What happens when the apocalypse doesn’t end in fire and brimstone? What if the apocalypse looks more like a hyperinflation scenario where a shave and a haircut costs decidedly more than the proverbial “two bits”? Or maybe “your two silver bits” are too valuable to waste on a $500 3-pack of disposable razors.
From wikipedia: In the United States, the bit is equal to 1/8th of a dollar or 12.5 cents. In the U.S., the “bit” as a designation for money dates from the colonial period, when the most common unit of currency used was the Spanish dollar, also known as “piece of eight”, which was worth 8 Spanish silver reales. One eighth of a dollar or one silver real was one “bit”.
With the adoption of the decimal U.S. currency in 1794, there was no longer a coin worth 1/8 of a dollar but “two bits” remained in the language with the meaning of one quarter dollar, “four bits” half dollar, etc. Because there was no one-bit coin, a dime (10 ¢) was sometimes called a short bit and 15¢ a longbit.
Imagine this: After years of endless quantitative easing, inflation starts to run away like a horse from a burning barn. The Federal Reserve is unable to get it under control due to a variety of circumstances and now instead of $9 for a haircut at Supercuts the sign outside says $900.
Sure, you might find a barber you can barter for a haircut. But why not get yourself set up now to be more independent and reduce the cost of haircuts and shaves?
Imagine trying to get a job that allows you to earn a wage that keeps up with runaway inflation. Now imagine walking in to a job interview looking like Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. Unless you’re applying for the position of “bass player” — long hair and an “Old Man Winter” beard simply isn’t going to pass muster for most jobs.
So, what’s a forward-thinking prepper do to circumvent the inevitable $900 haircut? Here are two options that have worked well for me and my family:
For DIY Haircuts:
The FloBee: The Flobee was a staple of the 80’s TV infomercial. Here’s the funny thing you wouldn’t expect about this product: It really works! The Flobee attaches to your vacuum cleaner hose and gentle pulls the hair away from the head and then cuts it at a predetermined length. An attachments allow you to give haircuts from 1/2″ to 6″.
I remembered the infomercial for this product but I had no idea that my mother had been using one over the past couple of years. I complimented her on her haircut one day and my father said, “Did you know that she cuts her own hair with the Flobee?” I didn’t think they were even selling them anymore! And I was amazed with how good her hair looked and had to get one for myself. Now, I’ll admit: I haven’t figured out how to give myself a professional looking haircut with it every time. It’s not that it looks bad, it’s just that I’m particular about the way my side part and Johnny Carson quiff. So, there is a bit of a learning curve. But it does a good enough job that I can go two-to-three months in-between professional haircuts, whereas I would normally go to the barber once a month. So, it’s definitely a money saver.
You could also use a regular clippers if you’re going for the Herman Cain-look, but personally: I like to leave a little on the top so the Flobee works well for me. And for kids haircuts? The Flobee is the best.
I’ve always used an electric shaver. It’s quick, easy and effortless. But the problem with electric shavers is that you’ll need to replace the shaver heads every six months or so, usually to the tune of $35 a pop. And once every couple of years you’ll likely need to replace the entire shaver. A good shaver will cost you at least $90 in today’s dollars. Once inflation takes hold? Who knows how much a shaver will cost, especially after Chinese imports are no longer the low-priced bargain they are now.
Sure, you could start shaving with a straight razor like your grandfather did. But who wants to risk cutting their own gullet? [For the record: My grandfather actually used a safety razor and so do I, now.] Here’s the big benefit to using a safety razor: You’ll never have to spend money on disposable razors or electric shavers… again!
The true “value buy” in safety razors is the Lord double-edge chrome safety razor. This is the one that I use. The only drawback is that it’s made in the Republic of Jordan, if memory serves. Or Egypt. I can’t remember. The safety razor takes a bit of getting used to: You need to make sure your skin is wet and then go with the grain when possible.
The blades make all the difference: I use Derby double-edge razor blades. From a prepper’s viewpoint, here’s the really cool thing: A box of 100 blades will cost you less than $10. I use one blade every seven days, so a box of 100 will last almost two years. For $150, you can have enough razor blades to last the rest of your life and a few left over to barter with.
And if the inflation apocalypse never comes? Being independent from the monthly expenses associated with haircuts and the ability to shave for a year on less than $5 means you’ll have more funds free to spend on beans, bullets and bullion.