Over the years I have heard a lot of different people make a lot of different comments regarding this unique holiday. I’ve listened to the positive and the negative schools of thought. Everything from the classic negative argument, “Just another way for ‘greeting card companies’ to make you buy something” to the classic positive appeal, “It’s nice to receive something from those who are important from you on this day”…even if it is contrived.
That being said, I’ve never really given the matter too much deep thought, until now. Being a very passionate person about most things in life, I surprisingly have historically found myself neither strongly promoting nor opposed to matters such as this. To point out the obvious, of course the business that I’m in benefits financially from the celebration of Valentine’s Day. But this is precisely why I’ve made the conscious decision to explore the notion further, trying to do so through the eyes of our customers, as an armchair anthropologist of sorts, if nothing else.
I will try to stay as neutral as possible during my brief little analysis here, and see where it takes me. I will allow the result of my own personal conclusion come from the focus group which is our customer base. The customer is after all, our boss.
Over the years of seeing our customers come in for gifts tied to Valentine’s Day, I have seen more consistency in demeanor from our customers than one might expect.
Most guys come into the store looking forward to finding something really special and unique to present to their special someone, and they want their gift to show thought. Rarely does a customer walk into our door and imply that they “have to” get a gift for Valentine’s Day. Furthermore, rarely do I hear anyone say or imply anything to the effect of, “So long as I stay under $XX, I don’t much care what the gift is”.
Of course, societal pressures often strongly imply that some sort of notice should be given to this holiday. That much I’d hate to debate against. However, I think that a lot of people really enjoy the reminder to do something out-of-the-ordinary, even if it is expected; an ironic twist I suppose.
Getting back to me personally on the topic, I know that if I decided to tell my fiancée that we should make a point to do something mutually endearing towards one another on an arbitrary date each year, and never utter the words “Happy Valentine’s Day” to one another, she’d be supportive and welcome the switch.
Likewise, it should go without saying that kind acts, be they either on random days of the year, contrived holidays, or both, should be part of a normal healthy relationship. They can be of a gift-giving nature, simple gestures of kindness, or truly anything that is mutually understood between the couple.
In short, I think that I’ve concluded that I myself see absolutely nothing the matter with any sort of contrived holiday that encourages recognition of loved ones. It has nothing to do with the fact that people should do nice things for one another during non-holiday periods. That should go without saying, and never were the two meant to be mutually exclusive. Besides, I know that over the years I’ve seen a tremendous amount of customers walking out of our store around this time of year looking forward to presenting their well-thought-out gift to their loved one…and I can only be sure that there have been a lot of happy smiles several days later when sentiments are exchanged, knowing that their special someone took the time and effort to let them know how much they’re cared for.
To come full circle on the matter, I’m glad that after ‘celebrating’ the holiday numerous times, and partaking in other’s celebrations from a gift-providing standpoint, that I finally took a moment to give it thought. At least if I’m ever asked about the topic I don’t have to reply that, “I’ve never given it much thought!”