Gillette - the best a man can get, if he's more money than sense
The first sign that times are hard in the Smith household, is that Gillette Mach 3 razors are crossed off the list for the big shop. Inevitably I'll try using the electric shaver for several days, then leave it too long until I have the beginnings of a Brian Blessed-style beard. At that point my only recourse is the blade, and I have no option but make an attempt using the wife's disposables. It's like the back room of an abattoir.
I never learn, but I can't justify spending a tenner on bloody razor blades. But it gets more ridiculous; if you want the best a man can get, the cheapest price we found for Gillette Fusion Power cartridges is £18.53 for 8 - that's £2.32 each. So it comes as no surprise that, according to Consumer Champion, the retail pricing of shaving products is under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The site claims that the razors cost just 5p to produce each. Of course there are plenty of products on the shelves of supermarkets that cost pennies to produce and are substantially marked up by the manufacturer, but the likes of Gillette are well-practised at selling its products as aspirational lifestyle products, rather than necessities to get the job done. You should pay more, say Gillette, because you'll be more successful in life if you do. In fact Gillette are so good at selling this concept to the gents, that in 1999 the company was valued at $43 billion, while the value of the brand - the name above the door and what what it represents to customers - was estimated to be worth $16 billion. In other words, regardless of the product or how good it was, simply printing their name on it increased the company's value by over a third.
All of which goes to explain why the price you pay for an 8 pack of Gillette Fusion Power cartridges is a mark-up on the cost of production of over 4,500%. And if you are paying that price for a shave, Gillette also provides a service to have MUG tattooed across your forehead. But it'll cost you.