February 20, 2014

Publisher's Notebook: Duck Dynasty secret revealed

By Willie Sawyers

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I think I’ve figured out how the Robertson men on “Duck Dynasty” became so wealthy. Sure, making duck calls has brought in a lot of money. But I believe a big portion of their wealth comes from not having to buy expensive razors.

As their long scraggly beards can attest, Willie, Jace, Si, Phil and the rest of the clan haven’t shaved in years. Think of all the money they’ve saved on razors, shaving cream and other facial hygiene products, as well as decent clothing, since they wear camouflage most of the time. No wonder they are wealthy.

Meanwhile, clean-shaven men like me struggle to pay for decent razors that have risen astronomically in price. Razor refills are so expensive they are held under lock and key at Walmart and most drug stores. It’s pretty bad when a man has to steal just to get a decent shave.

It would be nice if we didn’t have to shave every day, like the Robertsons. But most of us can’t pull off the mountain-man look. Sure, we can grow the long hair and the long beard, but without the Robertson’s money and panache, we’d just be scary people and be mistaken for the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

Personally, I think the Robertson men looked better when they were clean shaven. Check out their photos on the internet. They looked like yuppies in their golf attire and their young, beautiful wives.

Now that they’ve got millions of dollars in the bank and a hit TV show, they can look as scraggly and eccentric as they please and still keep the beautiful women around.

Would women still find them sexy if they didn’t watch the show and saw them out at Walmart? At least they wouldn’t be in there trying to stuff razors in their camouflage pants.

Razors join movie theater popcorn, bottled water and hotel mini bars as some of the most overpriced items on the planet. There’s absolutely no reason for the Gillette Pro Glide, the most popular razor, to cost nearly $10. That’s 40 bucks a month to make sure the five o’clock shadow doesn’t arrive before noon.

But where there’s men stealing razors, there’s opportunity. The high cost of a decent shave has led to several new startups, like the Dollar Shave Club, that will send razors to a man’s home for about half the price.

Of the startups, Dollar Shave Club has been the most successful, primarily because of its snazzy commercials that encourage men to break from the shaving norm.

“Do you think your razor needs a vibrating handle, a flashlight, a back scratcher and 10 blades?” founder Michael Dubin asks in the most well-known commercial. “Your handsome ass uncle had one blade, and polio.”

Personally, I’ve tried the cheaper blades and for me, they just don’t cut it, literally. I used to shave with those plastic Bic disposable razors which is about as cheap as I could get. But as I’ve got older my beard has gotten tougher, so I need something with a little more horsepower. I use the Schick Quattro Titanium, which I buy in bulk when they offer four refills for the price of one.

Men who want to tame unwanted facial hair have it tougher the older we get. Not only do we have to buy expensive razors for our face, we have to buy trimmers to clip the hairs from our ears, noses and eyebrows. And we’re still not as sexy as Si Robertson.

One gentleman on the Dollar Shave Club forum said his beard was so tough, he was going to hammer it through his jaw and trim it with his teeth on the other side. I could use mine for sandpiper if I didn’t shave every day.

I’m just glad that companies like the Dollar Shave Club provide options to keep men solvent. They’ve also introduced One Wipe Charlies, a disposable bottom wipe for men.

An interesting concept, but at this point, I don’t consider toilet paper overpriced.