What is up with the price of razor blades?
There are few cheap plastic items as horribly expensive as razor blades.
It’s insane! Gentleman, where is your outrage? If these prices keep rising the length of women’s skirts and dresses will have to fall. It’s time for consumers to ask some pointed questions of companies like Gillette and Schick?
By some estimates the simple act of shaving our face can cost as much as a dollar per shave. I have been shopping for Gillette Mach 3 blades but can’t bring myself to cough up $24 bucks for eight cartridges. I went shopping again today and was shocked when I saw the unit price for them is $291 per hundred. The 4 blade Fusion cartridges are $180 more per hundred, or $469.75/ hundred.
I started looking around on the internet and discovered that the prices of these stupid plastic razors has been soaring everywhere, even in the United Kingdom. By one account on a British Website the cost of razor blades has climbed by 99% three years to as much as £3.49 (or $5.59 US) per cartridge. According to that article in costs Gillette less than 10p (about 16 cents) to make. (see below)
If you listen to business analysts or industry spokes persons it is either brand loyalty or the high cost of shaving research and marketing expences that is driving up the cost. I don’t believe it. I suspect something akin to price fixing is behind it all. I think it is time for someone to investigate the shaving industry to see why the costs are skyrocketing.
The great razor rip off: Prices of blades soar by up to 99% in just three years
By SEAN POULTER
PUBLISHED: 18:26 EST, 27 April 2012
The price of razor blade cartridges has surged by as much as 99 per cent in just three years – driving many men to adopt designer stubble. The cartridges cost less than 10p to make, but shoppers are being charged as much as £3.49 each. The biggest player, Gillette, has imposed a stealth price rise by cutting the number of replacement cartridges in its Mach3 Turbo packs from five to four. [snip]
Allure Man Asks: Why Are Razor Blades So Damn Expensive?
If you, like me, can remember a time before razor blades were kept behind the drugstore counter along with the cigarettes and other controlled substances, then you probably also share my amazement at just how much they cost. A four-pack of Gillette Fusion Power razor cartridges retails for $19.49 at Walgreens. That’s, what, $4.87 for a week’s worth of shaves? Outrageous!
I put this question to Jeff Raider, a cofounder of Harry’s, a new online retailer that offers shaving supplies similar in quality to the major brands but at half the price: How did razor blades become fetish objects? All of the good ones, he says, are made from similar high-grade steel, which is then precision-milled to produce a blade that’s thick at the bottom, where it’s anchored to the plastic cartridge that clips onto your razor, yet thin as a single hair at the top, where it mows down morning stubble. “The steel is a very expensive product, but the real magic of a fine razor blade is how it’s ground,” says Raider.[snip]
Good Question: Why Are Razor Blades So Expensive?
October 21, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It can cost us anywhere between $20 and $30 dollars just to shave the hair from our faces or legs. Sometimes, the price of the razor blades is more expensive than the razors themselves.
So, why are razor blades so expensive? Good Question. [snip] Erin Lash is a senior equity analyst at Morningstar, anindependent investment research firm. She covers Gillette (owned by Proctor & Gamble), one of the the two dominant players in the razor market. Schick (owned by Energizer Holdings, Inc.) is the other company.
Lash says part of the reason razor blades are so expensive is because consumers are loyal to the brand.
“Once you buy a particular razor, there’s no substitution for the razor blade,” she said. “Companies have a great ability to charge up for the blade once you’re locked into the actual product,” she said.[snip
Why Are Razors So Darn Expensive?
Because shaving is a science.
So let’s do the math. In the photo above, a women’s package of razors costs $18.79 for five cartridges. If each cartridge lasts about a week, that comes out to about 54 cents a shave. Seems pricey, but what exactly goes into making a razor? Those stainless steel blades that you see are only a small part of the final product. [snip]
by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
Let me tell you about my free rooftop solar energy system which I recently had installed.
I’ve wanted solar energy for a long time, mostly because my wife and I are concerned about the global warming. We didn’t convert years ago because of the high cost and slow rate of return on the initial investment. We live in Northern New Jersey which has considerably less sunlight than, say, Arizona. When I first looked into it, solar panels were far less efficient than they are today so the cost/benefit for us couldn’t be justified.
