Columnist Glenn Mitchell has a real problem with razor blades. (Stock)

Mitchell’s Musings: On the cutting edge of razor technology

Not to cut too fine a point, but why do men spend so much on a close shave?

Enough about Trump and Trudeau, I want to rant about something much more important and consequential for the future of mankind.

Razor blades. Yes, razor blades.

I’ve had a thing and a theory and a real problem with razor blades for quite some time now and I can’t remain silent any longer. It’s bad enough us men have to lather up and shave every day without the technology, and the marketing, behind razor blades multiplying at such a rate it makes our unshaven heads spin uncontrollably.

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I’ve recently fought back against this scourge by adopting a moustache (some say I look like Lanny the hockey player and others say I look more like Rocko the retired porn star), so I have less face to shave. I even tried a full-blown beard for awhile in protest but my love life suffered to the point that it wasn’t worth the political stand I was trying to make, but that could be considered too much information.

Anyway, I digress. I think it all started with the Trac II razor back in the ‘70s. For decades, maybe centuries, us men were fine with one blade in our razor and it seemed to be good enough for any and all occasions.

But some genius at Gillette convinced us that “what the first blade doesn’t get, the second one does” or something like that and we were off to the races with a cleaner, safer shave that only cost us a few bucks more.

It seemed to make sense so we bought it. And if we bought that, some marketing guy at Schick figured, we’d probably go for three, and then four and five blades.

As Gordon Gekko in Wall Street once said, “Greed is good.”

I’m not sure if he ever said anything about gullibility but we bought it anyway to keep up with the times, I guess, although I’m not sure what the tag line is any more – “what the first blade doesn’t get, the second blade usually gets, and if not the third one for sure gets the rest, except for the real, tiny little hairs which the fourth blade gets, and the fifth blade, to be honest, is just for show because Fusion5 sounds much more powerful and cooler than Fusion4, don’t you think?”

I don’t know if you can even buy a Trac II anymore, another way they trap us, but I sure would like to do a blindfold test to see if a Fusion5 actually gives a shave that’s closer than the old superstar?’ And if it does, who really cares? And at what cost to society and the environment and our respective pocket books?

I went to Costco the other day to price out some blades, they’re so expensive now you comparison shop the way you do for an automobile or major appliance.

So, there was the Gillette Fusion Proglide blister pack of 16 cartridges for $63.99. Apparently it “responds to contours” for only $3.99 a cartridge. I don’t even know if I have any contours so I look for something cheaper.

The boring, old-fashioned Fusion5 is only $58.99 for 18 cartridges. Apparently at $3.28 a cartridge, it’s “a shave you barely feel.” So, again, what’s the point?

And then there’s the Sensor2 Plus disposable razor, a pack of 52 for a low, low $29.99 or 58 cents apiece. It’s tag line is “use a fresh razor every week” which says little about its effectiveness but a lot about its burden on the environment and even more about you if you actually think that’s a good thing.

Of course I’m pretty sure I could get a least a month out of each razor which means a little less guilt on my part for being cheap and non-environmentally friendly, plus I wouldn’t have to come back to Costco for blades for 4.3 years, if I live that long, so that saves on gas, the environment etc. Sold.

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Of course I had to find room in my garage for a box of 52 disposable razors but I was up for it.

And of course those are Costco prices, the rest of the retailers are forced to put blades behind lock and key with the engagement rings.

It’s all kind of ridiculous and may or may not be a sign of the apocalypse. But what I do know is if I ever see Trac X, the new generation, I’m running for the hills.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star.

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