For as long as I can remember shaving was always a cool and mystifying thing to me. I would look at my father or grandfather and wonder what it was like to shave ones face. From time to time, I would sneak into my parent’s bathroom and grab a new razor out of a drawer and practice. Occasionally, I would cut myself, badly! But always did the one thought remain: what is it like to shave? This thought persisted through youth.
As I grew in age I would see my peers growing small patches of hair on their faces, then serious mustaches, then chin hair, the full-fledged beards. I wasn’t one of them. It took a very long time before any hair grew on my face and when it finally did, a beard was still not yet possible. But I had hair; I was satisfied and excited to shave. I went to the store, grabbed a Gillette Mach 3, shaving cream and went to work. Hot water, check. Towel, check. Shaving cream, applied, check. Razor, ouch! Over time I learned the sometimes brutal, sometimes magical, sometimes quick and occasionally gruesomely long, process of shaving ones face. I wasn’t taught “in-house” so to speak, I learned through observation and practice, I might have even read a few articles online. Finally, I became proficient in the art of shaving; I had mastered the cool and mystifying thing of my youth.
Now, I mentioned earlier that I purchased a Gillette, in fact, I purchased many over the years. As the models updated so did I. A new commercial would show the new and improved, and I was at the store before it ended. The Mach 4 and then the Mach 5, then the Fusion, then the ProGlide. Each one was better than its predecessor; and provided a faster, smoother shave. As the new models would constantly upgrade, so did the price.
Currently, depending on what store you’re in, a Gillette razor goes for about $10. The 4 pack of replacement blades is about $17. This is something everyman who shaves, must buy and use almost everyday, if he wants that freshly shaved clean look. The problem is, that over time, these blades add up. Yes, Gillette makes a quality product, they send you a free razor on your birthday, but they are too expensive. Or are they?
A few months ago, I was standing in an aisle at Target, holding a pack of Gillette razors. I looked at the price: $17.00 for 4. A month’s worth for $17, I shook my head and quickly the need to do math came on: 12*17=$204 not bad, but really that much to shave my face?
So, I looked for competitors, found a 10 pack of Shick for something like $10. 3 blades, nice handle, I could use them a few times and throw them away. I thought, this is wonderful; I’ll save money, use a new blade more often, and get a better shave. How could I go wrong? After the first few shaves my face became brutalized and gouged by this razor. Finally after 2 months of torturing my face, I caved, went to the store, and bought my favorite Gillette razors, paying $10 for a new razor and handle and $17 for 4 replacements. Although I’m going to spend $17 a month more on razors I will never have to worry about getting cut or getting a bad shave again.
Brand loyalty only goes so far. However, this is a prime example of love for one’s brand being discounted by a cheaper alternative. Except the cheaper alternative proved its ineffectiveness to me in such an unsatisfactory way that I am here writing and professing my love for the Gillette Brand. After leaving my good old trusty razor for a hot new thing, I found myself in a much worse situation. This experience has reinforced the platitude, “you get what you pay for”. I have been and besides for a brief hiatus, I still am a Gillette customer; and most likely will be for life. I only hope my razor takes me back . . .