“They ain’t curing AIDS. Shit, they ain’t
never curing AIDS. Don’t even think about
that shit. They ain’t curing it, ’cause
there ain’t no money in the cure. The money’s
in the medicine. That’s how you get paid, on
the comeback. That’s how a drug dealer makes
his money, on the comeback.”
– Chris Rock, Bigger & Blacker
One of the things I want to point out in this series of articles is how companies manage to give you less for more. The funny part about this is that they will usually do this in the name of advancement or convenience. And sometimes this is true. However, most of the time, it’s an excuse to make you buy something more expensive that is less permanent. Making money ‘on the come back’ isn’t just a game the pharmaceutical companies play, it’s played everywhere.
Razors are a perfect example of this. My grandfather and yours too probably shaved with a shaving kit. It consisted of shaving cream, a small bowl with which to mix the cream, a brush with which to exfoliate the skin and apply the cream and a safety razor with refillable blades that only cost pennies.
Now you’re expected to buy something like the Gillette Fusion Proglide. You can buy this for eight bucks, which doesn’t seem too bad. But then you have to buy the refillable cartridges. Over at Amazon you can buy an 8-pack for just under thirty bucks, which works out to about $3.75 a razor. So let’s say you shave every three days and that each razor can be used three times. So that works out to $3.75 every nine days. That’s about 40 razors or $150 a year. And that’s not including shaving cream.
So what’s the alternative? Over at ClassicShaving.com you can purchase the Complete Celtic Shaving Kit for $99.99. It includes a stylish shaving mug, a high quality badger brush, a double edged, closed comb safety razor and ten blades. And you can buy thirty more for $18. (Three packs of six.) Even with purchasing new equipment, you’re still over thirty bucks ahead. Safety razors last for years. So in year two, Gillette guy is still spending $150 a year. Whereas the Classic Shaving guy is spending $24 a year or $6 per ten-pack. The bottom line is, even in today’s world, your grandfather had the right idea.
This is just one example of how companies have encouraged our disposable society. Other examples are things like mops. It used to be that you owned a mop. You had a bucket. You put soapy water in the bucket, you soaked the mop and you mopped your floor. All you had to buy was soap. Mops lasted for years. You can buy a good mop over at Amazon for twelve bucks. Now, they want you to buy a Swiffer WetJet for twenty bucks and refills for six bucks per twelve-pack.
This reverting back to the old way of doing things isn’t always best. You won’t see me telling you to turn in your iPod for a record player. However, the idea that you need to shave in five minutes with four blades or that your floor has to be clean to CDC standards is absurd. For starters, shaving can actually be enjoyable if you don’t rush it and take your time. And exposure to a reasonable amount of germs is what keeps your immune system working. A freshly mopped floor never killed anyone..unless they slipped on it.
My point is that there are hundreds of examples like this. The thing to remember is that unless your money is disposable, you shouldn’t be buying disposable items. There are often cost effective alternatives that last longer and are of better quality.
I’m not interested in showing you how to live like you’re poor. That’s not what this is about. It’s about living well with what you have, even if you don’t have much. This is important because the big companies are actually more afraid than you are. They’ve kicked their profit lusting into high gear and they don’t care who they hurt along the way. Netflix just lost 800,000 customers, but it doesn’t matter to them because they also just increased their profits 65%. McDonald’s just announced they’re increasing their prices. Of course they made sure that announcement was drowned out by the return of the McRib.
If we’re going to get through this without falling into poverty, we’re going to need to help each other. The one thing we can still share is information. That’s what this is about. That’s why I’m putting this online and not in a book. My hope is that these posts will become a conversation. Share it with your friends. Comment below if you’ve got other ideas that relate to this.
Thanks for reading.