The alternative title for this week’s Dollar Diet update should be ‘A diatribe on socks’.
As we still have a temporary nanny while I recover from a back injury, I have lots of free time. It’s really tempting to spend that time shopping or going to cafes and doing other things that cost money. But since re-comitting to the Dollar Diet, I’ve mostly kept myself away from any temptation.
It wasn’t hard at all, I must confess. Even though I’d recently bought some new clothes so I am suitably attired for work, I bought carefully and with much consideration. Did I really need another striped top? No. That white top is nice, but I already have one at home. My inner dialogue definitely prevented me from making any impulse purchases, and seems to be here to stay. My old ‘Buy it!’ voice seems to have left the building.
And so it was this week when I wander into a department store to buy socks. I walked past the women’s clothing section and just said to myself ‘There is nothing I need’ (because there really isn’t) and off I toddled to get socks.
I did need socks because mine all had holes in them. Seriously. All. The beyond darning kind of holes. It’s a recent phenomenon, but as our socks mostly come from Asia these days, I’ve noticed that women’s socks now run small. I bought a few pairs in 2015 and they barely lasted six months before I put holes in them. It’s because all the women in my family are
cursed blessed with size 10 feet. Like I said, as a great deal of NZ’s shoes and socks are manufactured off-shore and therefore now run small, I often need an 11! Except women’s socks stop at the ‘new’ size 10.
I had to give up on the women’s sock department, and headed for the men’s section – crying on the inside. My reasoning is that maybe, just maybe, the men’s size 10s might be truer to size. I’m crying because my husband’s socks are invariably black or brown, and utterly boring. My last lovely-but-holey women’s socks had tigers, foxes and racoon faces on them. What can I say? My mantra has always been that life is too short to wear boring socks.
So part of the problem with my socks, is that they are a bit too small, hence the holes. But secondly, the quality is rubbish. Not just that particular brand, but almost all women’s socks. Men’s socks are often made of sterner stuff, and have things like reinforced toes and anti-hole micro-robots who detect and instantly repair any damage (okay, so I made that bit up). Why??? Are men on their feet any more than women? Are they cursed with hobbit feet and pointy toenails that tear socks to shreds immediately? I don’t think so. I suspect the ol’ genderisation of clothing plays a part here. Whatever it is, men definitely get the better deal when it comes to socks. Go on, have a look at your local department store and tell me I’m wrong.
Anyhow, I drag my reluctant carcass over the the men’s socks, and Lo! There are some of the funnest (totally a word) socks ever in existence. And they are half price! I am now the new owner of socks with pink flamingos, roosters, and – my personal favourite – T-Rex’s on them. They fit perfectly, and I pray will last longer than six months.
Everyone knows that when it comes to clothing we should opt for quality over quantity if we expect to get decent cost-per-wear from an item, even if we’re just talking about socks. The trouble is, it’s really difficult to find quality clothing any more. I would love to buy quality, locally-made goods but it’s often not an economic option for me, and I suspect, for many people. Ethically made, local manufacturers can have amazing clothing, but it is often prohibitively expensive. $100+ for a top or a t-shirt. I get that their cost of production is higher than a sweatshop, believe me, I get it. But my bank balance often trumps my conscience. Then there’s the fact that some ‘designer’ labels are not guarantee of quality. I’ve seen ‘designer’ t-shirts retailing for $200-$300 and the fabric is of no better quality than what I can find in a chain store.
If these new socks give out completely I will admit defeat and buy the best socks I can find, and cross my fingers that they service my feet for several years hence. Or move to a tropical island where socks and shoes are useless. Actually, that might be the cheapest option.