It's that time of year again where no matter how hard you try, there's a strong possibility of you buying into the hype of Valentine's Day. Everywhere we go, we are faced with constant reminders urging us to buy our significant other a token of affection that symbolizes our undying love for them. It could be anything from a heart-shaped trinket or bunch of long stemmed red roses, to a romantic weekend getaway or a box of candy-coated goodness. Whatever the case, Valentine's Day finds a way of creeping up on you before you've even had a chance to put away the tinsel.
Cadbury, Hallmark and American Swiss are the cunning masterminds behind the nonsensical extortion that takes place on February 14th. While they rake in billions in revenue, Cupid is on a rampage of mass consumerism barely giving us enough time to recuperate and replenish our credit card accounts from the Christmas rush.
The quest for the perfect Valentine's gift for that someone special begins on the battlefields of shopping centers and street corner florists, often ending up with reservations for two at some lavish 5-star eatery. I couldn't help but wonder whether all the excess had finally overshadowed the innocent intention of Valentine's Day? Has the value and simplicity of the single red rose completely lost its meaning amidst the countless price tags, receipts and extra expenses? Since when did love come at such a cost?
Major corporations have mastered the art of capitalizing on human desires by creating immaterial holidays that celebrate them. The "Be Mine" teddy bear and "Forever Yours" greeting card are marvelous marketing tools that play on the human need to be loved. Without these gimmicks, we automatically feel meaningless and unworthy. I sympathize with all the singletons out there who have to endure the scrutiny of this insipid holiday. The supposed humiliation of not having "any one special" in their lives must be agonizing especially when they play witness to the many couples who are measuring their love against mass-produced products, readily available and packaged for their convenience. Do we really want to live in a world where "I love you" is replaced with "I want that" and appreciation becomes lost in transaction?
When it comes to Valentine's Day, why do we keep buying into it?