, a modest five years – and I don’t see why a Gründig appliance would not have such a life cycle, I’m way ahead in the financial chapter of the shaving department. Wet shaving would cost me over a five year period $1,240.

My electrical razor will of course use some electricity. But that won’t put a dent in my utilities bill. It is negligible. The sleek machine has to charge 14 hours before first use. Then the battery is good for one hour. If it takes 2.5 minutes to shave every day, I’m good for 24 days. This means that I’d have to recharge the battery 15 times per year for 1.5 hour.

To cut a long story short, if I’m able to put up with the electrical razor, I’ll save around $1,200 over the next five years. I’m sure my better half will find a way to spend that money on more useful matters.

Something to think about.

Hilbert Haar

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