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

If 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 [3], 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 [4] 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 [5].

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)