Over on Enrevanche, back in November, Barry posted a nice piece called "Give Away the Razor, Sell the Blades." Its genesis was his receiving in the mail a new Fusion razor from Gillette. Well, the sales gimmick must have paid off in New York, because now they're getting to the rest of the country. Check this out:
No, really, check it out. Especially that little tray that my current razor is sitting in. I've had that little tray, called a Razormate, since around 1996, when an article came out about them in The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, VA. It wasn't an ad; rather, it was a full page story about the Razormate. The author, a regular staffer for the paper, had been using one for about two months. He hadn't changed blades in all that time. Hmmm. Rarely does a newspaper article take the form of a testimonial, but here was one, complete with a plausible explanation for how it might actually work. I was a physics major before I decided humanities would do me more good as an officer, so I thought I was a pretty good judge of what was and wasn't snake oil. This didn't seem to be.
Here's the principal, in brief. Razor edges don't actually dull, they bend. They bend because they're so fine. Because they're so fine, a good strong magnet, properly oriented, can straighten them out.
But don't take my word for it. Follow some of the links from this page, and read about it yourself. I couldn't find a link from that page to buy one, but I did find it for sale here, near the bottom of the page. I get no money from this folks; just passing along something that works for me.
As for whether it really does work or not, you can take my word for that. I change blades every couple of months. No. Really. Every couple of months, more on principal than out of necessity. I gave one of these to my dad, my father-in-law, my best friend, my brother-in-law. I knew that my colleagues in the English department, over-educated as we all are, would be skeptical, so I loaned one to a friend about a year ago. He wouldn't give it back.
I can't say how well it will work on this newest blade configuration (angles matter, composition of the metal probably matters). But if you're using a Trac-II, or an Excel, which they were giving away before the Fusion--trust me, it'll work. Stay tuned to this site, though, and in a couple months, I'll let you know how well it works on the Fusion, and whether or not I've had to fork over $13.29 for a pack of blades or not.