Courtesy of Creative Commons
In the 1300s, Valentine’s Day became associated with love and romance. The holiday meant spending time with that special someone and showing them how much you care. A confession of love, a homemade card or even a handwritten poem showed enough appreciation toward your significant other. People gave easy, but thoughtful, presents as a gesture of fondness, not as a mandatory action.
Now, Valentine’s Day has warped into a time where businesses bamboozle the public into buying their pointless products. Companies capitalize on this holiday under the facade of “love” by decorating their advertisements and packaging with red and pink hearts.
In a survey conducted in 2003, Angeline Close and George Zinkhan of the University of Georgia found that 63 percent of males and 31 percent of females buy gifts out of a feeling of obligation and not because they want to express their love. They only decide to spend money in the name of Valentine’s Day to “conform” to society’s expectations.
Consequentially, these expectations get harder to reach. U.S. customers spent $18.2 billion on their Valentine’s presents alone in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation. Each year, consumers raise the bar higher and higher, with the average person in the United States now spending about $137 on gifts for family and loved ones.
As a result, these extravagant presents are deemed more important than true expressions of emotion. The Principal Analyst at Prosper Insights, Pam Goodfellow, said, “… millions of shoppers will still make room in their budgets to spoil their loved ones.” People are coerced into buying unnecessary luxury items even if it means pushing their budget to the limit.
The true spirit behind Valentine’s Day has been distorted into merely a marketing campaign. Don’t be fooled by the shiny rings and pretty flowers. They don’t sell love, they sell overpriced chocolates.