The Story of Stuff

Over on Metroblogging Austin M.L.Kellog posted a "Close Shave" article about razor blades in supermarkets, reading it, it seemed like a good chance to comment and post a link to the Story of Stuff. Yes, it's political and a lot of you will be voting soon, so something worth considering, see the Story of Stuff website.

Here was my response:

Ahh yes, one of the great marketing successes of our times, disposable razor blades. As you say, Razor brides are indeed highly prized and carefully secured because their high price of purchase makes you feel like you are being ripped off and so it wouldn't be so bad to have stolen them. They are often secured with security(RFID and other) tags in a supermarket as well as being stored in alarmed cabinets.

One of the few other things held in such high contempt as disposable razor blades are inkjet printer cartridges. Again, it simply can't and doesn't cost that much to make and manufacture them, yet again we are held hostage by the large corporations over pricing. They are also similarly secured often in places where they can be easily stolen.

The one thing both these treasured items have in common, planned obsolescence. Just as soon as you find a suitable alternative or replacement they change the design for the base unit, the razor, the printer, making any supply of the old stock and the old unit redundant. It's the culmination and masterstroke of the post 2nd world war consumer society.

The only thing one might ask about both the razor blade and inkjet printer pricing, is where is the legendary American consumer pricing protection, the anti-trust protection, ahh, it doesn't matter they are only razor blades.

Posted by: Mark Cathcart at January 11, 2008 06:56 AM
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Oh yeah
and you ever wonder why computer printers don't come with cables? Blame Best buy who refused to stock printers that did because then they couldn't make up a huge margin on the cable.
Re: Oh yeah
but the difference is pretty much all printers take the same either one of two cables USB or parallel. So, in principle, you can keep the cable and replace the printer and the computer... Hmm... let me think that through ;-)

Where as printer cartridges and razor blades change connectors for no good reason. The blades I bought for my 1990 Gillette razor used to fit fine and stay on ok, so I'll buy that they wanted to bring in triple/quad blade razors, but why change the connector? No reason...

Its pretty much the same for printer cartridges... the new Cannons are the worst, they have a chip on the cartridge which serves no real purpose except to look it out of being refilled.
Re: Oh yeah
Nice. Watched the video and was pleased by it. Pretty good stuff... I try to be as much of a minimalist as I can but I love training goodies... Well I know I don't put out as much trash as most... Anyway, though, you have any suggestions that are *good* for the razor blade situation?