Interestingly, I find that I am not the only one who has decided to boycott Valentine's Day this year. I cannot provide you with a percentage of people in the US who are beginning to rebel against what Valentine's Day has become - an empty shell of retailer-driven "holiday" characterized by cultural uniformity, and a strong penchant for mass-produced commodity-level products/gifts - but I will try to put something together next year.
The blogs are surprisingly abuzz with anti-Valentine's Day sentiment, shared by a surprising number of people in my office today.
I suspect this backlash is due to the over-commercialization of the holiday by greeting card companies, chocolate/candy makers, flower retailers and the hundreds of chinese factories pumping out cheap crap most of us are only too eager to buy for a "loved" one.
The point is that Valentine's Day has been so overcommercialized (I prefer the term 'plastified') that it has lost its authenticity: When everyone buys the same crap, the act of doing something special for a loved one (or 'buying' something special for a loved one) becomes not special at all. Everyone buys the same cards, the same flowers, the same teddy bears, the same lame box of chocolates... and yes, even the same set of diamond earrings.
We're just going through the motions, at this point. Not all of us, but most of us. $2.99 for a little red VD bag. $0.99 for some silk paper to fill the bag with. $19.99 for a dozen roses... or the chocolate box with special edition teddy bear Valentine kit. Or better yet, $4.27 worth of candy from the checkout aisle.
Maybe $3.99 for a greeting card.
Heart-shaped candy or brownies for the kids.
We've forgotten how to take the time to celebrate a true sweethearts' day. We've forgotten how to take the time to think about doing or buying something unique. Something special. Something memorable and meaningful for our loved one. Instead, we just go to the local Walgreens or Target or Walmart or Costco, and we grab whatever's on the shelf. We go through the motions. We do what's expected of us on this day. We buy boring Valentine's Day crap just because everyone else does.
And it is crap.
What does that say about us? "Hey honey, I love you so much that I bought you this big red heart-shaped piece of crap. I put a lot of thought into it. I actually picked it myself. Millions of people bought the exact same piece of crap for their special someone too, but mine is more special because it comes from me. That's how much I love you."
I imagine that the numbers I will present next year will show a significant and steady increase in US consumer's disdain for this 'holiday' that has now become as hollow, artificial and commoditized as the insultingly mediocre products retailers attempt to shove down our throats.
We've cheapened what used to be great little holidays to such an extent now that our culture is truly beginning to turn into a cliche of rampant consumerism and bad taste.
Labels: overcommercialization, the death of culture, valentine's day