25 May 2007

Put a sock in it

Another interesting survey was about socks. It was a really long survey. It asked about my preference for different kinds of sock, using phrases like “crew”, “low-cut”, “high-performance”, “quarter”, “ankle”, and so on. I was mostly mystified as to the distinctions being made. Even now, I couldn’t define a quarter sock or a crew sock.

I do have opinions about sock material: I like cotton, and don’t like anything else. Oh, all right, perhaps a little Spandex for stretchyness. Oh, and I have some Birkenstock socks made of recycled plastic bottles, as a kind of experiment.

And yes, I also have opinions about sock color. I have two colors of sock: light brown, for wearing with khakis, and black, for wearing with everything else. I think there may also still be some really old white socks at the back of the wardrobe from a previous life.

Other than that, I mostly look for a decent thickness, the right size, and the right shape. You know, sock shape.

The survey asked my opinion about what kind of sock goes best with what kind of outfit. Well, I try to make the colors appropriate, but generally I assume people aren’t going to be spending a lot of time looking at my socks.

Then the survey also asked how different kinds of socks make me feel. That was a particularly difficult section to answer, because on the whole, socks don’t make me feel anything. In fact, if I notice my socks, it’s probably because they’re defective in some way–too cold, too hot, otherwise uncomfortable, or they just fell apart after only a few washes.

Maybe I just haven’t found the right sock yet; maybe there really are socks that make you feel energetic, attractive, or like a go-getter.

So all in all, it was a bit of an ordeal wading through a 15-20 minute survey about socks. The fascinating part was thinking about the fact that there are probably lots of people who actually have detailed opinions about socks. People who care what brand of sock they are wearing.

And worse still, there must be people whose job it is to come up with 20 minute surveys about socks. The poor bastards at the sock company probably spent several days in meetings brainstorming for questions. After that it probably took them weeks of conference table meetings to hammer out agreement between the various stakeholders over what the final wording of each set of questions and answers would be. There are people in this world who live, eat and breathe socks. Not literally, of course, but that would almost be preferable.

© mathew 2017