Monday, June 09, 2008

Of Razor Blades and Printers

Last week, I decided that seeing as I spend every weekday over at Nikki Dee's place, I should keep a few essentials over there. Up until then, if I wanted to shower during the day, I'd come home. Don't worry overly about the seeming extravagance of the car trip because it's only a short hop across a smallish town. Nevertheless, it's more wasteful and time consuming than it need be, so a change in modus operandi seemed to be in order.

Therefore, I took my normal ablutive accouterments over — soap, shampoo, shaving cream — but wondered what to do about shaving. "Aha! I have an older Gillette Mach 3 [doncha love the powerful moniker?] sitting idle somewhere, so I'll buy some blades for it and have a shaver in both places."

However, upon arriving at the local, friendly, neighbourhood, razor blade shop, I was not thrilled to see that a package containing four, tiny blades would set me back approximately sixteen dollars. Flabbergasted I was. As I was trying to gather what remains of my fast disappearing wits, I happened to glance a little way down the shelf . . . . . . . and saw that I could buy four Gillette disposable razors for seven dollars — on sale for five no less! They sure looked similar to the exalted Mach 3's, so I bought 'em and saved seven bucks. I tried one out yesterday and am chuffed to report works just like the real (and expensive) thing.

The razor blade companies have quite the little marketing ploy going; they practically give away the handle thingie and then charge exorbitantly forever thereafter for the blades. And have you noticed that the ink jet printer companies have followed the same canny model? If you shop around and not even too rigorously, you'll find that you'll be able to purchase a new printer complete with ink for less that what the refill will cost.

These guys have certainly figured it out — take a bit of a onetime hit in order to reap extravagant dividends forever after. And since they all follow the same marketing model, it's not like the consumer can send a message by switching brands. So whaddya gonna do, eh?

10 comments:

Ginnie said...

We have a discount outlet called "The Dollar Store" where everything is just $1. I get a package of 10 throw away blades for $1 and it works just fine.
(I wonder, with the gas prices boosting the price of everything, when they will change the name to "The Dollar and a Half Store")

Dale said...

Sadly, many of us buy a whole new printer rather than refills and thereby add to our growing mountains of landfill. Shame on the industry leaders and shame on our gov't for allowing it.

Janet said...

It is indeed a conspiracy. We opted for a more expensive printer that used the cheapest ink cartridges, but it's still a racket.

Heather said...

Have you watched the video at www.storyofstuff.com? You should - it's fascinating. They talk about a concept called "planned obsalescence" where stuff is manufactured with a short shelf life so that you are forced to replace it regularly. Kinda ticks me off, from an environment perspective.

Amanda said...

Everything has gone up in price over here and the blame is put on the rising fuel costs.
The cost of the weekly shopping is shocking.
Take Care,
Amanda

Donna said...

http://www.lasermonks.com
Ac- The above link is a place to find cheaper printer stuff. It's run by Monks....Really!
Also, anything made with steel is out of sight!!(Chinas big building boom)...Hang in there!!hughugs

ChrisB said...

Manufacturers do not make things to last, as it's not the way to make money. Neither do a lot make spare parts for the same reason. It is not always the consumers fault that so much has to be thrown away.
Oh I've just noticed Heather's comment saying something similar!

Ruth said...

I needed a fax machine for my community job and you can add that unit to your list of rip-offs. The fax machine was practically free, but the fax roll was $15 for 100 pages. Thankfully the company moved to encrypted email to send our patient info to us.

Lorna said...

Oh, AC---let the beard flourish.

KGMom said...

AC--it is a conspiracy. We have been schooled to be a throw away society. When the permanent one is more expensive than the throw away one--of course we buy the throw away one. And part of the expense in those things comes from the plastic--an oil derivative.