12 July 2018


Lately I have found myself in dire need of new socks. Should be no problem in China right, to get a decent pair of socks. WRONG! Maybe they make all the socks you are wearing in the US but to get the same brands and styles here is almost impossible. There are several problems involved with a seemingly simple venture like this. 

1) Style - I basically have always worn what might be called white or grey cotton crew socks. Since I have been a teenager it is all I wear. But people here do not wear that style. men do not. Mostly you see weird business man style socks on the guys here. And these pictures here show what seems to be popular these days:

This is what Chinese men wear. These weird ass "ankle socks" that after you wear them make it look like you are not wearing socks (but... you are) or what I call business man socks. Now you can say "hey they wear those same styles in America man! check your privilege at the border you racist hater!" Yea who wears socks like that? commie Bernie Sanders supporters who drink soy milk? I bet Clint Eastwood never wore socks like that and I want socks like Clint Eastwood or John Wayne wore, not some male feminist vegan with hemp underwear. And they do not really do much with cotton here for socks. It is some weird fabric I do not even know. Like some argyle or nylon feeling. Often with Hello Kitty or marijuana leaf patterns on them.  No more Winnie the Pooh patterns of course since a year or so ago China officially banned images of subversive Winnie the Pooh. I am not joking. How can you joke about shit like that. 

2) Size - Of course Chinese people are smaller than their Western counter parts. Overall I would describe most of them as rather scrawny boney little twerps with tiny feet. I have lived in Kunming City for over ten years and not ONCE have I ever been able to find a pair of shoes or boots that fit me. Like in a city of 7 million people (a medium sized city in China) I cannot find shoes. And socks. Even if I find a pair I can stomach the appearance of they will be too small, with the heel area usually coming to the middle or upper middle of my foot at best. Even using online sites we cannot find sizes that will even remotely fit me. They only sale to people with gnome feet. If you go into a shoe store and ask for socks or shoes in a 46 (about a 13 in US size) they actually begin hyperventilating in disbelief. 

3) Price - If you look at the two pictures in the center of the post you will the items are priced at about 13.00 rmb and 18.00 rmb. that would be about 2 dollars and 3 dollars respectively. That price covers several pairs as well. Those images are from the Chinese online shopping site called Taobao. The top image is from the Chinese version of Amazon (amazon.cn) and you may notice a slight difference in price. They sale ten pair of cotton crew socks (colored but I am okay with that) for 134. 134 rmb you ask? No! $134 DOLLARS $$$!!! Thats is over $20 dollars per pair. Down right evil and this is common for any sort of import here from any country outside the majestic motherland.

Now before people start blaming the Lord Satan President Trump and his new tariffs and all that stuff I do not understand, just stop right there. These are the prices as they have always existed here. This is why there are trade problems in the first place. But me, a small insignificant fish, I just have to deal with it, along with flea powder that sells for $100 (about $8 in US), a box of 10 Twinkies for $120 (about $5 in the store US), Duct Tape for $20, Fritos Chips for $70, imported headache medicine (all they sell here are weak ass caffeine aspirin tablets!) for $50 to a $100 and it goes on and on. To be clear, we do not buy any of that stuff. Jeesh, and all you read about is how insulted and pissed off China is that the US is going to put tariffs on their goods that still wold not make the prices come even close to these crimes against humanity. But good news. I continues searching and finally found 12 pair of Fruit of the Loom white, cotton crew sock for about $14 on amazon.cn. Of course we have to wait a few months for the damned things to get here but I have learned to just breathe in and be happy I got something at all. CORRECTION: After postage that will be almost $30 for SIX pair of cotton socks! About $5 a pair. Well, what can one do?


Tom Dulski said...

Another interesting post ( as is the malaysia one) I love reading about the differences between the east and west in the modern world. Jus too you know this stupid ankle socks are impossible to avoid. They have been popular here in the US for at least the last 8 years.

Bill Courtney said...


yea, I know these things are big back there too. It seemed cool when Don Johnson did it but not every nerd on the street can get away with it. And I always assume Don Johnson just wore NO socks. No some little ankle things. But, at least in the US there are still options. Here there just is not and that is what drives me nuts. I am being forced to either wear no socks or wear those or pay horrid prices over the Chinese online shopping services to get some. Actually I can sort of find passable socks here in the stores or even on the street, but they tend to start getting heels holes after a couple months and they are usually still too small. Stuff like that has pushed me over the edge at times. That is why I started this hole new category, to let off steam now and then.

Pappy said...

I am with you on the "too small" issue. Apparently the clothing China exports to the U.S. is sized for Americans, not Asians, so the imports are not a problem for me in finding my size.

Last summer my son was with his Vietnamese wife visiting her family near Saigon, ooops, I mean Ho Chi Minh City. He was introduced to her cousin, who has a clothing line. My son wanted to buy something for me, so knowing I take a Large in a shirt, he went with Extra-Large because he thought the shirts didn't look big enough. When I got them I tried them and could not get them over my head without experiencing birth once my head finally popped through the opening. If these shirts were XL then they were for Extra-Large Vietnamese.

Bill Courtney said...


Man, I understand. One winter I needed a coat and it became such a nightmare. I actually spent the whole winter without a coat, just layering clothes. Saw a coat in the big supermarket and it said 4X (XXXX). Shit, that had to fit right? Nope. Then I saw one with 6X (XXXXXX). Imagine if that was a porno movie. Well, it should fit then right? Nope, it was smaller than the 4X. They seem to have no standard to go by. We ordered a coat on line. Big they said. Do not order larger they warned my wife. Wait. Wait. Wait. It arrives. too small. We return it and they had another larger size and it fit, but by then winter was over. Strangely there are Chinese guys larger than me and I wonder how they manage.

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