Atra and Trac II Razor Shopping – Brick and Mortar Version

Good news and bad news. Good news, I suddenly found about 80 Atra and Trac II razors in the back of my dresser drawer. Bad news, even though I have about three different razors, none of them fit these newly found razor blades. Anyway, I was antsy one Thursday night so I decided to visit several stores to find the correct razors to begin using these blades. Mind you, a ten pack of the Atra razors retails for around $20 so z1finding the right razors will help me save money on shaving for years to come.

Target was first on the list. After surveying their shaving section, I found Trac II and Atra blades but no razors. Not a good omen. Besides not having the correct razors, there wasn’t one employee within 30 yards of this section. I walked up and down many aisles hoping to find someone but not yet waving the white flag, I walked to the front of the store to get assistance.

About two minutes later, I was met by a female Target associate with blue hair. Some may say I have the mentality of “get off my lawn” as I age so even though I was tempted to comment on her hair color, my focus stayed on razors. However, the thought occurred to me that she should have red hair instead of blue, as that would better represent the Target brand.

After she validated what I was seeking, she made some calls and checked online to see if they were any available anywhere flying the Target z4brand. No luck so Wal-Mart was my next stop. Before moving over to Wal-Mart, I grabbed some bananas and gum and proceeded to the checkout area, and realized it wasn’t a good time to be waiting in line. The self-checkout was much longer than the traditional checkout area so I waited behind four females who all appeared to be moms all with full cart of merchandise. Said to self, “should I wait up to 10 minutes to purchase bananas and gum?” Seconds later, and after placing my items on an unused checkout space, was out the door with no merchandise but still focused on those two missing razors.

Now, surveying what Wal-Mart had on display, it appeared to be an exact duplication of Target’s department. With a half of frown, I snapped several pictures to validate no Trac II or Atra razors. A thought crossed my mind to call for employee assistance until I realize I was shopping at z2Wal-Mart. One could survey Wal-Mart customers about the first five things that came to mind about this brand, and most would not even get close to mention good customer service. Finding good help at Wal-Mart is like fishing for muskies and expecting a keeper after 10 casts. It ain’t going to happen! Like Target, very few associates throughout the store although it shocked me to see four Wal-Mart employees merely hanging out in the electronics department.

My deterrence level was a little depleted but I still had some gumption to try Walgreens on my way home. After missing my turn, Jewel-Osco would suffice. Besides, Osco could have a better selection than Walgreens. The same thing occurred. Trac II razor blades were selling for $2 per blade but no Trac II or Atra razor. I shook my head as I headed for the exit.

By doing this exercise, I did notice a common theme at all three stores, they only carried the latest razor technology. This included the Schick Quattro Titanium, Hydro Schick Hydro, Schick Hydro 5, Gillette Mach3, Gillette Mach3 Turbo, and Gillette Fusion. Most of the selection centered around the Gillette Mach3 and Fusion and several Schick products — the newest technology and among the most expensive. I’m not sure how these three stores differentiate themselves in terms of their shaving supplies when they are virtually a mirror image of each other. I guess the biggest disappointment was all these stores sold the Trac II and Atra blades but no razors. What’s someone to do if they forget their razor at a hotel or a friend’s house?

z3Driving home, my only other plausible action was to go online and research where one could purchase these razors. Without testing this, my initial hypothesis said some online retailers would have these razors or razors that fit these blades. Again, having 80 or so blades motivated me to do some online research and begin using these once hidden blades.

Some skeptics may wonder why I didn’t choose the online route to begin with. Actually, I was quite confident I’d find these razors at one of these department stores I visited. Besides, this experiment provided me with ample material for another blog article and perhaps another reminder that when one searches for something, the route could be brick and mortar sometimes and at other times, the online route is the way to go.

zzAfter this experience, a thought came to mind about Macy’s, JC Penney’s and Kohl’s having sub-par Holiday seasons. The latest data suggests online retailers continue to take bite out of their market share. There are many reasons why this is occurring but one thought about brick and mortar stores; they’re just not much fun anymore. If I pay the same price or even less online, what’s the attraction to the brick and mortar space? Where’s the experience or fun? They can’t just compete against price or selection; they will need to reinvent themselves if they want to be more competitive against the online retailer. Same idea applies to Target and Wal-Mart. I made the trip to these stores without any success and little fun. What will be my approach the next time I’m in a search mode? In addition, looking around at the traditional retailers, you often can’t find good assistance. Frankly, I did have an experience that night visiting various retailers, however, it wasn’t a good one!

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.