Not so Frivolous Friday - Apparently, you can put a price on Love

According to the National Retail Federation the average American spent  $116.21 on traditional Valentine's Day merchandise this year - bringing total Valentine's Day spending in the US to $15.7 Billion.   Goodness, the well mannered mother might be thinking, $15.7 Billion dollars on conversation hearts, flowers, cards, doilies and glue sticks.  How is this possible?  Don't forget the jewelry, clothes, and expensive dinners.  And yet, how can all of this add up to such an enormous amount?  We are well aware that in some households this holiday has long been considered nothing but a "phony-greeting-card-industry-holiday."  In such cases you might find  spouses rummaging around the house looking for pink and red construction paper the night before and hoping no one was going to do anything 'crazy' involving actual gifts or Winstons flowers.  But obviously in many, many other houses this is big business.  The modern mother wonders, is this yet another example of  how out of control consumerism has become in America?   Are we, as nation, incapable of ignoring the signals retailers begin sending the day after the last holiday?  When Christmas pops up the day after Halloween and Valentine's Day kicks in December 26th is it any wonder Americans have a hard time resisting the urge to consume? No doubt there is also a correlation between consumer holiday spending and the fact that one can now purchase Marshmallow Peeps for every major holiday.  While it would hardly be mannerly to suggest how the modern mother spends her time or money, it is interesting to consider what might happen if the modern mother were (en mass)  to 'just say no' to whatever festive cheer the retailers throw her way next.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would add: When did it become de rigueur for children to hand out candy to their classmates in addition to paper valentines? Perhaps when candy companies came up with those convenient pre-packed candy valentines?

Like they need more candy! As it is now, Halloween candy lasts until Christmas, Christmas candy until Valentine's day, and Valentine's candy until Easter. Will we now need to add candy to Memorial day to ensure we remain well sugar year round?

EBB said...

Anonymous, I agree of course. I did not mention in the post, but the one part of Valentine's Day I do support is the making/writing and distributing of cards to classmates. Which a good marketer would - sadly - see as a brilliant opportunity to reach the 'youth market.' Thereby expanding the lifetime value of the candy consumer. I can't wait until they catch on to your Memorial Day suggestion. Thanks for reading.

Alex Dumortier, CFA said...

I like Valentine's day; it's just an extra opportunity to show your significant other that you care about them.

Re. The 'CFA' attached to my name: I don't usually add a professional designation to blog comments, but it seems it is attached to my Google ID (to my surprise).

Capability said...

We are low-key but have sertain traditions on V-Day - my husband makes a special dinner for the family and he gives the girls a present (sweatshirts this year).

Kate said...

i gave my kids books for valentines day. oh and some heart peeps. i guess i love the fact that you can get peeps year round.

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