Friday, February 16, 2007

A Valentine's Day Prank

Wednesday was Valentine's Day. A girl at my work received a big bunch of flowers. Other female staff looked on enviously. Were their own men inside a florist's at that very moment, seconds away from making a purchase? They might have been on any other Valentine's Day, however on this day, the copious spending of men all over Auckland was thwarted by the actions of one man. It's true! I heard it on the radio. I even came up with a nickname for this pseudo-hero. The Door-Gluing Prankster.

Apparently, this man visited several florists in the Auckland area - one in Parnell, one in Orakei, another in Remuera - and (here's the kicker) glued their doors shut. On their busiest day of the year, the day when florists triple or quadruple their prices, they couldn't make any sales. Ha! Finally, someone comes along and makes a stand against the hyper-commercialism of Valentine's Day. Here's one man who couldn't stand to see poor schmucks flock like sheep to the flower shops, only to find that nice bouquet will cost about the same as the weekly groceries.

It's not clear how the man managed to glue the doors shut without being noticed. Perhaps he posed as a door repairman, or a security guard. And the glue would have to have dried quite quickly. As for the men who were unable to buy flowers, would they be upset or relieved? The husband gets home empty-handed, the wife gives him a sour look, but for once, the husband has a valid excuse.

"Honey, I saw a beautiful bouquet in the florist's window, but I couldn't get into the shop to buy it. The door was jammed or something."

"Yeah right, pull the other one," the wife mutters.

Why has Valentine's Day become so centred around short-lived gifts like flowers and chocolate? For the same price as a bouquet of flowers, the romantically-minded gentleman could get his lady something far more useful. And should the lady not show her love also? Whether or not this should be in the form of a material gift is open to debate. How about a walk together in a park, perhaps at night under the stars? I think this is a great way for a couple to express their feelings for each other. Each could tell the other something about themself which they've never mentioned before, e.g. a happy time in their childhood.

Anyhow, pranksters of this man's calibre are a rare breed. I wonder if he was brought up in the hippie era, a time when breaking the law was often seen as just another means of societal protest. His actions may not have been heroic, but they were certainly courageous. And I can't help but feel a tiny ounce of respect for a man who is unafraid to show his dislike of the ubiquitous materialism found in today's society.

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