No vendors. No forums. Just pure impact.

Timeo hominem unius libri, or B&Bgate 2012, film @11

February 1, 2012 — R

Once in a while, I punish myself by reading shaving forums.  Today I did it again, and what I encountered at B&B was interesting.  The same kind of "interesting" demented minds represent to psychiatrists. The thread in question is aptly called "I Will never buy another Thater brush!"

So what happened? Someone bought a brush from one of B&B's pet vendors. I do not know the shop owner, nor have I conducted any business with him. I had a look at his offerings, and they look sound, with a decent variety of good products. Straight Razor Design's offerings are better in my personal opinion. Which means, of course, everyone should properly research various vendors before shopping, but that is - I hope - a somewhat superfluous statement among adults. But I digress. The brush in question can be seen here. It looks different from my brushes when they have dried:

Dried as they should be. No lumps, no clogging up. The same brushes, different angle.

Why do mine look different? Simply because I read the care instructions. Here is the gist:

  1. Thäter brushes are densely stuffed. If you do not flick the excess water out of them after rinsing, they will inevitably lump together. As an aside, and despite being a natural product, badger hairs do not move on their own. The picture shown on B&B shows a brush that dried in this state, it did not lump on its own.
  2. Badger hair consists of a protein. If you overheat it, it will denaturate. If you do not understand it, just accept it as a fact. 
  3. Many soaps, and Mitchell's Wool Fat in particular, contain tallowate. If you are using hard water, these may produce calcium or magnesium salts that are difficult to remove and result in a white plaque. Unless you properly rinse the brush, and shampoo the brush from time to time, the brush will deteriorate. 
  4. Thäter do not cut the tips of the hairs, so these are doubly sensitive. Face lathering in swirling motions will inevitably damage the tips of these hairs, leading to a decreased life expectancy of the brushes. That is the price one has to pay for the luxurious softness. An analogy that even a redneck will understand: Thou shalt not tow thy trailer with a Maybach or else the Maybach will break. Use a cheap pickup truck for that. Replace Maybach with Thäter, towing trailers with building lather, and pickup truck with cheap brush. 

Anyway, according to the person who started the thread, he believed that his brush was defective, and returned it. Now, imagine you just bought a  Maybach (I am choosing a car analogy knowing well that they are prone to misuse, but a Maybach is a German car, just like the Thäter brush is a German brush). Imagine that Maybach behaved in an odd way. Would you ship it back to Germany, or would you bring it back to the  Maybach retailer who sold you the car? 

Right, so the thread starter did the odd thing and went direct instead of reaching out to the retailer who sold him the brush for reasons which are beyond me, but that is alright - most wet shavers behave in odd ways at times.

So what did the manufacturer do? He did what almost any other manufacturer would have done - he steered the purchaser back to the retailer. After all, that is what retailers are for in the first place - they buy products, add a profit margin, and act as an intermediary between the manufacturers and customers in the event that manufacturing problems arise. One has to keep in mind that Thäter are a very small company. That is why you cannot buy from them direct, and also why they rely on their retailers to handle customer service - at least that is my personal take on the situation.

Apparently, the retailer handled the situation. Which is how business should be conducted. A laudable course of action, albeit the default one amongst decent retailers.

So where is the problem? The problem is how the forum is handling this. Why any forum would allow posts that border on libel is beyond me. Why they would allow users to create threads in that fashion, and let these threads grow to epic proportions, without visual proof, is also beyond me. Why moderators would let that happen with products that are known to be outstanding even more so.   It must be said that it is not suprising though because it is par for the course at this particular forum.

As an aside, I have used about twenty Thäter brushes by now. Out of these twenty, one had a manufacturing defect and was replaced (and, incidentally, upgraded) immediately. Having visited their production facilities, I can vouch for their painstaking attention to detail. A while ago, there were reports on spots of paint on Thäter handles. Let me put it like this: there is no paint on Thäter's premises. None. Not even white-out. How the paint got onto the handles before the allegedly incriminating pictures were posted is anyone's guess. 

So, today, in the world of pet vendors, and backstabbing, clueless fanboys, the proudest boast is "Ich bin kein Mitglied bei B&B!" Shame on the forum, its malicious fanboys, and its administration. 

PS Coincidences, coincidences. Just when Thäter brushes had become the biggest hype on B&B, they launch two Limited Edition two band brushes. Well, de gustibus and all that, and maybe some people love handles that look like sex toys for elderly gentlemen. But let us stick to the facts:

  1. 22mm knot,  USD 175. SRP Limited Edition two band: 26mm knot, USD 140.
  2. Two band hair used: short (mind the tiny amount of white). SRP Limited Edition: best quality long two band hair used. The long hair is considerably more expensive.

Interesting, is it not? Because - unlike at SRP - somebody at B&B is making a nice profit from this group buy. 

PPS This is a picture of one of the most recommended brushes on B&B. One of our other authors will publish a full review shortly. Expect some Cutthroat Crew objectivity. We take no prisoners when it comes to bad products, because we have no approved vendors here on this site. For exactly that reason.

Look, Ma, it's broken...

PPPS As an afterthought, we have decided to refuse all applications for accounts on this site from any member of B&B (yes, that means no access to our secret marketplace where we offer top tier shaving products we have used and reviewed at buying price). 

Comments (1)

Shaving is serious business.

I have been using the same 24MM Thater brush daily since 04/2010. I face lather, which is against recommendations, but have not seen any of these issues. My daily routine after shaving.

  1. Thoroughly rinse brush and shake out excess water
  2. Gently brush against towel and hang until next use.

I have not had any shedding or loss of softness following this complicated routine.

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