No vendors. No forums. Just pure impact.

Let's discuss prices, shall we?

February 24, 2012 — R

Today, I came across an interesting thread in which a beginner wanted to know whether the US$ he had paid for an unused Henckels 70 1/2 with original box were too much. A perfectly valid question in my opinion, especially from someone completely new to buying razors. But one of SRP's senior moderators quashed it, stating, "You do realize that we don't allow valuations on SRP". Which made me wonder. Because if they aim at being the leading straight razor related online resource, why not use their superior knowledge to help their members to pay the right amount of money for their equipment? Why not, indeed?

Let's take a look at the exact wording in SRP's rules of conduct first: 

Solicitations, valuations, and sales are not allowed on Straight Razor Place, including the Chat, except in the Vendors and Auctions sections, and the Classifieds, under the respective rules. SRP's aims to help members in all aspects of wet shaving and straight razor techniques, it is not a marketing site. Furthermore the nature of appraisals, be they for items or services, is highly subjective.

Interestingly, the classifieds section has the following entry:

Price discussion regarding classified ads is prohibited in open comments anywhere on the site. This discussion needs to take place via personal message or email between the concerned persons.

So, no discussion there, either. 

If you consider buying any of these, you should consult a psychiatrist first.

But consider this instead. Until a few years ago, Filarmonica razors were considered decent razors with scales that can best be described as dysfunctional and fugly. But for unknown reasons, their prices increased. Dramatically. I was shocked to realise that I own a razor in excellent condition that sells for €375 these days. Granted, mine does not have the cheap cardbox, but then again, it's not got the round point but a spike. 

In short, this is madness. However, as a beginner, I could not use the leading online resource for straight razors and the vast, superior knowledge of its members and managers because... "SRP is not a marketing site"? I'm sorry, but that is a lot of complete and utter bollocks. SRP is a marketing site. It is the second most successul viral marketing site in the shaving scene. And that is not necessarily bad. Let's check a definition for viral marketing fist: 

The ultimate goal of marketers interested in creating successful viral marketing programs is to create viral messages that appeal to individuals with high social networking potential (SNP) and that have a high probability of being presented and spread by these individuals and their competitors in their communications with others in a short period of time.

The term "viral marketing" has also been used pejoratively to refer to stealth marketing campaigns—the unscrupulous use of astroturfing online combined with undermarket advertising in shopping centers to create the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm. [Wikipedia]

SRP has almost forty thousand users, and gazillions of threads. Without viral marketing, this would never have happened. Unlike the more sordid Badger & Blade, it has managed that with comparatively little of the negative aspects of viral marketing mentioned in the second paragraph. 

Bay warnining- MINT NOS SRD Cut Throat Straight Razor-*SHAVE READY*In short, I just don't get it. Take a look at the image to the right. The razor was bought in SRP's classifieds section, then auctioned off with a profit of about US$300. Yet I would not be allowed to discuss that price on SRP, because valuations are subjective? Yeah, right. Of course they are. Just like everything else in this hobby, valuations are subjective. The quality of shaving edges is also subjective, yet some people call themselves honemeisters. The visual appeal of custom scales is subjective. I think that most of them look as though someone had tried to turn a bowling ball into an adult toy for elderly gentlemen from the US, then changed his mind halfway between and added more garish colours instead. Others think they're adorable. Of course it's all bloody subjective. 

I would like to offer an alternative explanation instead. Imagine a discussion about - to take an arbitrary example - custom scales. What if their prices were publicly discussed. I am quite certain that some people would regret their purchases all too quickly. For unknown reasons, no-one ever bothered to analyse these scales methodically, but from what I have seen, most are amateur jobs using cheap materials (not to mention the colours, man, the colours...). Taking into account that they easily go for US$200 or more, I think a discussion of their prices is long overdue. 

That said, I still maintain that razor appraisals are useless, simply because there is no accounting for personal taste. But the reasons why the thread on SRP was killed, and why similar threads have been, and will be, killed are wrong. As is Badger & Blade's shameless use of the forum's viral marketing capabilities to push everyone they like (honi soit and all that - "kickback payment" seems as good a hypothesis as any) and systematically discredit those they don't like. 

Comments (1)

I couldn't agree more about the scales

I couldn't agree more about the scales. There are honestly only a few people who truly know how to make them. I puke every time I see a Hart or Buddel razor (plus many more but these two were on the top of my head). You'd think they'd figure out the balance and functional mechanics of scales before charging those prices.

This is something that really needs to be discussed. If most scale makers are charging similar prices, people should know who is going to deliver and who is in it to make a quick dollar. Same with all restoration and custom work.

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