It’s Valentine’s Day, so it’s time for my annual Valentine’s Day rant. I’m rerunning last year’s post, but just want to add a couple of thoughts. I despise this marketing manipulation day for so many reasons, but really hope to convince you, at the least, not to fall for the hype and spend money you may not be able to afford as the Valentine Svengali’s are hoping to persuade you to do.
If you MUST “celebrate,” consider sending a free e-card in lieu of enriching Hallmark or American Greetings, who are part of this $18 billion dollar industry, using a sub-text of guilt to draw you into their web of unnecessary spending.
One of my favorite words is “sheeple.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means docile, compliant, or easily influenced : people likened to sheep.
I don’t know if it’s “sheeple” complex driving this industry. Or guilt. Or an easy way to use money to show love. But you don’t need a specific day to remember to show those you love how much you care about them.
If you must engage in this nonsense because it matters to that most important person in your life, there are a million ways to express your love without giving in to the pressure to buy candy, jewelry, flowers, or cards … ways that will be far more meaningful and remembered more fondly. Here are a few examples:
I’m writing about Valentine’s Day in the hopes that I can convince those of you who fall under its twisted spell to see clearly through the deceptive veil that masks “the day of love.” As you may surmise, I’m not a fan.
Now, bear in mind that this article is somewhat tongue in cheek, but only somewhat. I truly have disdain for this “Hallmark” holiday, which is, in fact, a trifecta of indulgence, a promotional conspiracy between the greeting card, jewelry, and floral industries to drive consumers into guilt spree spending. (By the way, this “holiday” has quite a violent past … but more about that in a moment).
If you don’t believe Valentine’s Day is a blatant manipulation by the industries mentioned above (along with anyone else who thinks they can find a way to get you to open your wallet in the name of love), here are some sickening Valentine’s Day spending statistics from an article called, “38 Surprising Valentine’s Day Statistics Marketers Will Love.”
Before I continue, I can hear you saying, “well, what about Mother’s Day?” To that, I say, wait until you have raised a teenager who is hormonally ungrateful and petulant 364 days a year, and you will understand why being guilt-driven on Mother’s Day, no matter how old you are, is a kindness and penance for those demonic years.
But I digress.
Click here to listen on our podcast site, “I Cant Stop Spending!”
As I write this, it’s a little over a week before Christmas and Hanukkah. And it came to me that it’s the perfect day to begin a recovery program or to re-commit to recovery around compulsive spending. What better time to let your addiction know that you mean business then to affirm your commitment in the midst of the frenzied spending around the holidays.
In fact, if you suffer from any addiction, now is the time to get the help you need to become and stay sober or abstinent or clean or solvent or authentic or whatever describes your addiction. This is the season of excess, whether it’s food, money, sex, alcohol, people-pleasing, anxiety, sadness, anger, or whatever else you are powerless over.
I’ll tell you why this came up for me today. I attend a Debtors Anonymous (DA) meeting where we read and share on DA pamphlets. This week, while working through the Recovery from Compulsive Spending pamphlet, we read and discussed “suggestions that have helped many D.A. members recover from the pain of compulsive spending.” (from the pamphlet)
Update on progress for the Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders: 222 days written!
If you read my previous Valentine’s Day post from 2014, you know that I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I think it’s a manipulation by greeting card companies, jewelry stores, florists, and anyone else who thinks they can get money out of you on this fake holiday with violent roots.
In my opinion, Valentine’s Day just makes singles feel lonely and couples feel guilty.