A Close Shave With Gillette
Jude Wanniski
April 7, 1999


Memo To: Gillette's President Alfred Zeien
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Mach 3 Razor

When I was a boy, I saw a movie called "Cheaper by the Dozen," with Clifton Webb playing an efficiency expert who has a dozen children. He teaches them how to button their shirts in record time and explains that they will be able to save weeks of their lives if they learn how to button efficiently. I'm now almost 63 years old and have been shaving daily since I was 17. Except for a year and a beard in Alaska, I've been shaving with your razor blades. I do recall the blue blades of my youth, which caused me to lose pints of blood in a year's time, but they still were the best on the market for the price. It was a month ago that I spotted your Mach 3 in a WalMart display in Milford, Pennsylvania, and decided to buy even though I have a year's supply of your Sensor razor, which I suppose is the Mach 2 blade. It was when I first passed the Mach 3 over my chin that I thought of Clifton Webb, and realized that of the remaining time the Good Lord has allotted me, I would be able to save 30 seconds every morning by using Mach 3. It is absolutely divine. Swish, swish and the whiskers are gone. I'm sorry to inform you, though, that I am a Depression baby, and a cheapskate when it comes to personal items. I had determined that I could shave for one solid month with your Sensor, which meant I changed blades on the first of the month. I've now gone five weeks with Mach 3, and there is almost no sign that it is slowing down. It may make it for a sixth week!! I figure that if I had been shaving with the Mach 3 for the past 45 years, I would have saved an average of one minute per day, thereby saving I would have spent 16,425 fewer minutes scraping my face, and saved God knows how many quarts of blood.

Alas, I see in The WSJournal that your earnings are down for the quarter and your stock price has come down several dollars as a result. Pay no attention to the short run. As word gets out that you have the greatest shaving instrument ever developed, saving billions of men trillions of minutes in front of the morning mirror, you will be justly rewarded at the bottom line. With the visit this week of China's Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji, you should present him with a Mach 3. As soon as word gets out, a few hundred million Chinese males of shaving age will contemplate a purchase! My congratulations to you and all the people at Gillette for your contribution to history, civilization, mankind, and my time and face.