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Is it worth splashing out on Valentine’s Day?

Couple kissing behind a red heart

If slushy cards, teddies and supermarket flowers don’t turn your stomach, maybe scoffing a whole box of chocolates will. And even if 14 February isn’t bad for your health, there’s a good chance it will hurt your wallet…

Valentine’s Day is probably the most divisive ‘celebration’ of the year. Even the most mean-spirited Scrooges end up entering the Christmas spirit – and who would dare trash Mother’s Day, or turn their nose up at Easter?

Yet 14 February separates the romantics from the cynics, the slushy from the sassy and the sweet from the ‘so what?’

Commercial hoo-ha!

Some people see it as an excuse to show a loved one they care, and arguably this is admirable. Others view Valentine’s Day as a commercial ploy, designed only to convince us that £5 is a reasonable price to pay for a greetings card with a pink kitten on it.

For the Valentine’s Day sceptic, all the hoo-ha that erupts on 14 February reeks of insincerity. If your partner isn’t worthy of particular attention at any other point during the year, why pull out all the stops just because the advertising industry has told you to?

What’s the price of love?

On previous V-Days when a boyfriend has seen fit to pull out all the stops for me, I’ve actually found it rather embarrassing. Overblown declarations of adoration, dozens of roses and truckloads of chocolates just make me feel tense. What is the correct reaction (apart from saying thanks, of course)?

But it seems many of us expect, and enjoy, traditional grand gestures on 14 February. According to Virgin Atlantic, over 15 tonnes of roses from Kenya have hit UK shores in the past week. That’s a 44% rise on the same period last year despite stubborn inflation, looming public spending cuts and mass concern about our economy.

Meanwhile, if you choose to you could splash up to £50 on a box of chocolates at your local Thornton’s – or even more if you go the whole hog and buy your beloved a Valentine’s Day fragrance, some jewellery or an item of clothing.

One size won’t fit all

Whether such gifts are seen as shallow and thoughtless, or sweet and meaningful, depends on the recipient. Given to the right person, a classic pressie will definitely win you undying affection.

But the key is to know your audience on Valentine’s Day, and that involves making the kind of effort that’s got nothing to do with digging deep into your wallet.

Personally, I like peonies better than roses, I’ve never been able to stomach cards with poems inside them and – if I’m going to get a gift this Valentine’s Day – I’d prefer it to be something that reflects my taste, not everyone else’s.

And if I end up with nothing, I guess that doesn’t matter: I’ve effectively asked to be ignored today by stating there’s nothing special about it. But…

In the immortal words of the poet Liz Lochhead: ‘I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine… I’d melt.’ Perhaps V-Day gets to us all in the end.

Dear fiancé, if you’re reading this: best stop off and pick up something pretty before we meet for that intimate dinner tonight.

Comments
Member

Despite my protestations that this is of course a ploy by many companies to exploit an occasion for massive commercial gain I have to admit that even I’ve fallen for it. So, a dozen red roses made their way to my OH’s place of work today and that of course will be followed by a card, a gift and a meal courtesy of Mr Mark and Mr Spencer.

But it does bring back memories of when I was a poor student. In wooing a girl I’d long admired I sent her half a dozen red roses. I learnt very soon that if you’re going to send anything less than a dozen it has the complete opposite effect 🙁

Never mind, I’m happy now 🙂

Member

Ahhh, Fat Sam – you romantic chap!

And I must admit in this very public forum that I’ve just received a dozen red roses at work, and my heart did a little melty flip. So clearly, even though I have tried very hard to be impervious to Valentine’s Day this year, I’ve failed and have fallen for it too!

Member

hey, even blobfish have feelings…

Member
Sophie Gilbert says:
15 February 2011

If I received one rose I’d be chuffed! But my husband isn’t the romantic type… And we both think this is indeed a “ploy by many companies to exploit an occasion for massive commercial gain”. Next such occasion will be Easter. Watch for the incredibly over-packaged chocolate eggs appearing in a shop near you very, very soon. But a single red rose though… Ah well.

Member

I saw some Easter eggs this morning!

Member

I always save my opinions on valentines day until after the day in question, as I usually suffer from the same dilemma as Laura. If I don’t get anything then I think Valentines Day is a stupid made-up commercialised event, if get so much as one tiny flower I’ll be over the moon and declare it the most romantic and special day of the year.

This year’s valentines day was a stupid made-up commercialised event. Hmph.

Member

I always used to take my wife out to dine on Valentines Day – to reassure her my heart was still in the same place, Never did so while being engaged though

Member

Has anyone looked at the difference between the big companies on red roses.
Moonpig will send 12 red roses for £25, Interflora will send SIX red roses for £35 how can they justify that, its making money which to me is well over the top. INTERFORA will send 1 red rose for £10

Member

Roses are a real rip-off because they are forced so sag and die very quickly.

Have you thought of sending orchids instead?

Try orchidpost.co.uk. I have been using them for years. Their cut orchids will last up to 2 months if they are looked after.

Member

Thanks Alfa for bringing this Conversation back into circulation. I must have missed it first time round. Your Orchid suggestion is a very good idea. We have Roses and other flowers in the house all year round so something different is always welcome and [hopefully] a pleasant surprise.

If I might give a tip in exchange: always check the letter size symbol on the back of a St. Valentine’s card to ensure you put the correct postage on it. Some of them have a tendency to be a few millimetres into the Large Letter category. To my enduring shame I have twice failed to spot this and the cards were not delivered until after I had sent the postage due plus £1 surcharge back to Royal Mail. It takes the edge off the sentiment somehow since the envelope is by then covered in hideous labels and stampings.

I think some of the stuff on display in the shops aimed at the St. Valentine’s day market is extremely corny and tacky nowadays – it makes some of the Hallowe’en stuff look sophisticated. And who decided that all the envelopes and other trimmings have to be red? – yes, I know it’s an unofficial Red Letter day and red is the colour for passion from the heart, but it’s become so hackneyed it’s lost its ecstatic excitement effect [same with Easter being saturated in egg-yolk yellow]. As for the choice of gift, perhaps I am lazy but find the favourite fragrance rarely disappoints.