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One thing that's always irked me is the cost of replacement blades for my Gillette Mach3 Power Nitro Razor. I received the razor as a birthday present from my wife (then girlfriend) a few years ago as an update from my ageing Gillette Mach 3 Turbo Razor (note the slightly different name). To be honest, there is little difference between the two other than the newer one has a battery powered vibrator which helps the blade glide more smoothly across my skin.

However, the real difference comes in when you buy blades. I've just spent �9.76 in the local Tesco buying just eight Mach3 Razor Blade Cartridges, which is just a bit of a rip off. However, this is nothing compared with buying the matching green blades for the Nitro, which would have cost over �13. I'm not sure if there is any significant difference between the two other than colour and marketing. Both types of cartridge look identical and fit perfectly on the handle, but I'm sure as hell not going to pay the extra money just to be colour coordinated!

Gillette are currently in the middle of a massive advertising campaign to persuade people to upgrade to the new Gillette Fusion Power, but despite any technical improvements, the utterly scandalous cost of replacement blades (over �18 in Tesco) is more than enough to put me off. The older, but more affordable Mach 3 blades won't fit on the new handle anyhow so I'm certainly not going to upgrade.

I have an electric shaver which does the job (and doesn't require regular replacement blades), but the resulting shave is nowhere near as close as with a wet shave. I could invest in a proper old style cut throat razor and sharpener, which I'm sure would result in a great shave after the learning curve, but with curious young children in the house that is a definite no go. Cheap disposable razors are another option, but having used them in the past they tend to give a very harsh shave which isn't as close as with the more expensive options - plus it seems such a shame to throw so much plastic away each time.

What is a man to do, other than continue to prop up the Gillette corporate monster?

Buggy

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We're off to Australia for a well earned holiday in a few days.  One thing we realised is that we needed a new buggy for our son as the one we already have is very good, but too heavy and bulky for an airport.  The other option would be to carry him in the Baby Bjorn sling but doing that every day for three weeks solid would get pretty uncomfortable and tiring.

So, off we went to the big Mothercare supermarket in Weybridge to spend our money.  We wanted a buggy as light as possible, that folded up as small as possible.  Being in the UK it also had to have a rain cover.  The place was quite busy, but we were able to try out all the buggies in our own time, wheeling them around and folding them up, etc.  After fiddling around with everything that was on offer, we settled with a Maclaren Triumph which seemed to meet all our requirements (in charcoal grey, not the eye bleeding bright pink which comes up on the site by default).

Then we went to the till to go and buy it, but the woman claimed she wasn't trained on buggies and couldn't help us.  The other staff were all helping other customers.  We waited around for a while, gave up and went to the Argos next door to see if they had it (they didn't), and went back.  This time a different woman was serving who just went into the back and got one for us.  We paid, shoved it in the car and headed home.  Job done.

Why did the first woman refuse to help us?  It seems daft.  We knew exactly which buggy we wanted - we weren't asking her for advice on what to buy, we just said "We'd like to buy that one please".  The only thing I can think of is that she wasn't trained for lifting stuff from the store room (despite the whole thing weighing only 6kg including packaging).

Now we need to work out how to pack all of his baby stuff into ½ a normal personal baggage allowance for the flights (luckily, the pram itself won't be counted as part of that).  Then we need to find out definitively what we need to do about baby food.  Neither the airline or airport websites are particularly helpful on this subject so I guess we'll have to phone them.  We can't take all his food ready made because 24+ hours out of a fridge is too long to remain sterile, so do we take baby bottles full of sterilised water (which are bigger than 100ml and could be confiscated) and add the powder when he feeds s we do at home, or are we forced to buy lots of those expensive little ready made cartons of baby milk?

Carrier Bags

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Why is it that almost every shop assistant in the land insists on giving you a carrier bag for every purchase, even if you've only bought one thing? Nearly every lunchtime I have to tell staff that I'm perfectly capable of carrying a sandwich and a drink (which are already over packaged) in my hands for the two minute walk back to the office. I'm rarely asked if I want a bag first - staff automatically put things in one until I tell them not to - then they look at you as though you've just stamped on their mother's face and ask "Are you sure?". This is such a massive waste of resources. Even worse, it's a waste of time making me queue longer when I'm buying my lunch!!! Seriously though, this really pisses me off. When we go shopping in the local supermarket, we make sure we bring our own bags with us. Tesco's give out extra clubcard points for people who do this. I always refuse a bag when I'm buying anything easily carried without one. We've only got one planet, so lets stop making it a giant resourceless dump. Will you join the campaign???

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