The Heart Business
February 14, 2017
Did you know Valentine’s Day is a 30 billion dollar holiday? Companies such as 1-800-Flowers, The Hershey Company, Hallmark Cards, Necco, Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Victoria’s Secret, Tiffany & Company, and we can’t forget the US Postal Service or the trucking company (Armellini Express Lines) that are responsible for getting cards and flowers to their respective destinations – all these companies rake it in during the days surrounding February 14th.
According to Petra Boyton, a psychologist and sex researcher working on International Health Care at University College London, and a contributor to The Telegraph, argues: “People dislike how Valentine’s Day represents the commercialization of relationships, dictating how people can demonstrate love, defining what ‘romance’ should be…”
Boyton isn’t necessarily wrong about the commercialization since this year, the average person will spend $134 on candy, flowers, lingerie, teddy bears, cards, and jewelry, which is up from the $131 spent last year. I guess the question is – is the commercialization a bad thing? Certainly not for the the many small businesses such as florists, gift shops, and candy stores. The revenue generated by all things red, pink, and sweet move them closer to “the black” on their balance sheets.
If I look at the question from the side of the consumer, well frankly, it’s a choice. In all honesty, your girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse ultimately wants to know he or she is appreciated. Doing the dishes more often, and extra hug, being kind the other 364 days out of the year speaks volumes. Hand-made cards show far more thought than a Hallmark card purchased for $5.99. But let’s be realistic – stores are going to plaster their windows with reminders of how you should celebrate February 14th – it's good business. Some people don’t have the skills or the time to make a card. There is nothing wrong demonstrating your affections by in participating in this commercial exercise. But might I suggest a compromise? Pull out your wallet, purchase a card, some flowers, or some chocolate from a local business, a mom and pop store. Help these small businesses inch closer to generating a profitable bottom line.
Enjoy the day!
Anne Converse Willkomm
Director of Graduate Studies