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The rising price of love

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By Kevin Mercado

Opinions Editor


Feb 10, 2015

Love is on the rise, and so is the cost.

   Valentine’s Day, the day of love, is looming on us. So is the pressure to get a date, the right type of chocolate, the best smelling flowers, and the most fancy restaurant.  After all it is the day to show someone how much you care.


   If “love is free, why does it cost so much to express it?” asks Chris Kahn of Bankrate.com. And this is a question for the ages.

   According to a survey done by the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend an average of $142.31 this year of Valentine’s Day treats, flowers, and apparel. This is a 6.3 percent increase from last year.

   Perhaps people are feeling the intense need to show off to their spouse or significant other either how much they care or how much they have to spend, or both.

   Recently, it has become much less about love and more about how much one person can give to another to show their love and affection. Most of the time people are not even buying gifts for just their significant other. One man will go into a flower shop and buy a bouquet for his girlfriend, his sister, his mom, his aunts, his grandmother, his niece, his sister-in-law, the three girls down the street and the old lady in apartment 3B.

   Paying for Valentine’s Day has become more and more excessive over the years, as people have to outdo themselves from the previous year.

   Don’t get me wrong I would love to get free chocolate as much as the next guy, but now it has been expected that every person (generally men) go out and buy overpriced chocolate and flowers that are going to die in a week.

   It’s a nice gesture for sure, but I doubt that it has to be on a day where everything that is expected as a gift (a teddy bear, special heart shaped candy, chocolate in a heart-shaped box) comes at way too high a cost.

   Michelle Singletary, columnist for the Washington Post, says of her and her husband, “[We] don’t need stuff to show our love. I don’t expect flowers (they die). I love chocolate, but neither of us wants any since we are both trying to lose weight. It’s too crowded at restaurants. My love language is words of affirmation. All my husband has to do for Valentine’s Day is talk sweet to me, and I melt. I’m good. And we save a lot of money.”

   Expressing love should never have a price tag attached to it. Of course a lot of people on the Internet and in person will say that expressing love should not be for a single day, but it should be every day. And as much as I loathe people who preach on Facebook and Twitter, I have to agree with them. The message of Valentine’s Day should not be suppressed into one single day, especially when it falls on a day where every corner store, CVS, Rite-Aid, Target and Walmart will increase the prices on the chocolate that you already buy.

   Perhaps saying, “I love you” and kicking back with homemade dinner is enough to get the message across.  And for the people who are not on the wealthier side of things, I say don’t try to be. Going the extra mile on Valentine’s Day is romantic and sweet in theory, but the thought of the post-Valentine’s bank account status would make anyone cringe.

   If everyone rejoices and realizes that the idea of Valentine’s Day has been propagandized to suit a retailer’s dream, we can see that a more romantic evening does not require a wallet full of cash.

   I am sure that most people are not asking for too much.  So it might help to hear the other person out and figure out what works best.

   Inevitably, going overboard on the Valentine’s swag might just be too much. Let’s stop making Valentine’s buying a requirement to celebrate love.

   I hope that on this Valentine’s Day we realize what is the most important aspect of celebration, love. And, not to sound like a cheesy hallmark card, spending loads of money is not a factor when it comes to expressing love.

   So please, put the wallets away and wait until after Valentine’s Day to buy all the chocolate you want cheaper during the post-Valentine’s Day clearance sale.

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