By Kalama Hines
It’s that time of the year again. Time for corporate America and its executives to line their pockets off the American public’s need to express love.
Aching to express that love, Americans form lines at every cash register with credit card in hand. On average Americans buy more than 150 million Valentine’s Day themed greeting cards each year, according to History Channel.
At five bucks a pop, that is $750 million to companies like Hallmark and American Greetings.
If you add the nearly $4 billion that CNN says we spend each year on candy and flowers, and major corporations are left salivating at the thought of calendars turning to February. All the while, chain restaurants like Applebee’s and Olive Garden are forced to schedule extra cooks and wait staff in order to keep up with the number of customers they get.
Now I ask you – do you see the benefit of these hundreds of millions of dollars?
While many conglomerate organizations do serve a return to the communities in which they are located, most locally owned business base their operations on this idea.
Sure, the money you spend at Applebee’s may ensure that their “2 for $20” options remain available and in your neighborhood.
But I would personally prefer a tasty $20 meal than a quick and cheap $10 meal. Instead of Applebee’s, go to a local farmers’ market and buy fresh ingredients then spend the evening with your partner preparing a home cooked meal. If you’re not a cook, skip Black Angus and find a local eatery to your liking – in Livermore I would recommend The Riata Diner & Tavern.
Investing in your community serves a long-term benefit. Not in someone sitting in an office wearing a $2,000 suit and smoking a $50 cigar, but in someone who often has a track record in serving your very own community.
In Livermore you can check out a wonderful farmers’ market every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. or a delicious steak house in The Riata Diner and Tavern.
I understand that the celebration of Valentine’s Day can be as exciting to us, the consumers, as it is to the corporate monster. But if you are going to spend money on this Hallmark holiday, spend it in an arena that would be willing to return the favor.