August 5, 2011

I Can't Stop Editing...Someone, Please, Stop Me!

I hate shaving.  Always have, probably always will.

Many years ago, after much comparison shopping, I settled on the single-blade Bic shaver and Barbasol shaving cream.  Don't give me those 3- or 4- or 5-blade pretenders; they're just poorly veiled excuses to get more and more money out of us for a product that doesn't do the job any better.

Still, even with the best equipment, shaving is a nuisance. It only takes 4-5 minutes per day and costs me about $3 a month, but those minutes and dollars are very precious to me these days. So at the suggestion of my father in-law, I sought out a Remington electric the other day. Perhaps I can save a few minutes a week and amortize the cost over a couple of years, and come out ahead.  The jury is still out, but the early signs are not good.

I went straight to Walmart, where I expected to find a bargain. As luck would have it, these priceless specimens ($24.95, plus the highest sales tax rate in the nation) were locked inside a glass case as if they were fine jewelry. The clerk wouldn't even let me touch the package or read the label; she rushed me over to the nearest checkout counter, and handed it to the cashier.  

Menace to society.
Apparently she assumed that I would try to shove that bulky package into my pocket and rush out the door. I found this amusing, because just a few months ago I bought an external hard drive for five times the price, and the electronics clerk shoved the box into my hand and ran away as fast as he could. Oh, well.

Once home, I did something I never do: I opened the box and actually read the directions. Turns out, this all-important document said very little about how to use the gadget. Instead, clearly, it was commandeered by the company lawyers. Evidently spelling, punctuation, grammar, and just plain common sense didn't count on their Bar exams.

First and foremost, they're concerned about keeping the thing dry.  Since some electric shavers are designed to work in the shower, perhaps it's necessary to give that warning once. Perhaps even twice.  But eleven times? I keep forgetting, lawyers charge by the hour. Can't be too careful. Still, some of these warnings seem just plain silly. Please understand, I'm a writer, and I just can't stop editing:

"Do not submerge in water." As if anyone ever does such a thing on purpose?

"Close supervision is necessary when this appliance is used by, on, or near children."  You mean, children with beards?  Or preadolescent bodybuilders with chest hair? Silly me, I never knew.

"Do not store in temperatures exceeding 140 degrees F."  As if I have a choice?

"Detach removable power cords from appliance for storage."  Oh, and not the hard-wired type?

"The power unit is intended to be correctly oriented in a floor mount position."  I have no idea what that means, or what the power unit is, or why any part of the gizmo should ever be mounted anywhere near the floor.

Maybe I will learn to love this new shaver. Perhaps, like Victor Kiam a generation ago, I will feel compelled to buy the whole company. But for now, it's a whole new world that I have yet to imagine.

Stay tuned.

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