Have you ever had a sales person try to convince you to purchase the latest tech gadget or kitchen time saver using this hackneyed old phrase: “It’ll knock your socks off”? Don’t just laugh at their cutely ineffective sales tactics. That dastard is threatening you.
To most people, the idea being stripped of your socks in a moment of retail ecstasy is not that disturbing. After all, socks are cheap and you can always get more. A 4-pack of Gold Toes at the department store cost less than $15. That’s less than $2 for each sock. And the mall is probably open until 9. No worries.
As a knitter, the notion of losing socks is a source of anxiety. I usually spend more on just the yarn than a normal person spends on a whole 4-pack. And that’s just the tip of the woolen iceberg (What a weird metaphor, and yet oddly appropriate as it reminds me of the pile of woolen handwashing waiting for me upstairs. Which I will continue to ignore.).
I spend hours and hours of my free time carefully crafting each sock. 16-20 hours for a simple pair; 40+ for a fancy pair. Imagine getting paid minimum wage for that labor (I know, what a laugh, but I can imagine.). What are these socks worth just at cost? The mind boggles.
Simple socks: $7.25 x 20 hrs = $145
Fancy socks: $7.25 x 40 hrs = $290
Add to this the cost of the yarn. This is what it’s worth at cost, roughly. Then consider a 100% or 200% retail markup (We know they do it. Plus the scenario is more fun to think about that way.)
A recent article in Slate discussed the market in high-end socks. A certain shop in Rome has been outfitting the pope and his cardinals in red footwear for two centuries ($27 per pair). And a company called Zimmerli sells a pair of $200 socks in a dreamy merino that supposedly wear out after only 6 or 7 washes. Seriously? I’m not quibbling about the price. I doubt they were hand knit, but they were probably crafted from virgin merino, sheared under the full moon while monks chanted a detangling prayer, or some such business. What I can’t believe is that they only last a handful of washes. I can make you a pair of $200 socks that will beat those socks all hollow (haha, it’s funny because you won’t we wearing them). Only if you want cables or lace, mine might be more like $300. But hey, if you’re already in the market for $200 disposable socks I don’t think you’ll have any problem with the idea of $300 durable socks.
So anyway, my point is this: When a sales person enthusiastically threatens the fate of my socks in this way, well, it’s a good thing my mouth has a functioning filter. Thank the dear and fluffy lord. Otherwise, we’d have the conversation I always fantasize I’m having:
[Random awesome gadget] will knock your socks off.
*Stony faced stare*
Are you threatening me?
You wanna dance, punk? Do you feel lucky?