Earlier this week, as I popped into Scribbler to buy a birthday card for my brother, I was reminded in no uncertain terms that Eros is second only to Father Christmas when it comes to the pecking order of the greetings market.
The shop was packed with hordes of customers blocking the aisle, no doubt anxious to avoid a costly divorce that would surely arise, should they neglect their annual duty of buying their significant other a small reminder that they are still indeed just that.
Of course, it’s not just card shops focusing their promotional and marketing strategies around Valentine’s Day.
Florists and jewellers will no doubt be having a field day, but if you can’t afford precious metals or stones, Poundland have apparently sold 40,000 engagement rings in advance of Valentines Day this year.
And M&S has brought back its heart-shaped “love sausages” and introduced a new “love cucumber”, which can be cut into heart-shaped slices, just in case flowers are out of the question because your other half is a chronic hay fever sufferer.
As we all know, it’s been a very tough time for retailers in recent years, so when any kind of event like Valentines Day comes along they will push for all the new business they can get… and in the current conditions who would blame them?
According to research by Savvy, the retail and shopper marketing agency, spending on Valentine’s Day reached around £853m last year, up 7.8% on 2018 figures. By my reckoning that’s about £12.75 per person, based on the UK population of 66.87 million people.
However, there must be millions of people that don’t get involved in it at all. So with a much smaller proportion of the population spending a much larger amount per head, surely it’s time for the marketing industry to go after the finances of those that have got away without spending a bean.
It could be called Singleton Day. The ethos would be that anyone who saved money by not having to buy presents for a partner on Valentine’s Day is pressured by both the marketing industry and all of their peers to indulge themselves in unnecessary gifts/treats/luxuries that they don’t really need. We kind of have it already, albeit it is currently marketed as Black Friday, but this should be another standalone event. I can already hear retailers singing my praises for this inspired idea, as they bask in the wealth generated by thousands – no, millions – of consumers dutifully parting with their cash for fear of the social stigma that would tarnish them if they didn’t.
I’d imagine there will be some kind of statue erected in my honour, maybe in front of Selfridges or something.
So, to any of you that got away with splashing the cash for 14th Feb, “Spoil yourself on Singleton Day! You know you’re worth it.”