V-Day presents chance to shop, to love

It is no secret that Monday, Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day. Whether one views it fondly as “Singles’ Awareness Day” or as a special day to spend time with your loved one and to shower him or her with gifts, stores are preparing for the big day. Aisles are filled with chocolate hearts, stuffed animals, greeting cards and bouquets, all meant for lovers to express affection for significant others.
The phenomenon of Valentine’s Day has been developing over a course of several centuries, derived from many cultures and myths. Most legends reference martyred saints who encouraged forbidden love or married soldiers to women, according to a History Channel segment.
Whatever the reason, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated commercially since the creation of greeting cards in the 1840s by Esther Howland.
“[Valentine’s Day is] a cute holiday, but I don’t think people should take it too seriously,” said Christine Tu-Anh Hang, a second-year BMED major.
Valentine’s Day brings major profit to industries.
Confectionary sales will rise .8 percent in 2011, according to the National Confectioners Association. At least 75 percent of Valentine’s Day candy sales are in chocolate purchases. In 2003, the New York Times noted that the US goes to South America (specifically Ecuador) for over 70 percent of its cut flowers.
“[The] best part of Valentine’s Day is chocolate and flowers. But [I also] think it’s good for the economy because it gives people jobs,” said Samiah Iqbal, a second-year MGT major.
Valentine’s Day appears to be a platform for advertisers and companies to sell more.
The National Retail Federation estimates that US consumers will spend an expected $15.7 billion for V-Day. The survey predicts that people will spend $3.5 billion on jewelry, $1.7 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy and $1.1 billion on greeting cards. That’s an overall increase from 2010 sales, and the trend seems to be in an upward direction.
People are still mindful of the economy, but spending is slowly increasing again.
“[I am] enraged by the commercialization of the holiday because it’s the one day in the year that people feel obligated to do things for their significant other simply because of advertisements. You should do that every day,” said Devi Bhusari, a second-year BIO major.
While commercialization irritates some, others feel it is not as bad as the media makes it out.
“[The holiday] does not seem to be as commercialized as Christmas, and most things are products people always buy. There’s less pressure to buy overall,” said Clint Hardeman, a second-year BIO major.
“Even though Valentine’s Day is very commercialized, I do believe that it’s important because it allows a person to set aside a specific date to spend with their special someone,” said Ian Henrich, a second-year BCHM major.
In any case, students hope to take advantage of the pre-event sales and post-event clearances.


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