News last week from the razor blade company showed that, despite evidence to the contrary, common sense survives.
Then along came the fashion model – and all is in doubt again.
So last week the people who make Gillette razor blades announced they were writing down the value of the company. This is no small thing. It seems the people who count beans at Procter and Gamble decided their razor blade company was worth some $8 billion less than they previously claimed.
Write down, write up, write off, right stuff – yeah, none of this means much to us either. But trust us when we say this is big news in the business word.
And good news for the rest of us.
The Big Thinkers at Gillette claim competition is the reason for the write down. They say Gillette has lost so much market share to competitors that the company is simply worth less.
That makes sense – sell less, worth less.
What doesn’t make sense is their explanation. Sure, there are more people selling razor blades. But there have always been a lot of people selling blades. Despite that, Gillette owned the market.
No, what’s changed is how Gillette treats it customers. In the past, they said customers “could be all we could be.” And they said this while some sprightly lady in a sheer slip massaged a freshly-shaved face.
Today it’s different. Instead of talking up customers, Gillette talks down to them.
Over the last year Gillette ran an ad telling men how damn bad we are. Men. You know, the very same people who buy razor blades.
It started with an ad accusing Gillette customers of something called “toxic masculinity.” Sane people don’t exactly know what that is. But like write downs, we understand it’s bad.
So they want us to buy their blades. But not before they scold us about being “toxic.” Instead of gorgeous women in slinky slips, the company opted to lecture about how bad men (read: their customers) really are.
As they say, get woke – go broke.
The Big Thinkers and Marketing Mavens at Gillette deny that accusing their customers of being rapists and perverts had anything to do with their miserable sales. They should keep telling each other that.
It will keep their minds off of the $8 billion write off.
This is good news because it shows there is still some sense in the world. If you insult people enough, no matter how darn hip you think you are, they won’t like you.
But then along comes this model and the whole world is upside down again.
Like all models Carissa Pinkston is cute, she is fit and she looks good in clothes. Unfortunately for her, in addition to looking good, she has a smart phone.
And she tweets.
It wasn’t that long ago that we could all agree that boys were different than girls. In fact, so cordial was the world back then that people could actually say as much out loud.
Miss Pinkston missed the memo that things are different now. For whatever reason – perhaps she lost a modeling gig – she tweeted that a transgender woman model is not really a woman model but a transgender model.
Things soon went downhill.
The Social Justice Crowd, having completely repaired the razor blade business, came unglued. Ms. Pinkston soon realized her error. In an effort to salvage her career, she claimed to be transgender. In other words, she attempted to claim the “victim” mantle for herself.
That didn’t work well.
It seems – and this is where it gets complicated – lots of people had seen her do what models often do: change clothes. Even though these are the same people who say there is no difference between men and women – they apparently saw some differences – and called baloney on her claim to be transgender.
And then called her out.
She was fired. Seriously. Lost her job. Because she had the audacity to suggest boys and girls are different.
So what we learned last week is the common sense may not be all that common in the fashion industry. That could explain why pants so often don’t have big enough pockets.
But there is hope because in the world of razor blades, despite all that toxic masculinity, common sense survives. If only by a whisker.
DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.