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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

One word: Plastics

And another thing. In case you think I'm too serious with all this technology-will-take-over-the-world stuff:

I've been very upset with Kyan on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for some time now. He always seems to have some sort of moral high ground when it comes to shaving. Well, I'm not buying it. He says "don't shave fast", but it's only when I think about shaving, slow down, pay attention, that I seem to cut myself. I shave my face every day. I have done for some time. It has not fallen off or gotten worn out from the way I shave - which by the way, is considered "dry" by many people - again the groomaratzi seem to think if you don't use product "shaving gel" or something manufactured by the French that you're doing it wrong. I'm here to say that that's not true. A person can very happily shave with just hot water, or maybe some soap, or as I've been doing lately lotion - just a touch on a wet face helps the razor along nicely. And before you say maybe these shaving companies know best because they do a lot of research - have you seen these multiple blade razors? We're working on 4-blade razors these days. This is crazy. We could say either Gillette knows nothing about a close shave, or there's not much to know. It's a simple thing. But they are trying to sell you things. I've also been using a very basic single blade set up for years now and always get the best, most painless shave from this simple assembly. But how can the razor companies compete if the only have one product to sell - a boring old single razor job - when they could instead be making up names like Mach III and creating clever graphics of razors lifting and cutting hairs.

Which brings me to paper clips. Who manufactures them and what are the market differentiators between the paper clip manufacturers? Do some paper clip salesmen try to sell based on better metal? or is it all based on clips per kilo, or what? I'm just taking it for granted that there is more than one paper clip manufacturer in the world - I mean that's what anti-trust laws are for, right? But I guess my point is that I used to think that there were all these businesses out there in the world just doing their thing, making stuff and selling it. And I used to think that they knew what they were doing - that the way business was done was established and known. But come to find out, most businesses are hanging on by their fingernails and making it all up as they go along. So, in theory, there could be a corporate spy somewhere out in the world trying to undermine a rival paper clip companies advantage. But it's beyond me what that advantage would be - which would be one reason I'd think twice before going into paper clips.

Update Sept 2011: Paper Clips:The eleven billion paper clips used each year in this country are made largely in the United States, perhaps because there are 100%+ tariffs on the import of paper clips from abroad. Yet ACCO, the number one American clip maker, reports that paper clips account for less than one percent of their sales. Some of ACCO’s 38 paper clip-making machines are more than fifty years old. One rival company claims it does not understand how Americans use so many paper clips, namely 35 per American.

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