Care instructions for socks purchased on Amazon - "Do not tumbletry." - 2019
observations reading

Do Not Tumbletry

Socks purchased from Amazon from the Lovely Annie's retail brand. The label says "Henny Rue Lady's Socks," 2018.
Socks purchased from Amazon from the Lovely Annie’s retail brand. The label says “Henny Rue Lady’s Socks,” 2018.

Bought a set of socks from Amazon before the holiday season. They were marketed under the brand name of Lovely Annie’s, which I thought was a delightful name. Strange thing, though. While I was searching for warm, knee-high socks to buy, I kept running across what appeared to be photos of the same set of socks (sometimes with 4 pair, sometimes with 5) with different brand names. I mean, these photos were identical, not just that different retailers were carrying the same brand of socks. So, basically, I was choosing the same socks but basing my choice on the brand name and price. Lovely Annie’s lovely name obviously won out. (What might that say about me, I wonder?)

Not long after purchasing these socks, I read an article on The Verge about the awful shenanigans some sellers on Amazon get up to in order to destroy their competition. It’s called “Prime and Punishment: Dirty Dealing in the $175 Billion Amazon Marketplace.” A fascinating article. We all ought to pay attention to the retail monopoly Amazon is building and fight against it by shopping in other places when we can. Turns out that when sellers attack each other with dirty tricks, Amazon has a crappy, non-transparent appeals process in place that does not help the victims.

My observation that several different sellers were using the same photos to sell these socks is likely part of some of these seller tactics.

According to the article, there are different kinds of sellers on Amazon:

“The second type is the “private label” seller. Rather than compete with dozens of other sellers all selling the same product on the same listing, they make their own brand, which gives them a listing of their own. Some of these sellers come up with original products and resemble traditional businesses, albeit based almost wholly on Amazon, but many simply slap a logo on a mix of trending goods sourced from China, creating eclectic catalogs of fidget spinners and cowboy boots, adult coloring books and survival gear. The result has been a Cambrian explosion of brands found only on Amazon selling largely identical products.”

The article points out that “Shoe paraphernalia, for whatever reason, seems to be a favorite target of the Amazon underworld.” Socks are certainly shoe paraphernalia, aren’t they?

My socks are, indeed, sourced from China.

Care instructions for socks purchased on Amazon - "Do not tumbletry." - 2019
Care instructions for socks purchased on Amazon – “Do not tumbletry.” – 2019

Setting Amazon sales tactics aside, these socks are cozy and warm but not quite as thick and warm as the Bunny Socks I recently bought. (So, I have a thing for warm socks. Minnesota winters will do that to a girl.)

Of course I had to read the care instructions on the label. These socks are best cared for by hand-washing or by putting them in a lingerie bag and machine washing on a gentle cycle. “Do not bleach. Do  not tumbletry. Do not iron.”

(Who irons socks?)

“Do not dry clean.”

Whoa, wait a minute! Back up.

Do not tumbletry?

What the hay? I mean, obviously this is a typo, but what an odd translation. It’s only off by one letter. And tumbletry is quite an interesting word on its own. Makes me want to come up with a definition. Like, you gave something a try but tumbled, so maybe this could be an alternative word for failure … only failure with a sense of fun. Or failure with an automatic bounce back to try again.

You know, buying socks is not a simple thing for me. Too much thought goes into the entire process.