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Sock-of-the-month club a cool new way to squander money, dignity

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Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be sock of the month club subscribersIf you’ve got a hundo burning a hole in your pocket and are looking for the dumbest possible way to spend it, have I got a deal for you.

A sock-of-the-month club is a subscription service for socks, and yes it is a real thing that exists. You sign up and pay on a monthly or per-year basis and get socks mailed to you that typically cost $12 to $14 a pair.

This is a trend, the New York Times informs us, and there are not just one but many sock-of-the-month clubs that stand ready to supply you with the flamboyant socks you so desperately desire.

Let me start by saying, I don’t have anything specific against socks. They keep your feet warm and keep your shoes from getting too stinky, and I agree that it’s funny when former presidents show up to formal events with extravagantly ridiculous socks.

But I will mock the sock-of-the-month club freely and without guilt. Never mind that $12 — one month of a sock-of-the-month club subscription — is enough to buy you an entire pack of perfectly good men’s dress socks at Target or wherever. Never mind that by electing to sign up for another endless subscription you’re opening up a leak in your wallet that will, month in and month out, make you a little bit poorer.

This is more about valuing your money so little that you’re willing to piss it away on getting a pair of socks shipped to your house every month. Time is money; every day you go to work and sell your time to your employer, or if you’re self-employed, to your customers. And if you are a sock-of-the-month club subscriber, you are trading the precious hours you spent earning that money for brightly colored socks.

According to the U.S. Census, the average hourly wage for an employee in the U.S. is $21.29. That means that an annual subscription to a sock-of-the-month club represents nearly 7 hours of work. A typical workday is 8 hours; if I told you that you could have the day off of work or get a sock-of-the-month-club subscription and you chose the socks, I would have deep misgivings about your sanity.

And sure, there are plenty of people for whom $140 represents much less time. But seriously, if you have the kind of money that dropping $140 on socks is not a big deal to you, take some unpaid time off work or buy a normal pack of socks at Walmart and give the balance to charity instead. Or make someone’s year by sending it to a random person in Bangladesh, where that sockscription (shudder) amounts to more than 2 months’ worth of a typical person’s income. But regardless of what you do with that $140, you’re likely to feel better afterword than if you’d spent it on a bunch of stupid-looking socks.

What do you think? Am I being too hard on sock-of-the-month “sockscribers”? Can you think of a dumber way to spend $140?

(Photo: Flickr user Eibx)

{ 16 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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16 Responses to “Sock-of-the-month club a cool new way to squander money, dignity”

  1. You can also buy some fancy bottled water or you can play lottery. If you are more adventurous, you can try to tailgate a police car (not sure if the fine is 140$, but probably high enough to be considered stupid)

  2. Alissa says:

    I love this. I can think of plenty of ways to squander the money, but this is probably as undignified as it gets. Then again, some people really love their socks.

  3. Brandon Duncombe says:

    Funky socks can be fun, but not $14/pair.

    And definitely not in a “subscription”, oops… “sockscription” model.

  4. Mike Halperin says:

    A dumber way to spend your money?

    How about Obamacare?!

    At least the sock club delivers what they promise …

  5. Karl says:

    I agree with the article and the comments and more impressive is the tone of your article and the comments.

    I can’t recall an article I’ve read that was as direct, clear and firm as this one (a digression for clarity: the tone is usually too soft and enables bad decisions. I think I recall something about a Disney vacation and whether or not someone should go; the answer should have been absolutely not unless you’ve got no credit card debt, auto debt, kids college funded and 6 months of cash in reserve and even then its a ripoff and teaches your kids to be a super consumer)

    But back to this great article. More of the same please. No coddling. Just call out nonsense and let people respond. Im curious if people will whine or support it.

  6. I can’t imagine a pair of socks that’s worth $12, let alone spending that much on socks EVERY MONTH! I mean, if you’re going to piss away $144 a year on something, why not at least get something that people are going to, y’know, see? Ugh. I always wonder what kind of disposal income you’d have to have to be that frivolous.

  7. Rosalea says:

    Yes, there a dumber way. Live in small town Kansas controlled by uneducated, greedy psychopath leaders whose families traffic drugs and easily get elected to office. Then spend that “sock” money buying them beers so they will like you and give you return “favors.”

  8. Stephanie says:

    Interesting, the cost anyway. We went to buy socks a month ago as we needed work boot socks, both my husband & I as ours were worn out. We were astonished that the good ones were anywhere from 18 to $25 per pair. We went to Walmart & Target etc and bought some but frankly the quality wasn’t there and everyone if you need work socks, you need quality because they actually have a function. We did find some deals after looking but insane amount of time. I think this subscription is ridiculous. Buy what you need & what works. As far as comparing it to the Affordable Care act?? I’m sorry, I want my friend that has had 2 heart attacks to be able to get insurance & shouldn’t be included in a stupid sock discussion. I too can find ways to piss away money but I work at not doing so. Own a farm, then talk to me about socks. AND anyone that wants to spend money in that manner for God’s sake support many helpful organizations for $12 per month!

  9. ChrisCD says:

    People will spend over $5 a day for a coffee drink and you are picking on a pair of socks that at least can be used more than once?!?

    What if people already give tons of $ to charities and having a new, fun pair of socks every months gives them a warm fuzzy?!?

    Yeah, it seems crazy, but to each his own. At least they are doing their part to keep shipping companies in business, right?

    Of course since Obamacare, I don’t have any disposable income left, so I won’t be participating, but some people do you know.

    cd :O)

  10. Dan Ray says:

    Uh-oh. If you feel that way about socks, I better not tell you about my subscription to the “Dive Bar of the Month T-Shirt Club”

  11. sanandave says:

    If you want to be concrete, know that donating that amount every month to The Smile Train fixes approximately 2-3 babies’ cleft palates per year in emerging countries.

  12. Luyus says:

    This doesnt sound like anything I would ever be interested in, buy its a great example of the “personal” in perso

    • Luyus says:

      Sorry, personal finance. To each their own. How many of you donate money to charities? How many of you waste money in things you might not need? And you’re criticizing people for buying socks?

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