The Stupidity of the American Consumer

RazorsEvery once in a while, I have to be reminded how stupid most Americans really are and how American companies can and do try to take advantage of the lack of critical thinking skills that most Americans have.  Case in point, I just bought a new pack of blades for my razor and they put a sticker on the package that reads: Gillette’s Best Shave About $1/wk**.  Now based on that, you might think it’s a really good bargain, after all, the blades cost $18, that means it ought to last about 4.5 months based on a dollar a week.  Simple, huh?

Not so fast, there’s that ** to deal with.  If you go and look in the tiny print, it says that figure is based on 4 shaves per week. Now who in the hell is only shaving 4 times a week?  Most people have to shave at least 5 times a week for work and this assumes they just don’t  bother on the weekends.  Sure, maybe I might skip shaving on a lazy Saturday when I have no other plans, but if I’m leaving the house, I’m shaving.  The same goes for Sunday, but since I’m always out and about on Sunday, that means that I’m always shaving that day.  That means that, at the very least, I’m shaving at least 6 times per week.  That is going to reduce the effectiveness of the blades and increase the cost.

So if we do a quick calculator exercise, if they’re calculating 4 shaves for 18 weeks, that’s 72 shaves you ought to get out of this pack of blades.  However, if we recalculate using a much more reasonable 6 shaves per week, that gives us only a 12 week supply.  That means it actually costs $1.50 a week, not the $1 as advertised.  Sure, that’s not a huge amount or anything but it’s the principle of the thing.  Gillette has to know that nobody is shaving 4 times a week.  They just picked that number so it would produce a nice round and cheap-looking number they could advertise and the American public falls for it without thinking about it at all.  Heck, if Gillette said these blades last forever, based on never using them at all in small print, I’m sure consumer sales would increase dramatically.  Let’s be honest, the only reason they put the sticker on there in the first place is to try to increase sales.  The only way it would increase sales is if potential customers lacked critical thinking skills and a calculator.

And that explains a lot about the American consumer today.

3 thoughts on “The Stupidity of the American Consumer”

  1. Corporations have been quite successful in derailing the sort of consumer protection laws that might be put in place to prevent fraudulent advertising, and some industries appear to be almost entirely unregulated (e.g., vitamin supplements) and free to make all sorts of outrageous claims. The package of razors is an interesting example. My guess is that consumer protection laws are the only reason the ** appears but that the laws are weak enough that this is deemed sufficient.

    My recent post Who Gets to Be Christian?

    1. Unless we really want to get into the business of protecting people from their own stupidity, which I don't, it doesn't really matter what the corporations do, if people weren't stupid enough to fall for it, they wouldn't bother. So long as they aren't telling out and out lies to people or entirely misrepresenting their products, the fault really lies in the hands of the consumers. It's well known that these replaceable blades have a 5000% markup. The only reason they sell handles is so they can sell blades. It's up to people to decide if it is worth the cost of the blades, that's a cost/benefit decision that is up to the individuals. I just find it a bit absurd that they're going to make some altogether silly statements, even when it takes a few seconds and not even having to look off the front of the product, to find out how ridiculous it is. Sure, lots of people will take it at face value but they've got no one to blame but themselves.

  2. that it is the best shave he ever had and he has had the same razor for a year now. there may be some learning ivolvned. You need to know how to sharpen it, and you shave differntly with it than with a modern razor. also be aware that if you get a cheap version the will often times be sharpened the wrong way and will need to be sent to a profesional knife grinder to be fixed. often time packagedin cardboard, marble handle and last forever, it is even somthing you can pass down. just a thoughtPamela

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