A small observation concerning socks

I was looking at socks in my local Morrison’s last night.  Clearly, I usually spend my Saturday evenings sipping champagne at a succession of sophisticated showbiz parties, before inviting selected members of the Sheffield Hallam University Rugby Team back to my luxury riverside penthouse for a few rounds of naked bed-top wrestling.  But champagne and eager, muscular sportsmen can get to be such a drag sometimes, don’t you find?  That’s why I chose to spend last night on my own shuffling round a suburban supermarket and looking at socks instead.  Er…yeah…when I say ‘chose’…

Anyway, there were four varieties of men’s sock.  Firstly, and most expensively, there were Fair Trade socks.  Fair Trade is a fine and wonderful thing, and if I had the money I would gladly buy nothing else, but a price well in excess of £1 per sock is a little beyond my present means.  Next up were designer socks.  Frankly, even the idea of designer socks makes me want to go and bang my head repeatedly against a brick wall.

I can just about understand the reasoning behind designer pants.  People might want to make sure the present is nicely wrapped, even (especially?) if the item itself is…er…nothing to…ahem…get hung about.  As it were.  But socks?

In this case the ‘designer’ element was a flash of neon-bright colour on the heel – yes, that’s right, the part of the sock that is inside your shoe, and that no-one ever sees.  And yet there are, clearly, men who will happily pay over the odds for what are, so far as anyone other than themselves is concerned, a pair of bog-standard black socks.  Do you begin to understand why head banging seems like a good idea?

The next variety of sock was the default, middle-of-the-road option, and came in that weird diamond pattern you only ever see on old-man socks and golfers’ jumpers.  In an effort to make them sound more appealing, these socks were described as being ‘Cotton Rich’.  You could almost see the product team congratulating themselves on getting the word ‘Rich’ onto the packaging of a product so bland.  It was probably their greatest success since managing to describe baked circles of sweetened chalk-dust as Rich Tea Biscuits.  Anyway, being the kind of weird, precision-obsessed bastard I am, I found myself wondering how much cotton constituted ‘Cotton Rich’.  According to the label, the socks were 78% cotton.

That seemed perfectly reasonable to me, but then I picked up a pack of especially-for-dole-scrounging-chavscum-like-Aethelread Value socks.  As a matter of interest, I checked the label, and found that these socks were also fairly rich in cotton.  In fact, these were 80% cotton, making them fractionally more cottony than the officially cotton-rich ones that were almost three times the price.

So, that just goes to show, doesn’t it?

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6 Responses to A small observation concerning socks

  1. Actually cotton doesn’t wick away moisture, and so can make your feet a bit minging. But this is only a problem if you’re off hillwalking or working out.

  2. Kapitano says:

    As far as I’m concerned, socks come in three varieties:

    * Thin ones for summer
    * Thick ones for winter
    * Expensive ones for people rich enough to afford them, and dumb enough to pay for them

    I’m all out of thick ones, so in winter I wear two pairs of thin ones.

    I once read on the interwebs that wearing odd socks is a sign of autism. Today I went to the corner shop wearing slippers, so I must be at least schizophrenic.

  3. niroz says:

    I think XKCD said it all.

  4. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    DeeDee Ramona – to be fair, hill-walking and working out are two activities you’re not especially likely to find me engaged in… ;o) Well, possibly hill-walking, actually, but it wasn’t uppermost in my mind when i was making my sock selection. :o)

    Kapitano – sounds like a sensible system to me! :o) As for wearing slippers to the shops, that’s just wrong. Not wearing them out of the house, i mean, just wearing them at all. You’ll be telling me you have a sensible cardigan with leatherette patches on the elbows next… ;o)

    niroZ – great cartoon, as usual. :o) On a similar note, i’d just like to re-assure all my readers that this blog contains no artificial flavourings and preservatives… ;o)

  5. Huh. I haven’t seen socks less than $9.99 a pair in a long time.

    Right now wearing a type that costs from $15 – $25. To be fair they were a gift and I have worn such socks to take the trash out, which involves walking over ice, and to climb steep slopes with spiky plants cuz I don’t have decent boots…

  6. Bipolarbearlare says:

    What we need is an Unfairtrade brand. A guarantee of exploitation an unbeatable value.
    I have managed to make pairing up socks the most stressful part of my life-its a long story.
    I always end up with a few odd ones at the end which I will cross check against the odd ones from previous sessions. If I am in luck I will reunite a few but the collection of odd socks never seems to get much smaller.
    The part of the pairing up process that troubles me most is that I can often spend ages comparing two socks making sure that they are identical. Like anyone else is going to see that they arent a pair or even care.
    A cheap brand of socks would mean that I could replace all my socks with identical pairs.
    It would be life changing.

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