The Commodification of Valentines Day

I just heard that my friend’s friend had enlisted her help in finding a gift for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. Apparently he has a really great girlfriend who doesn’t like him spending money on her. However his budget for Valentine’s Day is $500 including tax, and his options include jewellry from Tiffany & Co, a Gucci wallet, or a Michael Kors handbag. And this is on top of the classic bouquet of a dozen roses and a fancy dinner at a high-end restaurant.

I haven’t purchased roses myself in a while… but for a quick guesstimate they range anywhere from $75-100, depending on which florist you visit, and likewise, a dinner at high-end restaurant, complete with starter/entree/dessert could cost anywhere from $100-150. Putting that altogether, this boyfriend, who is a university student, is potentially spending over $750 just for Valentine’s Day.

Is this really necessary? 

I don’t understand… Money has never equated love or appreciation, why must we, as consumers, be sucked in and brainwashed into society’s marketing mindset of schemes? Why does this particular boyfriend have a huge budget for one particular day of the year, yet his girlfriend 1) doesn’t like him spending too much money on her and 2) has no particular interest in expensive, branded products? Does it really say “I love and appreciate you” when he shows up with a Gucci wallet as a gift that she never really wanted in the first place, and may not fully appreciate its beauty and value?

I can relate to the girlfriend. I don’t like expensive and branded products as gifts from others, especially from my significant other… especially if it’s a generic gift that the saleslady probably recommended. I definitely appreciate the thought and effort he took into going to a store to pick a gift for me for a special day, but if I wanted something expensive, I would want to purchase it myself.

I prefer more personal gifts. Gifts with significant meanings that shine through and stand out for me, not the pricetag glimmering of wealth and money. Or a day well-spent together. Those are the gifts that are most memorable, that I cherish and treasure.

Sure, I guess if he has the money and he’s willing to spend the money, then he can do as he pleases… but I can’t help but wonder why. Is all this excessive spending really necessary to show that you love & appreciate your significant other?


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