Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To beard or not to beard

John G. Redlingshafer

That's my great-great-grandfather, John G. Redlingshafer, in his later Santa Clause phase. He had a beard. Obviously. I was thinking of growing one, too --- until it got so darned hot. In the 90s yesterday, more of the same today. Then, if the forecast holds up, more rain, more humidity. It's the humidity here in Iowa you know .... Not the heat. That's what we tell ourselves.

The beard idea developed after the latest episode in my long and troubled relationship with the Gillette Co., purveyors of razors and blades. I prefer a razor --- there's something about the possibility of dropping an electric shaver in a sink full of water and electrocuting one's self that I find discouraging.

When I started shaving long ago, blades had two edges --- at the most. And I cut myself occasionally. I still cut myself occasionally, but the latest blades I bought had five edges. Do we really need razor blades with five edges?

Having got absolutely the last shave possible out of my last Gillette "Mach 3" blade (where do they come up with these names, and why?), I set out to HyVee to buy replacements. HyVee, of course, in it zeal to market its own brand of stuff, had no Mach 3 blades but several varieties of blades guaranteed to fit razors of the Gillette variety, but packaged so that you couldn't really tell if they'd attach properly. This is an attempt to get you to buy a package of blades that won't work, open it and in the process of discovering the blades' unworkabilitiy to destroy returnability. That's what I did.

So I went next door to Pamida. They had Mach 3 blades --- in a package that when the division was done revealed a per-blade price of between $3 and $4. That's a heck of a lot of money for a razor blade. On the other hand, I could buy Gillette's latest razor --- the Turbo (again, where did that name come from and why?) plus two blades for less than the cost of two Mach 3 blades.

So that's what I did. The "Turbo" blades are encased in elaborate plastic razor heads that I'm sure will be even more expensive per blade than Mach 3 when replacement time comes, but at least I'm set for another few weeks. Another instance of things in general going to hell in a handbasket.

I don't think I'll grow a beard. Who wants to wrap a bunch of hair up in a dish towel to keep it out of the soup? But electric shavers are looking more and more appealing. I'd just have to remember to use it over a dry sink.


The census-taker finally caught up with me late yesterday afternoon --- a pleasant woman who completed her assigned task in under five minutes and was on her way.

I'd wondered vaguely what I hadn't gotten a census form in the mail at the appointed time --- something to do with moving, I suppose; perhaps complicated by the fact I still get my mail in a post office box when I really don't need to any more.

I know it's important to be counted, but had decided just to let it lay and see what happened. Now I know, I have been counted and all should be well in that department for another 10 years.

1 comment:

Ed said...

I've been wanting to do a post on the insanity of buying razor blades for some time. However, the last time I was in the store over a year ago shopping for them, there was a clearance on Mach 3's and I cleaned out the inventory. I think I still have one package left and them I'm in the same boat.