Now we are retired and improved solar panels have really lowered investment recovery times, but we may want to downsize or relocate in the next few years. We don’t want a solar energy project that won’t be paid off before we sell.
The solution for us was one of the new solar energy lease program that installs and maintains the entire system for free over a period of years. The solar panels send power directly to the power grid in an arrangement with the utility companies know as “net metering”. The solar electricity generated is deducted by the utility company from the power that I use. When we generate more power than we use the utility company gives us a credit. On months when we use more power than we generate we apply the accumulated credits and pay for any difference.
There is a catch, of course. The company who owns the system on our roof also owns the electricity it generates. We pay them for the solar electricity that we use, power which the original utility company no longer supplies. In effect, the solar energy company becomes our energy provider. For the use of our roof the solar company sells us this electricity at a discounted rate. In our case we paid nothing for the system, we will pay nothing for its maintenance over the next 20 years and we will save on our electricity bill each month. Our solar electric rate is structured to increase the amount we will save each year over time relative to our current provider. We were told that over twenty years we should save about eighteen-thousand dollars by switching to solar through this lease program.
The real beneficiary in all this is the environment. Over the course of one month we prevent over a quarter ton of carbon from entering the atmosphere. That’s three tons a year or sixty tons over the next twenty years. Through conservation measures our electric use is already half what a typical homeowner uses, so most people would save even more on carbon emissions. If everyone on our block had rooftop solar the atmosphere would be spared well over 3,000 tons of carbon a year.
How did we pick a solar energy company? I would like to say we shopped and compared, but it didn’t happen that way. I stopped to talk with a person offering information on rooftop solar at a kiosk in Home Depot. This lead me to invite a sales representative from Rooftop Diagnostic to come to our home. The representative explained how the lease option worked and confirmed that our house was a candidate for a solar based on our homes orientation and the amount of sunlight it gets. Rooftop Diagnostics only designs, installs and maintains the system for a company called Enphase Energy and neither of these two companies are affiliated with Home Depot.
Under a net metering arrangement homeowners are not allowed to produce more power than they use. This means that rooftop solar installations can’t be designed to produce more than 100% of the homeowners average annual energy use. The initial electricity rate the solar company charges is somewhat negotiable, but it should be at or slightly below what the utility company charges now. Under our Enphase Energy contract our initial electric rate will increase by 3.5% per year, which they say is half of the historic rate increase for our current energy provider. That might sound like a lot, but the inflation rate over the past 10 years is 2.3%, so inflation alone accounts for most of the increase. In our specific case, our energy charge would start at about $36.00 per month and it will end up about $67.00 per month in twenty years. The power utilities also charges a delivery service charge each month based on energy use. Since about 96% of our electricity will come from the electricity generated on our roof, our delivery service charge will be 96% less per month as well. Also, while our current electric rates vary seasonally, our solar energy rates remain the same each month.
After I first met with the solar representative, I searched the internet for more information to comparison shop, but didn’t find what I was looking for. I wanted a database listing companies that provide solar leasing options but there are none at present. A lot of companies on the internet offer solar instillations but important details are lacking. Unfortunately, internet information about solar electric companies is not as organized as is information about the sham alternative energy retailers that “compete” to sell you lower electric rates. These companies are wholesale purchasers of electricity who offer crazy gimmicks and low introductory rates to get you to buy power from them. It is a dog and pony show masquerading as a competitive energy market, but the only real competition the utility companies face is from the nascent “distributed energy” alternatives such as rooftop solar and wind power systems. Even though these true alternative energy sources are a tiny fraction of the energy market, the big utility companies are already organizing to protect their business model and market shares. If you think you might be interested in a rooftop solar system, to buy or lease, it would be wise to act soon because the current financial incentives will disappear if the energy industry has its way.
[PS: If you live in New Jersey and already have a rooftop system from Rooftop Diagnostics, they will pay you a referral fee for any new customers you refer to them. Other companies might offer similar incentives,so if you are thinking about getting a system, check with friends and family members who might benefit from this incentive program. To be clear, I am not soliciting referrals and I have no pecuniary motivation in writing this post.]