Valentine's Day press releases have sent me over the edge: this celebration has turned into a gut-curdling greedfest

Walk into any shop and you’re practically attacked by romance

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The Independent Online

Consumerism has burped its self-seeking stench all over Valentine’s Day and turned a rather sweet celebration into a gut-curdling greedfest. Thanks to retailers, along with love there’s a whole load of guilt, anxiety and pressure attached to this particular day, whether you’re single or attached.

Walk into any shop and you’re practically attacked by romance. Angry red hearts dangle threateningly from ceiling tiles, cushions shouting LOVE are scattered accusingly across displays, and judgmental teddies guard stands like scornful sentinels. It’s not just in gift shops anymore either, even our food has to be heart-shaped. This annoys me most. It is far more difficult to binge eat into oblivion my fear that I will be forever alone when all the brownies and pizzas are shaped like hearts.

Yup, Valentines Day is big business. and everyone wants a piece of the sickly sweet pie. I know this because I have had a press release about it.

It’s one amongst many. Since last week press releases have rained down upon my inbox like consumerist confetti. I understand why you might think Valentine's Day is a good time to sell something if you are a restaurant, a florist or a chocolate shop, but apparently St Valentine is a more versatile saint than I ever imagined.

I’ve been emailed by blind companies, residential property experts, some place that sells morphsuits, Sainsbury’s bank, a phone company, Malt loaf, Costa Coffee and Lego.  I appreciate how difficult it is for PRs but there comes a point where it just starts to get ridiculous. You cannot connect Valentine’s day with your brand. That survey is nonsense. Do not address me ‘Dear F Moose’.

The titles of the emails alone make your brain shiver. My colleague received one with the subject “Who do you most want to squidge this Valentine’s Day?” Squidge is a word used only by over-tactile and plump Sunday school teachers. It is also inaccurate. Squidge means to squash or crush, neither of which you want to do to another human being. A quick look at urban dictionary will also show you that squidge also means something rather disgusting to do with poo. Additionally I fail to see how knowing that a small portion of people want to hug Ant and Dec over Bob Crow is in any way edifying.

Some of these stunts are ludicrous too. La Tasca is offering facial expression lessons, which apparently will show me how to turn my ‘smouldering look’ into a ‘full on sex blaze’? What the hell is a ‘sex blaze’? It sounds like an STI. Also ‘Your Valentine’s Computing Tips’ is just desperate. There is nothing about computers that screams romance.

Yes I’m just another smug journalist moaning about how important I am and how my inbox is so full. But this is my personal plea to all PRs, stockists and window dressers: give us a break. I don’t need your help to tell someone I love them.

(need more proof? Click on the right hand arrows to expand the gallery)