Monday June 19, 2006
Today I bought a new razor, my feature-filled Braun beast having given up the ghost a couple of days back. I remember when I bought that one I complained loudly at the cost but in the end, after a short and messy experiment with a wet razor, was obliged to capitulate.
There was no way I could bring myself to capitulate today, though. The equivalent of the model that’d died is now priced at slightly over two hundred pounds! And, though it was close to the top of the range, there were a couple there that’d leave you insufficient change from two hundred and fifty for a cup of coffee to get over the shock.
“I am not, repeat not, paying that sort of cash just to scrape hair from my chin for a few more years,” I said.
“Can’t you manage with the old one for a few weeks?” Graham asked. “It’s your birthday in August and you never know what the Birthday Fairy might bring.”
“Nope. Not only will it not take a charge but it doesn’t run off the mains anymore. And if the Birthday Fairy brought me one of these I’d say he or she had more money than sense. Perishin’ technology. Why is it that every other technological gadget gets cheaper while shavers get more and more expensive?”
“It’s the battery technology. So, what are you going to do? You can’t walk about looking like that much longer.”
“Dunno. Wait a minute. Yes I do. I’ll buy an old fashioned one that runs straight off the mains like they all did in the days before battery technology.”
“You’ll be lucky. All these are rechargeables.”
“What’s that down there, on the bottom shelf?” I asked, pointing with my stick the way old guys whose bending days are over are wont to do.
“Ah. You clever old sausage. Yes. They’ve got three mains-only models here.”
“Not so much of the sausage. Which one shall I buy, then?”
So he pulled out three boxes and started comparing features and descriptions. “What features do you want?”
“I don’t want features. I just want cheap.”
He rejected a Remington model on grounds of prejudice, though I’d have gone for it happily because it was the cheapest. The Braun he rejected because it felt tinny and insubstantial. Finally, he opted for the most expensive, a three-head Philishave. Even so, it was about an eighth of the price of the one I’d decided might represent the end of my shaving days.
“This one. You used to love your old Philishave before you went over to Braun.”
“Right. Give us it ‘ere and I’ll go pay for it. Then I want coffee. Strong, hot coffee.”
“Good thinking. My treat.”
Soon enough I was sitting at a pavement table outside the Taunton Starbucks, sipping a mug of their house blend. Really rather mediocre, it was.
Graham’s coffee was no better, I deduced as I caught him grimacing after his first swallow.
“Not good?” I asked.
“They seem to have dropped the quest for quality here. It was bad last time, too.”
“Told you we should have gone to Caffe; Nero,” I said. “Or Costa Coffee. They both do reliably good coffee.”
“Next time.” He slurped the last of his unsatisfactory brew and strode off to do his shopping, leaving me sitting in the corner to watch the world go by. I enjoy watching the world go by almost as much as I don’t enjoy shopping.
Back home I took myself and my new razor off to the bathroom, plugged the neat little thing into the wall socket, and had my first shave for close on a week. My expectations hadn’t been high, so I was delighted to find that it’s a darn good shaver, working effortlessly through the stubble and leaving my face rather more smooth than it’s been in a long, long time. Not baby’s bottom smooth but then you’d probably want to consult a paediatrician or something if your baby’s bottom had a texture anything like my chin. Smooth enough, though.
“There you go,” I said. “Jolly good razor, this.”
“Good. Decent shave, too. It’s a vast improvement. Can’t be doing with you going about looking like the Wild Man of the West.”
“You’ll have to get used to it if they ever stop doing old fashioned mains razors.”
“We’ll see about that.”