I Don't Think Gillette Would Complain If You Used Their Blades Without Their Razor

Apparently it is some kind of scandal surrounding Juicero, who I must admit I have never heard of until the recent spate of coverage.  In an emulation of Keurig, which I also know little about since I am not a coffee drinker, they have this juice-press thing that sells for $400 and that takes $7 proprietary bags of fruit or vegetables or whatever that the machine squeezes into juice.  Apparently, the scandal is that you can squeeze the bags just as well without the $400 juicer.

To which I answer:  duh.  I will bet my Harvard MBA that this company's business model really does not anticipate making most of its money from the machine.  The machine itself may actually not have any profit margin at all.  The bags at $7 certainly do.  The machine is the excuse for you to buy lots and lots of their high margin juice bags.  If you buy one a day for a year, that is over $2500 of revenue at a high margin vs. the original equipment sale of $400 at a low or no margin.  Telling this company their machine is not necessary is like telling Gillette you can use their $5 blades without having to use the razor that they pretty much give away anyway.

This is the joy of capitalism:  I absolutely guarantee you that within 60 days someone will be selling hand-squeezed juice bags for $5 each.


  1. morganovich:

    the scandal at juicero is that they burned $120 million of investor funds building this. the schtick was supposed to be this great juice press that made fresh juice. turns out it's just bags of juice and easily squeezable fruit. this is what is known as "no barrier to entry".

    this project will be a financial disaster and was severely misrepresented to investors who, in turn, appear to have done just about no due diligence work at all.

    so, a lot of people are pissed and a lot of others (including me) are laughing because the VC's really blew this one. even the us military could develop a bag of juice for less money than this...

  2. Mike Powers:

    Oh also the juice bags have QR codes so that the individual bag can be tracked. Which means that...

    A) the device requires an internet connection to squeeze juice
    B) so it can be hacked if the firmware isn't secure, and either used as a spam rebroadcaster or just bricked
    C) and it phones home with all that juicy, tasty personal data like what kind of juice you drink and how often and when
    D) and they can force it to not squeeze juice bags that have been partially squeezed or have hit their expiration date

  3. ToddF:

    Which comes as a shock to anyone who owns a $100 printer and has to pays tens of dollars every time they replace a cartridge.

    Unless they buy cheap, no name, probably Chinese cartridges on the internet.

  4. Mason:

    I didn't believe you; I had to check the product website faq. It really does require Internet connectivity! WTF??!

  5. herdgadfly:

    P & G's genius is and always has been product marketing. If everyone makes juicers, then P & G juicers would likely appear to be better as presented on the TV tube and in print ads.

    So when Gillette introduced the cartridge razor in 1970 (or thereabouts), those of us getting sliced up by double edge blades jumped all over the twin blade concept. But the technology was easy and the patents woefully inadequate to stop competition so in came Schick and Wilkinson Sword with knockoffs to the Gillette Trac II.

    When in doubt change something, so the twin blade Atra cartridge showed up with a moveable blade mount on the razor handle and then came the three-blade Mach 3 and the blade count has continued to rise but not as fast as razor pricing.

    Meanwhile Merkur of Solingen, Germany, which once had the craftsmen to produce quality shaving products (that were not marketed much in America) duplicated the Trac II cartridge but improved its sharpness and put a better angle on the blades and an aloe strip and a cleaning slide on the cartridge that lasted as long as three to four months.

    When the blade count war begot more and more blades, I tried the Merkur twin cartridge and have never-ever shaved with more than two blades. About ten years ago Merkur company began to lose business and its craftsmen and the company closed in or about 2009. So I spent hours on the internet and bought up all the Merkur five-count cartridges I could find and I have about thirty cartridges left that should get me another six years of shaving. Average price - about a buck and a half a blade for even three months of shaving is six bucks a year. I just bought on Etsy an unused promotional Gillette Trac II pack in a tin (circa 1970) that included five vintage cartridge blades and a handle for under fifteen bucks. There are no Gillette Trac II handles made anymore except for some poor knockoffs.

    So I doubt that Gillette gives a damn about whether you buy their antiquated cartridges or not, but everyone will be reminded of their 6-blade monstrosities with multiple facings on the shelves next to the pharmacy.. But competition is always good.

  6. kidmugsy:

    Grow a beard. It means I shave only a couple of times a week.

  7. Matthew Slyfield:

    It's not much of a beard if you still shave a couple of times a week. I haven't shaved in over a year.

  8. Q46:

    Surely the 'scandal' is not buying a $400 machine to squeeze the bags, but buying the bags in the first place.

    If people are so stupid/lazy to require cut up fruit and veg in a bag, why aren't the bags delivered already squeezed and full of juice?

  9. frankania:

    I paid about $40 for my HP printer-scanner, here in Mexico. They want about $12 for new ink-cartridges. I take mine to a little shop which FILLS the cartridges with ink for $3. duh....

  10. Orion Henderson:

    Somewhere at the Pentagon: "hold my beer".

  11. Joe:

    Another example is the Hewlett packard ink jet cartriges.

  12. kidmugsy:

    It's a rather fine beard but I don't want hair on my neck.

  13. Jeffrey Deutsch:

    Classic price discrimination, just like among other things printers and toner/ink cartridges.

    The device itself sells for close to (maybe even below!) the incremental cost to produce each unit.* It's the accessories that have the major profit margin. And the point here is to skin the fanatics (who buy lots and lots of bags/toner cartridges/ink cartridges), while at the same time giving a bit of a break to the casual users (who pretty much by definition don't buy so many).

    [*] Aka marginal cost.