Falling for the Infinity Razor
GILLETTE and Schick make more money selling razor blades than razors, right?
So, if someone invented a permanent razor blade, they would do anything they could to keep it off the market, right?
That's why I was willing to believe the claim made in a television infomercial: that the Infinity Razor has a blade that will shave as well in 10 years as it does today. Some brilliant entrepreneur, I persuaded myself, had invented a permanent blade, but was forced - by corporate oligarchs - to offer it only on late-night television.
And that's how I found myself at Theinfinityrazor.com. Ordering was an experience in itself, a lesson in the seamy side of e-commerce. A small window in the corner of my screen played the commercial, with its high-tech name-dropping (carbon steel, tungsten carbide) and absurd claim making. ("The last razor you'll ever have to buy. To prove it, we shaved grit off sandpaper ... ")
I was required to enter my credit card number before proceeding, never a good sign. And then, after making a selection - two Infinity razors for $19.95 - I was bombarded with additional offers.
How about four extra razors? O.K., you don't want four extras, so how about two? What about steak knives? Or a fogless shaving mirror? (Since I shave in the shower, I agreed to that one.)
Then I was told that "regular" shipping would take four to six weeks, an eternity to someone trying to prove the replaceable razor blade consortium corrupt. So I chose "rush." Suddenly, with $18.90 in shipping and handling fees, my $19.95 razor (plus fogless mirror) was costing $56.75.
And there was no turning back. Once I chose a shipping option - expecting a chance to review my order - the Web site thanked me for my patronage. My money was gone, like the ball in the last hole of a miniature golf course.
I felt swindled. And that was before the razor arrived. Distinguished only by a red infinity symbol on its gray handle, it was a flimsy disposable razor, barely long enough for a grown-up to hold on to.
And here's the rub (and I mean rub): The blade was so dull it wouldn't shave me even once, much less thousands of times. I got a cheek massage instead. For a shave, I relied on my Gillette Mach3 (which, by the way, is an excellent razor, though it does require expensive replacement blades).
I decided to see if I could get a refund. Searching for "infinity razor" on Google, I discovered Infomercialratings.com, a site where people evaluate the products sold in the wee hours. The Infinity Razor received scathing reviews, with headings like "Low Quality" and "Just don't waste your money." If only I had Googled before buying.
Back at Theinfinityrazor.com, I read the fine print: "The Infinity Razor comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee - which means if you ever think it is not shaving you as close as it should, send it back, and we will send you a replacement."
The last thing I wanted was a replacement. In fairness, there was also a money-back offer, but it didn't include the cost of shipping. I would have to stand in line at the post office to return the razor, hoping to receive $19.95 (in four to six weeks?).
I wrapped the Infinity Razor and shoved it into a drawer. And then it occurred to me: The promise the company made is true. The razor will shave exactly as well in 10 years as it does today.