How to be young again?
August 10, 2009 1:19 PM   Subscribe

As an 18-year old male I received a free razor from Gillette. Internet digging tells me Gillette uses an outside source to determine men's birthdays, but no one actually knows. There are tons of blog comments, all of which can be summarized as either "Maybe it's Selective Service" or "Yeah, I got one too, X years ago!" How do I get myself back on the list of 18-year olds for the next razor shipment?
posted by colgate to Shopping (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried going to their website and signing up for a free one? I've gotten a free razor, women's razor (whatever it's called), and a reach flosser just by visiting the websites. If you can't find it on their websites, try searching google.
posted by Sufi at 1:24 PM on August 10, 2009

You got your 18th birthday razor (I got mine, too, back in the day). Is the question "How do I ensure I get get a razor for my 24th birthday?" If so, I don't think you can; they just hand them out at 18.

If your question is "How do I manipulate The Razor Distributing System so that it thinks I am about to turn 18 (again) and get another free razor?" I don't think anyone can help you, given that 1) no one really knows how they know your age; 2) if it is, in fact, some Selective Service database, it is likely above your petty manipulations; and 3) this sounds a teensy weensy bit like mail/wire fraud, albeit for a de minimis amount.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:27 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

If it may, somehow, help you figure out the source of their info: I, a female, was sent one of their razors, designed for males, on my 18th birthday.
posted by Silly Ashles at 1:51 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love this AskMe because that last sentence was not the question I was expecting.

As part of figuring out the source of their info, I do note that Silly Ashles has an androgynous first name. Hm.
posted by rokusan at 1:58 PM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

My razor came when I turned 17.

Most high school students turn 18 during their senior year, some turn 18 before their senior year starts, and some turn 18 after they graduate. I didn't turn 18 until after I had graduated high school, which means my razor came the birthday before my senior year started. This leads me to believe that there is a cut-off date in the summer before your senior year that Gillette uses to determine how old you are. Let's say that that date is July 15, my birthday is after the fifteenth, and Gillette knows I'll be entering my senior year of high school (this information must be readily available because I received so many unsolicited college brochures), and so by their calculation I am turning 18 when in fact I was only turning 17. However, if my birthday was July 10 then they would have deducted that I was only entering my junior year and therefore waited another year to send my razor (that all makes sense in my head, but it's worded so poorly--must be time to go home).

Of course, this still doesn't explain how they figured out which day my birthday is on. But they must get the information from separate sources if my razor came on my 17th birthday but still said Happy 18th or whatever it says on it.
posted by trueluk at 2:08 PM on August 10, 2009

How do I get myself back on the list of 18-year olds for the next razor shipment?

Build a time machine?

Seriously, Gillette buys those lists from information brokers. Not from the Selective Service, but from ordinary information brokers. And they send the razors to the women named Christopher and not to the men named Sue.

Information brokers know how old you are.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:09 PM on August 10, 2009

I never got mine, 18th birthday or otherwise.

Of course, I was the only kid in my drivers' ed class who didn't pass over the "Check here to withhold your name from mailing lists that the DMV sells" box with a confused look.
posted by niles at 2:37 PM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Your best bet is to create an fake 17-year-old persona living at your house. Fill in lots of the gruff which comes through the letterbox, complete a couple consumer surveys on the internet, and generally get his details circulating. Brokers will pick him up, put him into their databases, and sell his details on to as many companies as are willing to pay .0001c for a name and date of birth. Before long Gillette will be raring to send that lad a razor on his 18th.

Alternatively, just buy a razor, or even sign up for a free one from a consumer site. The haft costs nothing in comparison to the blades, and companies are willing to give them away for the chance to create a brand loyal consumer.
posted by Sova at 2:55 PM on August 10, 2009

I got a Gillette razor when I was 17 (not on or near my birthday though), and they got my details through the Young Drivers driving school programme I took. So maybe you should enroll in a driving school, and lie about your age?
posted by iona at 3:46 PM on August 10, 2009

One thing you might try if you just want a free razor--- on the rare occasions I have complained to a company about a product, they sent free product as an apology. I wrote a lighthearted complaint to Melitta about their coffee filters, and they sent me a whole can of coffee and some new filters. Very unexpected, and my partner and I were delighted.
posted by effluvia at 3:57 PM on August 10, 2009

Just be glad you recieved a razor. My first name is spelled in an ambiguous way, hence, I recieved a trial packaged of womans products. The girl next door enjoyed my sense of humility when I kicked the samples to her.
posted by captainsohler at 6:17 PM on August 10, 2009

I am a female and got a free men's razor when I turned 18. My name is a very common name among females in my age group, and extremely rare among males. There are men with this name, but it's very rare. However, my middle name is a surname that is also a somewhat common male first name, but not a female first name at all.
This leads me to the following conclusions:
1) They must have some kind of computer system or human checker to sort out the males from females rather than selective service (which I obviously haven't done, being female).
2) Middle names are included.

For your purposes, only #1 is important.
posted by ishotjr at 7:05 PM on August 10, 2009

I didn't even know Gillette did this! I've checked the Cheap Stingy Bargains forum just about every day for a few years. Razor freebies seem to come in waves. I haven't seen any in a while, but a whole bunch of them crop up at once. All told, I think I've received as many as six razors in the last two or three years (four definitely Gillette.. Mach whatevers, I think). Half of the freebies have been that manly grey color meant only for men and the other half have been pink (I'm female, so legally this is the only razor I should have been using, I guess). They were the exact same razors, and I could even use the cartridges interchangeably. So, I'd check out that (and other freebie sites) for free razors. Slightly easier than building a time machine, though, perhaps less satisfying!
posted by Mael Oui at 9:06 PM on August 10, 2009

I got the free razor in the mail when I turned 18, 17 years ago.

I figured they just went off the Selective Service registrations, because I couldnt think of anything else that had my DOB on it.
posted by mrbill at 10:51 PM on August 10, 2009

Let me add a thought... that free's like the free drugs from the dealer on the corner...gets you hooked, then you have to buy blades...and they have your soul..

Go to the grocery store and buy a bag of cheap disposable razors, they work just as well (additional shaving tip...stop using shaving cream, shave with your face dry)...
posted by HuronBob at 3:50 AM on August 11, 2009

If you do follow the create-a-persona route, I'd recommend using different names for each agency you defraud, so you can ultimately figure out which one Gillette buys your name from.
posted by thejoshu at 4:51 AM on August 11, 2009

Data point: I got one for my 18th and my 21st. I am female, and as of my 18th I had only been living in the USA for 2 years.

Possible sources: I did have a driver's licence, was enrolled in high school, took the PSAT & SAT and took a couple of lessons at a driving school. Otherwise I wasn't in the systems, afaik.

Whatever they use, it's quick to grab people, not limited to citizens, but not great with gender (I have an androgynous name).
posted by subbes at 8:42 AM on August 11, 2009

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