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?