IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
THE VALENTINE'S DAY SCAM
14 February 2008
I heard the most ridiculous commercial on the radio the other day. It was for The Shane Company--"your friend in the diamond business" (but then I think all their commercials are ridiculous. Shane Co. is the one which talks about their finance plan for your "emergencies" -- who has jewelry emergencies? -- and also the diamonds or sapphires or rubies that complement "her jewelry wardrobe.")
This commercial topped them all, though, I think. The announcer was offering a solution to the last minute emergency of running out to Safeway to pick up a Valentine's gift. Instead, he says, come to Shane Co. and look at their fresh crop of diamonds.
Can't you just see some guy who was planning to stop by Safeway to pick up a $5 box of chocolates for his sweetie suddenly hearing the commercial and deciding to get her a diamond necklace instead 'cause now he knows where he can go to get one?
Thanks to this week's Says You I know where the legend of Valentine's Day began. Supposedly in the 3rd century A.D. the Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage (for straights too!) because men were refusing to go to war, preferring to stay at home with their wives and families instead. A priest named Valentine was secretly marrying couples anyway and was beaten and then decapitated for it. Out of that bloody history has come the holiday we now celebrate as Valentine's Day, which was set aside by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD.
The first commercial Valentine's day cards appeared in the 1800s. Presumably as people began to buy cards, merchants began to see a real money-making market and ran crazy with it.
I never remember Valentine's day as being as huge as it is now when I was a kid. In fact, I was kind of a Charlie Brown type, waiting for Valentine's Day cards that didn't come. We would decorate boxes that I can't remember where we put. Did we put them on our desks? I don't remember. It was embarrassing at school when the popular girls got lots and lots of cards and I had a handful. You smile and pretend it doesn't hurt, but it does.
By the time our own kids went to school, the rule was that you had to bring a card for everyone, which seems a better way to handle it, if kids are going to pass out cards at all.
But the gift thing is just, in my opinion, out of control. I watch TV shows which devote whole segments to all the expensive things you can buy for your sweetie, and I hear chats among women (never among men) about how furious they would be if their sweeties didn't give them a "good" gift for Valentine's day.
We've never done Valentine's day in a big way around here. Walt started buying little (what were then) 25-cent Whitman samplers for the kids when they were very little. He has continued doing that and now mails them off to the kids each year, adding boxes for their spouses as well. He and I exchange a card. Sometimes he buys me flowers. But it's just completely beyond my comprehension to make this a major gift-giving occasion. (Unless, of course, he wants to buy this for me.)
In my opinion, there are two gift giving occasions a year--Christmas and birthdays (Walt doesn't even do Mother's Day because he says that I'm not his mother). After that it just all becomes exploitation and manipulation by merchants looking to make a killing by guilting people into buying expensive stuff. (I'm a cheap date!)
My friend Doug, a vlogger in Rhode Island, helped me test out my new webcam for conferencing. It works! Yippee! We used AOL's instant messaging.
I haven't tested out ease of use on Yahoo Messenger yet.
But everyone tells me that Skype is the best way to message using a web cam, so I downloaded Skype (again--I'd had it before), set it up and tried to contact my friend diane [sic] in England. We could text message, but couldn't get the video going, so she suggested trying AIM and that was successful. What fun!
Laurel is only a few weeks away from delivering, and things
are falling into place for Project Grandbaby. Now that's better
than some expensive Valentine's gift any day!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Chatting with diane
This is entry #2880