Happy Valentine’$ Day, or a little lament

Here at Three Stone Steps, we take a pretty dim view of negative posts. But, today is Valentine’s Day and I must admit that it’s just not my kind of holiday. I sort of bristle at the thought of flowers and chocolates (more about how they are produced later), and canned & sometimes clever sentiments supplied by the large greeting card companies. Of course, if Valentine’s Day is your thing, well, good for you. It’s just that I would prefer to share my feelings about a person in a less mainstream and consumerist kind of way.

And, sorry, now having a flashback to Bedford Elementary School, where we decorated paper lunch bags and gave Valentines cards, bought in boxes of what, two dozen, to our classmates. Thinking about this now, it just seems very, very odd…..

This morning I read some staggering figures about the money spent on this holiday of love. (I’ve had some trouble with linking this morning, but this is all from http://www.businessshrink.biz. I will try my best to get a direct link for this.)

You can expect the typical things that are always traded on Valentine’s Day to be given as tokens of affection. Flowers, chocolate, greeting cards and jewelry always keeps the typical lover in check with the Joneses. When you combine all these items in addition to the offbeat tokens of affection you get a figure of about $17.02 billion dollars. The National Retail Federation did their yearly survey of consumers about their planned spending habits for Valentines Day and arrived at these numbers. Every year the numbers end up well on par and show American’s are good at predicting honestly what they will spend on Valentines day.
With survey results tabulated and the final numbers in from National Retail Federation, American’s are predicted to spend $122.98 on average per person. In 2006 predicted spending amounts rang in at $100.89 per person on the average. This is nearly a 21.9% increase in spending in only 2 years. If the potential recession is getting consumers down, Valentine’s Day seems to be getting them back in love with opening their pocketbooks. There is one hint of a predicted spending hit due to the recession and it lies with women and their spending. Women’s predicted spending declined in every category except jewelry this year according to some numbers produced over at Marketing Daily.

We’re certainly talking about of chunk of change here. And, I don’t even think this includes going out for a decent meal in an overcrowded for Valentine’s Day restaurant. I am also wondering about who gives Valentines to the workers who pick the flowers (which are, I’d hazard to guess, not exactly grown in pristine organic conditions, exposing workers–and the environment–to all sorts of toxic chemicals), and unless you get fair trade chocolate, who knows under what conditions its grown and made. Jewelry, like diamonds and gold, have their own labor problems…..

But, Three Stone Steps is into solving problems, and not creating them! So, if you’re looking for a great gift, how about a nice silk scarf, or a messenger bag made from repurposed mosquito netting, or a wallet from that same mosquito netting material? A nice silk handbag or business card holder also makes for a great, and guilt free, and affordable gift for your Valentine’s sweetheart.

But, just to show that I like flowers, and I like love, I present to you a lovely photo taken from just outside of my little hotel in Singapore.
This woman was just outside of my hotel everyday, and was selling flowers (and incense) for those entering the neighboring Goddess of Mercy Temple. I still thought the flowers were special, and I really do like the idea of Mercy, just as I’m pretty fond of fairness and justice. I don’t know if there are goddesses and temples for these ideals, but Three Stone Steps would surely buy flowers when entering those temples.

Of course, I wish everyone who celebrates this holiday the happiest of Valentine’s Days ever. And, honestly, who couldn’t use a little more love in the world!

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Filed under fair trade, mosquito net, scarves, silk, Valentines Day

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