Gillette, Ready For Your Close-up?

Like others who have written about razors, I come to the subject cynically, with pent-up feeling of having been ripped off or, at least confused, every time I shop for them. And like others, some quality time with the plaster pieces of disposable metal and congealed sludge bring on some feelings of respect for the corporations that make them. Taking high resolution photographs of these razors forces me to look at the smallest details and there are a lot of them. From top to bottom, there isn’t a millimeter of space that doesn’t show some serious engineering.

Photo: Mark Wylie

Here is a close-up. At the edges, a razor is only a few atoms wide, or so I’ve read. They’re thin enough that reflected light never hits a full set of camera color pixels, leading to full-scale color artifacts. In other words, all those reds, greens, blues, etc., of sparkle are not from colored lights, they result because the camera can’t resolve the fine detail of the blades.

Photo: Mark Wylie

If ever there’s proof that capitalism can’t solve every problem it’s in the shaving business. The drug stores don’t want to lose money from people stealing the blades and the razor companies don’t want to stop producing premium product. It’s ironic that anyone who complains about the high price of razor blades is dancing on the razor companies’ graves. I could buy a cheap razor easily, but I could not buy the expensive one without hunting down a clerk. That’s so difficult SNL even did a skit about the lack of help at drug stores! What that means is that the current state of affairs is this: the razor companies pay a lot of money for shelf-space that has become a razor prison.

Whatever one might say about the current state of the razor industry, dull is not one of them (put intended!).

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