An advert for ‘Valentines-Claim-Lawyers-4U’, provides legal services that fight for compensation for anyone feeling badly let down by a woefully inadequate Valentine gift.
‘Mrs F of York’ was awarded £3,700, when a mystery day trip outlined by husband as “romance personified” ended at a steam traction museum, and ‘Mrs J of Barnsley’ received £4,500 for the hurt caused by the ‘accidental non-removal of 24-hour garage sale stickers on flowers near their sell-by-date.’
Tongue-in-cheek this may be, but the world of Valentine gifts has got out of hand. What do you give your beloved to avoid disappointment? Do you go for a box of chocs and a teddy bear hugging a big fat heart or are you expected to come up with a balloon flight across the Dales or a spa break in the Lakes?
Valentine’s Day has become big business. Long gone are the days when a card and a bunch of flowers – hastily bought while topping up the car with heavily-leaded four star – or a box of Roses sufficed. Now shops, restaurants and travel providers ram the event down people’s throats, proffering treats from costly jewellery to meals at top eateries and city breaks.
Anyone looking to treat their loved one is under pressure to pull out all the stops and deliver an Instagram-friendly experience: chomping through a burger with the golden arches in the background won’t look good against someone else’s lobster linguine at The Ivy, where, incidentally, the Valentine’s menu will set couples back £150.
I’ve always found Valentine’s Day awkward. I’ve never been one for romance, neither has my husband. In fact we would both be far happier pottering around a steam traction museum than having a candlelit dinner in a restaurant.
When you’ve been with someone a long time and your relationship is frayed around the edges the last thing you want is one day of lovely-dovey pretence. Come to think of it, we’ve never bought anything for each other on February 14 so it would be weird to start now. I could do with some new underwear but he’s never been capable of buying his own so he’s certainly not going to start buying mine.
It’s not even classed as underwear on Valentine’s Day, it’s lingerie. That’s a line I’ve never crossed and never will.
But to many, Valentine’s Day is of vital significance. A former neighbour once came round with a box of mint Matchmakers for my children. “These are my Valentine present – I don’t even like mint,” she said in utter disgust.
Surely it’s the thought that counts? And why is all the pressure placed on men? If women expect mini breaks and fancy restaurants they should dip into their own pockets. I am sure there are some exceptions, but they are few and far between.
Some factions are rebelling against the grossly commercial occasion that Valentine’s Day has become.
Dartmoor Zoo is among a number offering ‘the perfect anti-Valentine present’ – naming a cockroach after an ex that you’d rather forget. It’s a novel idea, although the poor old cockroach always gets a bad press – they’re as much a part of the world’s ecosystems as we are, and will survive a whole lot longer, you can be sure of that.
You can buy mugs bearing words such as ‘Cupid is Stupid’ and cards telling it like it is: ‘Happy Capitalistic Couples Day.’
Last week the Princess of Wales was asked whether William would buy her roses on Valentine’s Day. “I don’t think he will,” she replied. Maybe she should call Valentines-Claims-Lawyers4U, she may be in line for a whopping pay out.