The Cutting Edge


This is a product review, but first you need some history. You may not actually need some history, but here it is, anyhow.

My first encounter with shaving was the Navy. They insisted I be clean shaven. This despite the fact that I was not yet at the point I needed to shave. I was still in high school, and I signed up for the Navy Reserve. They insisted that I shave.

Truth be known, there was one small matter. A whisker, a real whisker, had sprouted itself upon my chin. I needed to take care of that. No matter is too small to not get the attention of the United States Navy. So I had to shave it. So I acquired a safety razor, much to the curiosity of my father.

Dad, I don’t think, ever used a safety razor. He had this straight edge, along with a leather strap for honing it. And other purposes. I was gratified on being able to discuss new technology with my father. I explained how I didn’t need the cup with the shaving soap, but I was going to use that stuff that came in a spray can. He was curious. And the lone hair went the way.

By three years later I was heading home from two years on aircraft carriers and with a beard that did need a razor. About this time I was headed for college, and the Norelco shaver must have been some kind of birthday present, because I recall I had it in college, but not so much after that.

I do recall something else from college. I recall a class I took in American history, and the text had a prologue about the American citizen. The American, the book reminded us, is a queer animal. He is willing to eschew the simple blade over an electric shaver that laboriously gnashed whiskers to death. I recall that “gnash” was the actual word used.

The Norelco was like that. It had two “floating heads” as described in their sales pitch. Rotating blades chopped off any whisker that dared poke its way through between the slots in the guard. And that was the problem with the Norelco. What was between the skin and the inside of the guard was left uncut. The history book had it right. I went back to the blade.

Fifty years came and went, and the only thing that changed was the advent of the double blade. The first blade lifted each whisker, and the second cut it off, supposedly below the skin. And mostly no skin got cut.

And that brings me to today’s product review. I was seeing ads on TV. With the new shavers you can shave in the shower. Think of the savings. By the time your body is clean, so is your face. I looked into some of these. They were good. Supposedly. Very good. Like $250 and up. The disposable razor was still looking good.

Barbara Jean asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I mentioned the shavers advertised on TV. It was looking like setting money on fire. How about these on the shelf at H-E-B? Like $40. I took a look. Memories of the Norelco came back. We left them on the shelf and checked out.

Came a couple of weeks ago, and Barbara Jean announced good news. She had some coupons for Kohl’s to burn. Did I need anything? As a matter of fact, yes. We decided to take a look. Coupons in hand, we strolled the aisle, looking at shavers.

How about this one? Too much like the Norelco. In fact it was the Norelco. How about this one? That looks like the one. It’s the Remington XF8700. Just what I need. Cordless, you can shave in the shower. Much better than the others on the shelf nearby. How much?

I toted the box over to the price check station. $199.99. Pretty close to $200. Pricey, but Barbara Jean had coupons to burn. She checked the coupons. Today was Tuesday. One of the coupons was not good until Thursday. It was going to be worthwhile to drive back on Thursday. We could wait.

Came Thursday. I didn’t shave that morning. I was going to test my new shaver. Barbara Jean was concerned Kohl’s would sell out of the XF8700 before we got there, so we hustled over right after Kohl’s opened up. Yes, they still had them on the shelf. And we had the coupons. But first another price check. I walked the box over and scanned it.

$99.99! They had cut the price in half in just two days. Slam on the coupons, and we were going to pay $77.93, including tax. What’s not to like?

And the history book is still correct. It’s not the same as a blade. You have to massage your chubbies a few times to get yourself down to five hours’ growth. But it’s still cool. And what is particularly cool is the $125 that dropped into our pockets through the magic of strategic shopping.

About John Blanton

I'm a retired engineer living in San Antonio, Texas. I have served in the Navy, raced motorcycles, taken scads of photos and am usually a nice guy. I have political and religious opinions, and these opinions tend to be driven by an excess of observed stupidity. Gross stupidity is the supposed target of many of my posts.
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1 Response to The Cutting Edge

  1. I’m convinced that something problematical happens to facial skin after 65 or so. I have a devil of a time getting a close shave, and now the attack has become complicated: Williams Pre-Shave (cheap stuff no bueno), electric with the 3-rotor job. Then triple blade safety throwaway razors. Then trip again with the back-and-forth Philips. This applies to head as well but it’s getting a close facial that’s the important part. And there always seem to be tufts and scrubby patches left over, even after all three stages.

    I’ve also cut out dairy products (from 2013) and subsequently lost a lot of subcutaneous fat. So my skin sags a bit and I look considerably older. This may also cause contact problems with the electric shavers. In any case I am pretty disgusted. But not disgusted enough to let the beard grow. I tried a mustache at the end of last year and eventually got so annoyed I whisked it off.

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