The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Valentine Offers

Using broad stereotypes and clichés for the purposes of this post, we all know that the majority of men, and I include myself here, are pretty clueless when it comes to buying gifts for women. The male brain is wired to be more linear and direct. What’s the point of buying flowers or chocolates as a gift? They’re transient: flowers will be dead in a few days and chocolates will be eaten. A toaster, iron or drill set, on the other hand, could still be working years from now. And if you could buy an iron that could also toast and drill at the same time, well, how brilliant would that be?

I eventually learned that buying flowers for Maggie was a good thing, not because I ever understood why, but because she was always so delighted when I did. That and the fact that she made it perfectly clear on many, many occasions that the basic rule of thumb is, if it’s practical then she probably wouldn’t want it as a present.

So hats off to whomever in the Tesco Marketing Department came up with the slogan, Tesco Belgian Chocolates: HALF PRICE! Talk about an insightful piece of targeted marketing with Valentine’s Day just around the corner.

Most blokes have heard that chocolate is probably a good idea, although this is confusing as most women are also on a diet and worrying about the size of their posterior. However, these are suitably packaged in a romantic, girly kind of way to reassure the guy that it is exactly what he should be buying, but to make it HALF PRICE means it appeals directly to his practical nature. Genius.

The only thing left he has to work out is whether she will know about this offer. If she doesn’t he only has to buy the one, but if she does, he’d better buy her 2 so she doesn’t think he’s a cheapskate.

However, my guess is that awful lot of men will be sitting in confusion on February 14th when their partner is in a sulk with them after unwrapping an Impact Drill and Sheet Sander. In what I couldn’t help thinking was an even more cynical marketing strategy, I noticed that as my eyes came to the end of the bright red seasonal aisle, full of champagne and cuddly teddy bears with hearts on them, they naturally fell on the start of the DIY aisle where they were selling these items at £9.97 each, or 2 for £15.

23 comments

Anonymous said...

Very timely and helpful post, Kim. This gives me a great idea.

I'm asking for a sander for Valentine's Day.

I guess I'm the exception that proves the cliche, non?

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with an impact drill and sheet sander as long as it is accompanied by a box of chocolates and flowers.

Foot Eater said...

How about a chocolate impact drill and sander?

Anonymous said...

Valentine's Day is a made up holiday created by the cards companies! I really don't care for it and would take the drill and sander with chocolate, of course! ;-)

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that you men have a distorted view of 'practical'. Chocolates and flowers are practical in so many ways. The most important being that, indeed, they are ephemeral: they don't clutter up one's life for too long, no storage space needs to be found for them etc. A bit like really good performance art they can be fleetingly fabulous. If you get flowers right they can both brighten up the house and make it smell great. As for chocolates, get really expensive ones in tiny quantities. That way the comforting and luxurious way they melt on the tongue can be enjoyed without worrying about one's girth expanding. Give her some space and time to eat them in peace and they could be the best present ever.

Also the fact that such things don't last means one doesn't need to remember to be grateful for too long. The torture of having to wear/use/display a gift for the - often rather arbritrary - required time is a real pisser. I'd much rather always recieve gifts that only last a week. Then I can get myself the longer lasting, useful tools of life as and when I need them.

So you see, there's more than one type of practical.

Kim Ayres said...

Andraste - I wouldn't have expected anything different from you :)

BStrong - You might need to think again. With your new baby being barely a few weeks old, I cannot imagine for a moment that your wife would appreciate a sander, no matter how many flowers accompanied it. Go on, ask her...

Foot Eater - ideal!

Stinkypaw - Feb 14th is my daughter's birthday so we don't celebrate Valentine's anyway. At least that's been my easy get-out excuse for the past 9 years

Kitchen Bitch - spoken from a woman's point of view (just as well really). This is what I mean - to you it makes perfect sense, but to most blokes a 50 inch plasma TV would be an infinitely better token of love ;)

Pendullum said...

I always give for the look on the face...
And you really nailed it when you mentioned Maggie's face... And should we not want to have that expression on our loved one's face???
I have chosen a gift for my sweetest of hearts which I know will bring a smile to his face...
I have purchased the game Blokkus... and while it is not a power tool... I am certain I will receive the same face ... Of utter happiness for being thought of... and of which we can share over a glass of wine or two...

PI said...

MTL has a gift for gifts and has never given me anything practical. Basics are flowers,champers and chocs. If I'm dieting it will be those litle parcel of just two chocs. Perfume's a goody and both Boots and Super Drug have some magnificent offers at present. Taking her out to dinner is always popular and yes you have to get dressed.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what guys like for Valentine's Day. The boyfriend is always like, “Let’s not buy each other gifts this year!” Since this isn’t really an option, what would guys like to receive for Valentine’s Day? I want to send him red roses at the office but since this might incur ridicule from co-workers, I’d rather not cause him embarrassment. Besides lingerie for myself or a six-pack of beer, what would make an ideal gift?

Anonymous said...

