Saturday, April 28, 2012

A close shave

One of the things that some men do is shave, I'm one of them and it costs me. It costs me because I have to buy razor blades at around about £3+ a packet and they don't last forever. I don't have the most modern razor in the world for that matter, but it still came as a bit of a shock that the blades themselves only cost 10p to make.
The price of razor blade cartridges has surged by as much as 99 per cent in just three years – driving many men to adopt designer stubble.
The cartridges cost less than 10p to make, but shoppers are being charged as much as £3.49 each.
The biggest player, Gillette, has imposed a stealth price rise by cutting the number of replacement cartridges in its Mach3 Turbo packs from five to four.
The smaller pack did not bring a corresponding cut in the price, leaving men paying at least 20 per cent more.
At Asda, the price per cartridge has risen by 99 per cent over a three-year period.
In 2009, the chain condemned razor manufacturers for their high prices and won plaudits for slashing the cost of a five-cartridge pack of Gillette’s Mach3 blades from £8 to £5.
However, it has since pushed the price back up, to £7.99 for a smaller pack of four, which means the cost per cartridge has risen from £1 to just under £2.
I suppose it's a case of the price being that of the market and I like many others use the damned things far longer than the manufacturer recommends too. It's not like there aren't alternatives out there too, though the initial cost of an electric shaver often puts people off. I suppose I could always grow a beard too, though my last attempt did not look so good looking somewhat akin to a man eating a badger with its arse hanging out.
Still, for a long while now I've been fairly convinced that I was being ripped off in the pricing of blades, at one stage it was actually cheaper to buy a razor itself with 3 free blade packs than to buy a new set of blades.
Still, charging £8 for something that costs 10p does leave a sour taste in the mouth.

7 annotations:

Curmudgeon said...

Once you've added in VAT and all the various supply chain costs, I suspect the real "cost" of a razor blade cartridge is far more than 10p.

And, if it's such a rip-off, why doesn't someone else introduce a cheaper product? It's not as if there are huge barriers to entry.

If you buy ASDA's own brand disposables, they are far cheaper anyway.

John M said...

Time to buy a Phillips electric then.

Woodsy42 said...

Some electrics are an even bigger ripoff. Try buying a replacement screen and wonder how the ridiculous price can in any way relate to a tiny bit of metal with holes in!
Note also that while a brand name electric can cost 50 quid a cheap import can cost a fiver - they are rubbish but could be made excellent for a tenner.
But maybe you need to investigate the old trick of a north/south oriented pyramid

English Pensioner said...

The cheapest solution is probably the old "Cut-throat" razor. My father used one all his life and always had a perfect shave. I never mastered the art, (an am too shaky now), so I am content with my electric razor, although I can;t claim it gives as good a shave as a wet shave.

Anonymous said...

And which bit of 1984 and the shortage of razor blades do you need explaining?

James Higham said...

I use 30p for ten ASDA razors and they do the job fine. The foam comes from the bath soap.

Eddie Willers said...

Time to go back to how your grandfather shaved - a single, double-edge blade in a stainless steel razor.

There's plenty of very good quality brand blades on the market at around 10p each and good for 5 shaves.

Or, as others suggest, go back to your great-grandfather's day and use a 'cut-throat'. A properly honed, quality steel straight razor, kept sharp is a real joy to use and gives good 'zen' moments to the morning ablution.

There's some great fora too on 'teh interwebz' - go check out 'Badger & Blade'.