Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Muddling through Valentine’s Day

Mark Fletcher
February 14th, 2014 · 6 Comments

Valentine’s Day brings out a range of strong customer reactions from the sweet and romantic to the smokin angry – and everything in between. While people at both extremes are interesting, the angry ones are especially so as I’d love to know drives them to react that way to what I see as a reasonably harmless retail season.

I love the customer who shares anticipation about the card or gift they have bought and about what they may receive. I also love the customers outside the usual who buy a card or gift – especially those 70, 80 and older. It’s sweet.  I also love the kids buying cards. In fact that’s a real treat – seeing a teenage boy or girl agonising over a card for young love.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is a commercial season, one we gladly support for all its commercial glory but it is also a season drenched in tradition and expectation and we newsagents play a role in reinforcing the tradition and in helping people find fulfilment from expectation. In our small businesses we get to see people engage more so than in other places where a Valentine’s Day card or gift is just another SKU. Across the newsagency counter, as with much of our interaction, it is more personal.

This is what is special about seasons like Valentine’s Day for small business newsagents, the opportunity for us to watch people as they engage with their feelings, and the opportunity to engage with them. It’s a pleasure not many retailers have, one to cherish.


Category: Fun

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jenny // Feb 14, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    Nice post.
    I also see mums buying a chocolate heart or other small gift for their children.
    My dad always bought my mum a valentines card and flowers, or chocolates or underwear, every year until he passed away at a youthful 75.
    He would be 84 now and I know if he was still with us he’d be buying her a card and gift for today. True love!


  • 2 h // Feb 14, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    ……. and one of my staff went bright pink with embarrassment when the delivered flowers came in the door of the shop from her sweetie – the customers just loved it too !!! While I’m not one to go overboard personally, a little thoughtfulness goes a long way, and V-Day encourages a bit of consideration. We are all in a good mood here today !


  • 3 June // Feb 14, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Just had a customer buy 4 x VD cards.
    He looked a little embarrassed and had them so I couldn’t read them (barcode up)
    so I just couldn’t resist and said “Oh you have a wife and 3 lovely daughters” and the customers all laughed and he laughed too (but he couldn’t leave the shop fast enough) I hope he comes back!!!!!!!!!
    or if he DOESN’T have any daughters he might get hit by a truck or something similar.


  • 4 Carol // Feb 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    My husband just bought myself and the two staff a red rose. The two young girls are sisters from a very protected family so were absolutely delighted. Our son has just started working in Washington DC and they are snowed in. I suspect the hospitals will have an over load of babies in 9 months with Valentines Day and a snow storm.


  • 5 Jarryd Moore // Feb 14, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    Hahaha. Well that was not where I was expecting that story to go Carol!


  • 6 Sarah // Feb 17, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    A friend of mine shared this on Facebook on Friday:
    I rarely rant on Facebook, in fact this isn’t a rant it’s a challenge. Being in retail, I ask a lot of people when they’re in the shop what their plans are for valentines day (I adore valentines day I’m a romantic, my sister and I celebrate every year because why wouldn’t I want to celebrate love, whether it’s romantic love, family love or friend love) but frequently I get the angry response “I shouldn’t have to set aside a day to prove I love someone” in which case I agree that’s perfectly right, but my challenge is – do you though? You shouldn’t have to set aside February 14 but do you set aside time? I grew up watching my dad take my mum on dates fortnightly even weekly if they had the time, granted sometimes he took her to the servo for a burger – but they made regular time to continue to date each other 18years into their marriage. So before you answer “I shouldn’t have to set aside a day” ask yourself if you set aside any day to take the person you love somewhere special, or do something beautiful for them. And if you don’t (I’m sure a lot of people do) but if you don’t, why not celebrate valentines day? It’s so easy to have intentions, but then get swept up in the business of life and before you know it 6months flew by and nothing was done. You don’t have to buy into the retail of it, but I think any chance to celebrate love is a good time.


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