Once again Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and once again, you probably have to do something about this. Depending on your relationship status, you might find yourself needing to either pursue a relationship or maintain one. Depending on the circumstances, you could be under a fair amount of pressure to produce something that will either knock his or her socks off (possibly among other articles of clothing, depending on the situation) or something that’ll just simply not mess things up.
As Pat Benetar once sung, Love is a battlefield. And these are the weapons you do not want to be wielding if you know what’s best for you. Every year since 2008 I have been doing one of these Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundup posts, and every year the stores reliably produce a questionable array of seasonal merchandise that will land even the most hopeless romantic on the couch for their Valentine’s night. Of course, everyone’s tastes are different, and it;’s entirely possible that you might even have someone who would appreciate some of these, but in general, a lot of these things are a bad idea no matter who you’re dealing with.
Previous Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundups:
- 2014: How do Fools Fall in Love?
- 2013: Love Conquers All (Except Bad Taste)
- 2012: If you Love Them, Leave it on the Shelf
- 2011: Love Isn’t as Blind as You Think
- 2010: All’s Fair in Love and Merchandising
- 2009: More Great Ways to Spend Your Valentine’s Night Sleeping on the Couch
- 2008: The Original Valentine’s Day Kitsch Roundup
You’ll find this year’s selection of questionable Valentine’s Day merchandise after the jump.
As usual, we start with the traditional (and now thoroughly clichéd) heart-shaped box of candies. To be honest, there really isn’t a whole lot that’s new and exciting in the world of candy this year, but you do see a few things. This one adds a random gratuitous chocolate rose to the standard candy box, just in case a whole box of candy isn’t enough candy for some odd reason.
As usual, various attempts have been made to try to make the standard candy box a bit more “man-friendly” which mostly results in clichés aplenty. Somehow I suspect most men who would be in the target audience for the beer mug one would rather that you just get the beer in the first place.
Of course, if you’re aiming at the male demographic, why even bother with candy in the first place? I mean, the tradition is to fill up the heart-shaped box with candy, but you could stick just about anything that actually fits into there, why not try some different things? I know I’d be thrilled to get a heart-shaped box full of power tools on Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t you? Either way, these guys have the right idea, now we just need to get it to catch on.
And in the ongoing effort to merchandise the living daylights out of Duck Dynasty for every holiday imaginable, they’ve made an appearance on a candy box this year. At this rate, I suspect we’ll be seeing Duck Dynasty-themed Arbor Day merchandise sometime next year.
The whole mustache thing was already played out last year around this time, but I suspect we’ll be seeing this stuff for years to come, mostly because the Internet can’t seem to come up with any better memes lately.
For the past couple of years, we’ve seen a number of these candy boxes become upholstered for some inexplicable reason, which seems to serve little purpose besides to make you feel 27% more guilty about throwing out the box when it’s empty. Most of the fabrics chosen for this treatment are fairly standard and tasteful, but every once in a while you get one that looks like they got the fabric straight off a tacky couch from the Seventies.
On the other hand, I’m starting to think that some of these are getting to be nicer than some of the furniture I’ve had over the years.
But sometimes what yo need is quantity over quality, and you can certainly still get that if you need it. I’ve already gone over these before, but this year, it turned out to be a real bargain:
That’s right, buy one giant 42-ounce box of candy for $40, and get a second for half off. That’s a whopping 5 pounds of premium candy for just $60, which would be a tremendous bargain if you couldn’t get the same amount in 6 12-ounce boxes and spend a lot less. That begs the question of exactly who would have a need for more than one gigantic candy box in the first place, but that’s your own business.
Naturally, the other big item crowding the seasonal shelves in the store is the endless supply of cheap noncommittal Valentine cards designed for handing out in little Timmy’s Third Grade class. Interestingly, you can usually get a pretty good idea of the current zeitgeist by looking at what happens to be on the shelves. Zombies, which by now have been done to death, buried, reanimated and done to death again, remain inexplicably popular.
This includes the ones that attack people’s yards and battle with the local flora, it seems. There was a new game in this series released last year, but to be honest I haven’t heard much about it lately. Interestingly, Angry Birds didn’t seem to be found anywhere on the shelves this year.
But just in case your nine-year-old happens to be a hipster, they have that one covered too. But you probably already had these before they were cool, which means they’ve gone mainstream and sold out. Better switch to the gluten-free ones.
If you’re looking for some other inexplicably hip and trendy fad to attach to your valentines, there’s always cheeseburgers. But since regular ones have been run into the ground (you can probably blame McDonald’s for that one) they have to use sliderz (sic) instead.
Once again, most people who would theoretically be in the target audience for something like this would probably rather just have the actual beer. I have no idea exactly how this is supposed to translate to caramel corn in the first place.
WARNING: The Surgeon General has determined that giving these as a Valentine’s Day present may be hazardous to your health.
You will probably want to make absolutely certain that your love for someone is, in fact, like a truck before you give this to them.
Depending on your tastes, you may want to consider waiting until after the make-out session to present this one to your Valentine.
Everyone knows that jewelry is supposed to be a popular Valentine’s Day present, but should you choose to go this route, you might want to consider buying it from somewhere besides the grocery store.
Stuffed animals, as always, are a popular choice. Or stuffed something-or-others anyway. Seriously, this is just lazy. Take a heart, stick the meme-of-the-week on it and call it a day.
This, on the other hand, isn’t quite so lazy, but might not be a great idea unless you’ve got a serious nerd or a Meth cooker in your life. Oh, and if you happen to be wondering, Tellurium is considered to be somewhat toxic…
The ever popular generically cute teddy bear remains the most popular item on the shelves, but there isn’t a whole lot that distinguishes one from another. This one happens to smell like chocolate, which is great if you want someone to think they’re getting chocolate and then disappoint them.
Maybe you’re looking for something a little longer lasting. Why not try these pink mason jars covered with awkwardly placed cliches?
Or maybe you want to convey just how much you love someone. This might be a bit of a stretch for some people though. Those people are typically known as “wine snobs”.
For some people, this is a pretty serious commitment. Which is presumably why Apple is worth $700 billion these days.
If you happen to need a Valentine’s Day gift for the radical feminist in your life, this will probably do. Then again, Valentine’s Day is probably just another tool of patriarchal oppression anyway, so you can probably just safely pass on that one.
If you didn’t learn everything you need to know about love back in Kindergarten, you might have also learned it from a Little Golden Book. Then again, I suspect that you might not quite have covered everything unless they have Dr. Ruth writing the things these days.
Perhaps you’d like to spend your Valentine’s day evening with a nice movie that you can conveniently ignore because you’re too busy making out on the couch. Or perhaps you’d like to spend it with a half-baked and confusing adaptation of a story about a phony rich guy who’s obsessed with stealing someone else’s wife.
But if none of that works, maybe you’re just plain out of ideas. In that case, I suppose you could just go for some (now really cheap) leftover Christmas candy.
And finally, if none of that other stuff happens to work out… Well, there’s some stuff in the next aisle that won’t solve your problems, but might give you some even bigger ones to worry about. As always, have a happy Valentine’s Day, and be safe out there.