September 15, 2005

Razor Wars: more dangerous than the Cola Wars

The safety razor industry appears to be the latest battleground of the marketers looking to one-up the competition with dubious improvements. Not to be outdone by rival Schick and their four-bladed razor, Gillette upped the ante yesterday when they announced the Fusion, the world's first five-bladed razor.

Sheesh!

If this keeps up, shaving is going to consist of rubbing a razor-sharp cheese grater on your face. Does the word overkill appear in the marketroids' dictionary?

The Fusion cartridge also includes a single blade (for a grand total of six!) for trimming facial hair. Apparently Gillette thinks that all of us who have gone out and spent money on decent electric trimmers are going to throw them over in favour of a $10 disposable.

For my part, I have resisted the temptation to upgrade the Gillette Atra that I have been using since my first year of university. Two blades did the trick in 1990. In fact, when my parents mistakenly gave me a package of Mach3 cartridges this Christmas as a stocking stuffer, I traded them with my dad for a package of ancient Atra cartridges - two blades and no lubricating strip thingy. Guess what? They still work. Besides, 24 hours from now when my beard has grown out again, no one is going to be able to tell how many blades my razor has.