The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is a verse about mating birds in the poem Parlement of Foules, penned by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382. Fast-forward 400 years to Victorian England. By this time, it’s common for friends and lovers to personally exchange handwritten notes on V-Day. Around 1900, the DIY Victorian valentine was supplanted by mass-produced missives delivered by mail. The trend quickly caught on in America, where, in typical fashion, it morphed into an occasion to buy stuff and get stuff.
After World War II, it became customary to exchange not only cards, but gifts of chocolate and flowers. Commercialization of the holiday was complete when, in the 1980s, the diamond industry began promoting Valentine’s Day as an affair demanding fine jewelry. In 2013, roughly a billion valentines will be exchanged in America – so says the U.S. Greeting Card Association. Progress marches ever onward with 62 percent of couples planning to also spread the schmaltz via text message or social media, according to an American Express consumer survey.
Unbeknownst to most lovebirds, SAP also has connections to the ritual. Behind every box of chocolates, cuddly teddy bear, or special Valentine’s Day dinner, SAP software is humming quietly in the background.
A few examples:
Will you be giving your Valentine chocolate? If your sweet-nothing happens to be a five-year-old child, you’d better be.
- SAP customers produce 70 percent of the world’s chocolate.
While some ‘experts’ caution that a guy buying perfume for his lady-love is ‘a big, big risk,’ it remains a popular Valentine’s gift.
- SAP customers make 70 percent of the world’s beauty and fragrance products.
Should they deem the Jean Nate risk too great, roses passé, and chocolate off-limits, lovers in the U.S. have the option of gifting the four-and-a-half-foot tall Big Hunka Love Bear, which represents a bold repositioning of the beloved teddy. No longer just a fluffy friend for the age-of-innocence set, this big-boy is a powerful aphrodisiac! His message? Size Matters.
- SAP customers produce more than 60 percent of the world’s toys and games.
It bears mentioning that, no matter what you buy for your beloved, it can likely be traced in some way to SAP technology.
- SAP systems touches $12 trillion of consumer purchases around the world.
Next page: A Valentine’s Day cautionary tale
Assuming all goes well with your gift, you and your sweetie may head out for a romantic, candle-lit dinner.
- SAP customers distribute more than 71% of the world’s food.
Driving to the restaurant, or taking a cab?
- SAP customers manufacture more than 77,000 automobiles every day.
When the maître de refuses you entry due to your casual dress, lament that you ran over your Zenga suit pants with your Lotus – like, five minutes ago – in front of The Gap.
- SAP customers produce more than 50 percent of the world’s brand-name jeans.
Revel in your ‘save’ later mentality, while sipping an espresso at a corner table.
- SAP customers produce 65% of the coffee and tea we drink every day.
Playing it cool, you wait three days post-V-Day to text your date, who is miffed.
- The SAP mobile platform reliably delivers 1.8 billion text messages worldwide every day.
Now the the only thing you’ll be cuddling on Saturday night is your dog.
- SAP customers produce 85 percent of the world’s pet food.
Come Saturday, you take to the couch alongside Fido for a zombie apocalypse movie-marathon, wondering again about the fate of the dog in that pre-Roman fertility ritual.
- SAP customers produce more than 65 percent of the world’s televisions.
Longingly recall the roast duck with cherry-reduction you savored on V-Day as you reach for your dinner this night: a pint of Rocky Road washed down with a beer.
- SAP customers produce 64 percent of the world’s ice cream and 72 percent of the world’s beer.
A cautionary tale, folks. A cautionary tale.