By BRETT ARENDS
Valentine's Day is the biggest racket in the year. Even bigger than Christmas.
Anyone who thinks this is really a free country should look at the regiments of well-drilled couples marching off to buy overpriced meals and overpriced flowers in the middle of February because they are "supposed to."
It's a case of emotional blackmail, pure and simple. If you don't spend a lot of money on Valentine's Day, goes the claim, then you're not really in love.
But if you think about it for a second, it's crazy. A dinner out at a romantic restaurant tonight may set you back, say, $200 plus wine for the "special" menu. Dinner at the same restaurant next week? Oh, $50. And a third of the tables will be empty, so you'll get better service.
How much are you paying for red roses today? Guess what. They'll be half that price, or less, tomorrow.
There is no better time to get a deal on chocolates or cards than February 15. Tying St. Valentine's Day to today is a fiction anyway. There's no real historical significance to the date. It could just as easily have been in May or November."
There's a simple answer to this madness. Boycott it. And instead make your own Valentine's Day. Pick your own date with your loved one, unique to the pair of you, and go out and celebrate then.
People will say I'm not being romantic. But they have it completely upside down. What's "romantic" about taking your marching orders from the greeting cards companies and "Big Chocolate"? What's "romantic" about buying your wife or girlfriend flowers when the Romance-Industrial Complex tells you to?
What's "romantic" about going along with the crowd just because everyone else does? (Oh, and where are the conspiracy theorists when you need them? There are plenty of people who tell me all about the Trilateral Commission, or the Bilderberg Group, or the theory that all the gold has been taken out of Fort Knox, without any evidence whatsoever. But no one is talking about the conspiracy run by the Romance-Industrial Complex, even though it's as plain as the nose on your face).
Every dollar you save today will be worth many times that by the time you need it down the road. The answer to Valentine's Day isn't to scrimp on flowers, replacing roses with a bunch of wilted petunias. It isn't to take your sweetheart to McDonald's and share a value meal.
Do Valentine's Day in style. The whole shebang, if you want. But do it on your own schedule.
Hold it on Thursday, or next week, or in March, or whenever. Come to think of it, this is also the smart answer to Christmas as well. Think how much you'll save on presents if you buy them, half price, on December 26.