Happy Valentine’s Day – a day devoted to love.

It’s a day we love to hate. We hate the obligation. We hate the materialism. We hate being the one who doesn’t have a “special someone” and so we feel unworthy of the love we are supposed to be feeling. We hate the crowd mentality. We hate the crowd! We hate the greeting card companies, whom we suspect have created this day as a plot against humanity. While we’re at it, we hate every jeweler, every department store, every mall, and restaurant that is not a fast food chain.

Love should be free, we grumble, while we tally up our $50 (plus tax) floral arrangement, our $100 (plus tip) dinner for two at an overcrowded, noisy, hectic restaurant. Never mind whatever we spent on cards, gifts, wrapping paper, parking, etc.
A few of us attempt to tear down the evil Valentine empire. We publically rant, using all the social media tools now at our disposal. We recruit co-conspirators who share our grassroots passion for overthrowing any marketer who dares to develop a “Valentine special” anything. We will boycott them. We will tell all our friends to boycott them. We will tell people whom we barely know to boycott the merest idea of supporting a day devoted to the idea of love.

Still, Valentine’s Day continues, year after year, in all its materialistic, chocolate-covered, floral-scented glory. In fact, for some businesses, Valentine’s Day is their busiest of the year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts a 12 percent increase in spending over last year!

The reason Valentine’s Day remains as strong as ever is this simple marketing truth: There is no better alternative. Customers don’t have to love your product to buy it. They only have to need it more than the alternative. The opposite of love isn’t hate. The opposite of love is apathy. Good luck creating apathy over a thing like love.

Today, the alternative to expressing your love through material means is to risk that the object of your affection will talk to his or her friends the next day. That will lead to comparisons between your display (or lack thereof) and the display of his/her friends’ significant other. Taking your philosophical stand against materialism will not reflect well on you in this scenario.

So, until we haters of Valentine’s Day can come up with a better approach than “no approach” we would be better off to suck it up, do our part, and, if we can’t actually love the day, at least love the economy!