Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In Which I Ponder a Mystery

Current Reading: Love's Labour's Lost, by Bill S.

Inspirational Quote: "I don't have a photograph, but you can have my footprints. They're upstairs in my socks." -- Julius Marx (Groucho)

For a man who overthinks things, the world often throws up inscrutable puzzles.

About a week ago, I bought some new clothes. This is something I do when forced to the extremity either by natural decay or by an aversion to laundry machines.


What is material is that I happened to pick up a bag of socks. I won't comment on the oddity of putting socks in a bag. In this modern consumer society, you can't find anything in a store that isn't wrapped in plastic, surrounded by boxboard or secured by wire. Sometimes all three, with a security tag attached to kick it up to 11. So, really, the oddity of bagging what are essentially cloth bags to hold your feet hardly bears comment.

On an unrelated note, the diversity of human nature is such that someone out there enjoys putting ketchup on tomatoes. The world doesn't have to make sense.

So I exit the store with a bag of socks and get home to discover that it's no ordinary bag. No. It is a RESEALABLE bag. It's not just closed off with the usual hermetic heat seal, but adjacent to that is a zip-lock assembly. Apparently, I can take socks out and seal the bag up to keep the others... fresh? Yes, there's nothing like that fresh-sock scent (!?!). Or perhaps, I can put socks back in and seal them up to keep them from... escaping? Unlikely. I'm a fairly conservative dresser and not even my socks are wild enough to require any form of corral, even a flimsy polyethylene one.

It's a mystery. Why is my sock bag zip-locked? Admittedly, zip-lock bags are handy for all sorts of things. I often use them for keeping food fresh in the refrigerator or my lunch bag (which has a real zipper, not one of the plastic-rail zip-lock constructions), but the very thought of appropriating my sock bag for wrapping sandwiches leaves me in fear of accidentally contracting athlete's mouth. I suppose I could use it for jigsaw puzzle pieces, or beads, or game tokens but I honestly don't use those things enough for resealable bags to be in high demand.

Sad, I know, but let's stay on topic.

I spent a few minutes opening the bag and taking out socks, then sealing it again. Then I spent a few minutes opening the bag and putting socks back in before sealing it again. I felt I had to. The sock manufacturers must have gone through a great deal of trouble to include this feature, and I'd feel terrible just recycling the bag without trying to take some sort of advantage of it.

I suspect that all this is actually due to a very clever and effective bag salesman.

"Look, for an extra five cents a thousand, we'll throw in a reseal option."
"Oooh, I've heard about that. Very popular with sandwich bags."
"Right, and a hundred other household uses like..." [Here my imagination fails me. Just throw in four or five clever and effective examples for yourself. I've got nothing.] "So it's a great deal."
"Yes! I'm sold! Where's that contract?"
"Right here in my resealable briefcase." ...unzip...

I doubt very much that any but the most OCD-afflicted among us would find the notion of purchasing socks in a resealable bag at all appealing, and those who do would probably balk at the thought of using bags that had been just hanging around in a store where people could --shudder-- touch them.

Why sell socks in a resealable bag? They're not cereal, or potato chips or cookies that need to be kept fresh. This is a puzzle that is, frankly, beyond me and I know it would be better for me to just let it go and move on with my life.

Unfortunately, I've just taken a close look at the bag my underwear came in...

No comments: