Has Valentine’s Consumerism Gone Too Far?
Valentine’s day is a day that has been up to debate in my group of friends the closer the 14th of February creeps up. My friend Kala, in fact, has some major issues with it. She believes it’s all for commercial success and has nothing to do with love. There is obviously a huge truth to that. According to the National Retail Federation in the US, the day generates $18.2 billion, with the majority of that money going towards jewellery, chocolate, cards and flowers. The origin of the holiday can be traced back to people making money on paper valentines.
This year the Valentines day gifts have gone up a notch of weird and desperation. For instance, M&S are selling a Love Sausage. It’s heart-shaped, lightly-truffled and wrapped in bacon. As twitter icon and one of the writers of the OMGWACA novels Emer McLysaght tweeted ‘brands are deranged about Valentines this year with hot pink “gravy will validate your relationship” stands’. The forcefulness of it all seems so false and desperate. When you manufacture love for profit, is it ever truly genuine? And who in the name of God is falling for it? I just want to let the people know (most likely women in heterosexual relationships) know that if your significant other (a boy) gets you this sausage as a genuine present, LEAVE HUN OKAY?
And then some companies have the absolute NEEEEEECK to single shame people such as the financial technology company Revoult who advertised last week the caption ‘The 12,750 people who ordered a single takeaway on Valentine’s day: you ok, hun’? Sorry, sorry, SORRY, what in the name of God is wrong with having a Chinese on your own while watching Abducted in Plain Sight on Valentine’s while somewhere in the world, a poor girl is receiving A HEART SHAPED SAUSAGE FROM HER BOYFRIEND????!!!!
And while companies like M&S and Bumble, who keep sending me notifications about finding a date on Valentines Day when I have big plans for a takeaway and Netflix, make Valentine’s day and love feel thoughtless, I can’t be too angry at the day. Not when you find cards made by local artists of two pieces of cheese that say ‘I only wanna brie with you’ or seeing your mam receive flowers from your dad like she does every year or seeing a friend being with someone they are mad about and watching them celebrate their first Valentine’s day together. If you want my advice, leave the heart-shaped sausage in M&S and go to the local florist, pick up some daisy’s and just remember how lucky you are to be in a healthy, loving relationship if you have one.
And if you’re like my friend Kala, who still won’t have anything to do with the day, may I also suggest the 13th of February also known as Galentine’s day (thank you, Leslie Knope). Go and have brunch, cocktails or whatever with your gals, laugh about dating stories, favourite takeaways and the best sex toys. Avocado toast on me Kala!
By Ailbhe Longmore – Lifestyle Editor