Valentine's Day has turned into a consumer's paradise

By Rebecca Perry
On February 14, 2018

Photo courtesy of Cliff Johnson, Flickr

Valentine’s Day: another excuse to buy gifts for the ones we love, and even possibly the ones we don’t. Those of us who celebrate this holiday are lavished with decadent chocolates that will only damage our New Year’s resolutions.

The couples that found love are seemingly dreading the expectations for a lovely gift or special dinner. Those that are single will try their best to stay away from the over abundance of romance by avoiding all the pictures of their happy friends on social media. Some individuals looking forward to the annual holiday “team snapchat” gift that they are presuming to be their only well-wishing.

Sadly, for some, February 14th is the recollection of a lost love, leaving them bitter or unpleasant for no reason other than a superficial holiday.

Then why, might you ask, do we celebrate this pink holiday full of anxiety, gluttony and apprehension?

There may be answers of St. Valentine or the desire to make it up to friends that bet against you in the superbowl, but realistically this may be another consumerism hoax. According to CNBC, the estimates for last year’s Valentine's Day spending is about $19.6 billion. Who wouldn't want to tap into that market?

They also found that candy makes up 55 percen of the gift purchases. This is making it an important time for our favorite chocolate brands like Hershey’s, Lindt and M&Ms to tap into the marketing end of this indulgent holiday.

Valentine’s Day is not only a sugar induced free-for-all; some couples (or singles) make plans to see the new romantic comedy or “50 Shades” that just happens to come out on Feb. 14.

Fortune Magazine estimates that there is an average of 2.3 billion tickets sold on this humble, endearing holiday evening. These numbers may differ with the rise of “Netflix and Chill” habits that are sweeping through millennial reputations. According to Business 2 Community, the American Greeting Corporation beats Hershey’s in sales, making a whopping $1.7 billion yearly, with the month of February gives them a fourth of their profit margins for the entire year.

This clearly says something about our cosmetic excuse for overspending on items that end up in the trash a few hours later. I think that the older traditions of family dinners, handmade cards and warm cookies are a more appropriate practices that can create lasting memories compared to our traditional materialistic ways.

If you are defending this holiday, props to you. I am not making factual conclusions about the terribleness of the holiday itself, just what it has turned into. However, most of my friends do not get vacation days for their hastily-composed reservations or the stressor that tag along pre-dinner. Possibly, that says something about the actual importance of this holiday.

Consequently, consumerism eats at our daily lives like kids at a candy store, and for Valentine’s Day, the kids aren't the only ones joining in the craving. 

 

rperry1@ramapo.edu

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