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Philips

Modern e-commerce is pathological; an example.

Published onOct 12, 2021
Philips

Last Monday my Philips Sonicare Protective Clean 4100 Plaque Control Rechargeable toothbrush broke, so I requested a replacement under warranty. There’s not much evidence that electric toothbrushes of any kind, sonic or otherwise, are an improvement over analog toothbrushes, but they do make my teeth feel good, like I’ve accomplished something before I go to bed or start the day.

The toothbrush didn’t actually break, per se. It was still kind of functioning, just not well. The metal shaft came loose and I had to press harder to clean my teeth. Too hard? I don’t know. The patented pressure sensor stopped working. So I requested a replacement under warranty. Philips fulfilled it without question. They’re a solid company. The replacement arrived yesterday, and now I’m brushing my teeth electronically again. There’s not much evidence that electric toothbrushes of any kind, sonic or otherwise, are an improvement over analog toothbrushes, but they do make my teeth feel good, like I’ve accomplished something before I go to bed or start the day.

A few weeks ago the 1mm Guide Comb for my Phillips Norelco OneBlade Face QP2520/70 broke. The little plastic tab that keeps it clipped to the blade snapped, and I didn’t even realize it until I was shaving and the guide comb snapped off and I cut my face just a little bit, right above the lip. It was the third, maybe fourth, comb I’ve broken. I’m sure it was way out of warranty, if Philips even offers one for the combs. I wouldn’t. They’re such flimsy pieces of plastic.

The first time I bought a replacement comb I didn’t even think to Google it. Amazon sells replacement combs for insane prices from strange resellers (or in packs of 3 sizes, and I only needed the 1mm), so I found a replacement on eBay for $5.99 plus shipping. I didn’t pay attention to the seller’s location. Imagine my surprise when a small, battered envelope arrived 10 days later with no fewer than 8 Greek stamps affixed to it. But the comb seemed new, and it worked for a year or two until that damn tab broke again. This time I googled, and found a site called Encompass.com (“Simply Parts”) that sells a replacement comb for $6.95 plus shipping.

Philips is a Dutch company that was founded in 1891 to make these new things called light bulbs. In 2016, the lighting division was spun off into a new company that’s now called Signify, for some reason.

When my guide comb broke for the third time, I went straight to the source. The Philips store sells replacement parts now, although the photo of the 1mm guide comb on their site has an Encompass.com watermark on it. That’s interesting. It’s $6.95 plus shipping, or free shipping if you’re willing to pick it up in Albany. I’m not, but I’m tired of buying new guide combs every damn year, and I was told replaceable razor blades are a scam anyway, and didn’t my sophomore year microeconomics class say something about the sunk costs fallacy? So I searched for the best non-disposable beard trimmer instead and found one that looks good: the Philips Norelco Multigroom Series 7000 MG7750. It’s $54.95 if you buy it directly from Philips, and this time, the shipping is free.

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