© Geoffrey Heard 2014
Some years ago I asked at my local supermarket in Melbourne, Australia, whether they had the ordinary double-edged safety razor blade in stock.
"Oh no, nobody wants them so we don't carry them. They probably don't even make them now. Why don't you check in aisle whatever and pick up some of those handy disposable plastic razors?" was the reply.
Nobody wants them? Who told you that? I want them -- and I am sure a lot of others do too.
I did not want handy disposable razors, I wanted the double edged blades that made Mr Gillette an enormous fortune and which are so useful, not only for scraping your face but also for lancing boils, scraping old rego stickers off car windows, trimming random loose threads, etc., etc.
But I could not find them in Melbourne. My barber suggested checking the hairdressers and smaller supermarkets in Springvale Road (a multi-ethnic hub -- don't miss the cheap Asian restaurants when you go there!). I dutifully did, but was referred on again. I gave up -- how many shops do you want to traipse through in search of a razor blade?
I suppose having succumbed to disposable razor blades instead of a lifelong attachment to an old cut-throat blade, we must accept some of the blame for having the next step foisted on us -- the disposable razor, and then having that turned into a pseudo tech item that gets more complex, bigger, and more expensive almost by the day.
So it was with a happy cry that returning to paradise in Rabaul, I spotted the good old double edged razor blade and a safety razor to use it with, in the first store I went into -- and then found they were ubiquitous.
At a cost of pennies.
And with familiar brand names and distributed by Proctor & Gamble, Australia! Gillette Blue Blades (they were actually the later stainless steel ones), and BIC. There were some unfamiliar brand names too. :)
I bought razor and blades immediately and have used them with a sense of self-satisfied vindication ever since.
It is so good to drag the simple blade over the cracks and crannies of the aged face -- or at least that part of it that I allow to be not bearded.
And to see people using these blades for some of their other purposes, such as lancing boils and picking away warts, and even applying them in ways I consider rather beyond the boundaries of common sense, such as cleaning their teeth (I kid you not).
They are in production and people still want them.
"People" that is -- not "consumers".
Oh, and don't let me get started on the magic of the razor comb for trimming the beard. Costs about 90 cents Australian, and comes complete with two of the magic blades.
Incidents like this really tell you something about how totally manipulated the "market" is in a developed country like Australia.
Leave no stone unturned in the search for ever greater corporate profit. ###