Last night she hinted that she would like a three diamond anniverary ring. It seems that instead of me getting her a few small gifts; one for the baby, one for Valentines Day and one for our anniversary, she jsut wants one big one.

I'm torn between the ring and a shiny new tractor mower.

Kim Ayres said...

Pendullum - you're a true romantic. I'll have to look out for the game Blokkus. Not that my wife would be interested in playing, but my son might be.

Pat - I'm afraid my understanding of what scents Maggie would like is even less than my understanding of which earrings. Every time I think I get it, it becomes perfectly obvious that I've missed the mark by a long way.

A Margarita - welcome to my ramblings and thanks for taking the time to comment.

As for what to buy your guy, it all depends on him, but I guess beer wouldn't be a bad option. His comment of “Let’s not buy each other gifts this year!” will be heartfelt though as he will be dreading the idea that he buys you the wrong thing and that you'll take it to mean that he doesn't understand you so doesn't love you. Of course it will mean nothing of the sort, only that his brain isn't wired up to be able to successfully buy romantic gifts. But the whole thing is such a minefield of emotional torment that it's easier to avoid the whole thing altogether.

Maybe.

BStrong - buy her the tractor. She'll love it!

Anonymous said...

Back when I had someone to buy Valentine's stuff for, I was pretty good. A single red rose, teddy bear, mix CD, and a love letter. Yeah, I knew how to please the ladies ;)

quinn said...

we don't celebrate valentines here either. When I was doing daycare I would always make it special for the kids and make sure they made some special cards and crafts for their mom and dad..but with my own kids..I just tell them I love them and give them hugs just like every other day. Don't need a special day to love my kids.

Anonymous said...

Don't remind me about valentines day. It's on the 14th as usual. What's unusual is that it is quite posssible that I'll be refusing to bend over in the showers at some Scottish prison. For I go before a magistrate on the 7th, charged with assault on my former boyhood nemesis, Toby Hancock-Jones. Be grateful, Kim, that your only concern is the corporate evil of Tescos.

Kim Ayres said...

I got mugged by Blogger-2 into switching over today and I'm serious pissed off with it. I needed to remove some spam and it wouldn't let me without first switching.

Now most of the comments left say anonymous, so I'll have to refer to my email to see who's actually commented!

Anonymous 1 - which I think is Fat Lazy Guy - I hope those days are here again soon for you.

Quinn - I wrote about that last year in the post Cynical Romantic

Anonymous 2 - who I think is Dr McCrumble - Have you started up a FREE THE MCCRUMBLE ONE blog yet, or are you hoping it won't be necessary? Make sure you get a Blunt Cogs strip together for us to post and I'm sure I Sarah or I could knock up a banner to put on our sites in support for you.

Attila The Mom said...

Hehehe---men!

We're FINALLY having the guest/boys/my bathroom redone, now that the tile is falling off the countertops.

Hubby (the man who has a bathroom to himself) was looking at the numbers, and said earnestly, "Can this be your birthday present?"

Me: Sure. As long as I'm the only one who gets to use it!

LOL

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Why did my last comment appear as anonymous? I feel a conspiracy coming on here...

Kim Ayres said...

Attila - good answer :)

Dr McCrumble - If you'd read my reply to your last comment you would have seen that I'd actually answered this question.

Blame Blogger 2

Binty McShae said...

From my personal experience, judging by the women I have dated in the past, whilst most like chocolates and flowers (except one I knew who was allergic to dairy and didn't like the unnecessary slaughter of plant life - seriously) they will love you even more if you have actually paid attention and got her something that she really wanted. And, contrary to popular opinion, this is not always some ridiculously expensive gift. I once trawled around shops for an entire day looking for one particular item of crockery (again, seriously) that my then girlfriend had been lamenting could not be found. It was by no means expensive (a good thing, as I was then a student), but the look on her face was priceless when she opened it - and I mean in a GOOD way!

Whilst chocolates and flowers are far better than a sander they still indicate that little thought has gone into the gift If you prove that you have actually been listening to her from time to time by producing that one thing shehalf-mentioned two months back, on the other hand... of course, it helps to give her flowers as well, especially if you also listened enough to know they're her favourites!

Pat said...

Kim what hope is there for me - a weak and feeble woman when a big strong man like you gives way to New blogger?
I shall try to stand firm - there aren't many of us left!

BTW re anon - I worked out if you tick 'other' rather than blogger and then for 'web page' put your URL it works. This took me a long time to work out and I give it freely to your readers.

Kim Ayres said...

Binty - wise words

Pat - unfortunately I was left with no choice. I'd had some spam comments left on one of my sites and whenever I tried to delete it, the only option I was given was to switch to New Blogger first. They are gradually forcing the move on everyone. It's only a matter of time.

jotcr2 said...

I'm hopeless at buying for hubby too. He usually gets gift vouchers for CD's or bike gear.

Kim Ayres said...

But Jo, that's not hopeless, that's perfect - exactly the kind of thing most blokes want :)

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