Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:59 pm
Investigations by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to Malls and gift shops around Garki, Maitama, Gwarinpa, Wuse, Lugbe and Jabi, revealed that while cards of various sizes and shapes abound in the market, they are usually the last gift items to be bought or not bought at all.
Gifts such as human hair weave-ons, jewelries, throw pillows, grooming kits, ties, cuff links, phones, makeup sets, clothes, dinners and romantic vacation getaways were described by residents as more practical gifts.
Cards, mostly in Valentine red, with heart shapes and lovely messages inscribed on them, were seen in abundance around the shops, while other gift items were fast leaving the shelves.
The prizes of the cards depended on the size and type; Printed cards go between N300 and N2000, while handmade cards go from N3,500 – N40,000.
Gift shops owners who spoke to NAN said that unlike other gift items, Valentine cards are usually not sold out during the season and remain in stock all year round.
They added that it is customary to have cards for sale, however, in recent times; patronage has dropped as people now have numerous gift options.
Mrs. Sheila Ajayi, a shop owner at Wuse, said that she has stopped stocking up as much Valentine cards as she used to due to the drop in sales.
“I reduced the amount of cards I buy because people have reduced their demand for them.
“They come to the shops to pick other gift items such as throw pillows, perfumes, neck ties and gift boxes.
“People hardly walk straight to the card section, most times it is a last minute decision or maybe kids who want to surprise their parents,” Ajayi said.
James Chidi who makes and sells handmade cards in Garki, told NAN that he gets more orders for Christmas and birthdays than he gets for Valentine.
Chidi, who just like most of his counterparts, had more birthday cards on display, stated that card makers now make Valentine cards on request.
“People buy Valentine cards, but not as much as they used to. These days, they tell you that N5000 is too much to spend on paper.
“But they order more birthday or Christmas cards during the season. This is because they want to give their bosses who they feel will appreciate that kind of gift more,” Chidi said.
Respondents who spoke with NAN stressed that cards do not possess economic value to most people and it is a waste of time to get them.
They added that due to the present varieties of gift items available, it is not wise to spend a lot of money on cards.
A student, Gift Akidenor said that while she loves cards, they become tiring over time and look like dirt which will be disposed of with time.
“I would not mind getting a card but I won’t give it as much value as I would give more tangible gifts.
“It is best to give something that will be fondly remembered or used than give cards. A romantic dinner beats a card anytime,” she said.
David Akinkuni, a doctor told NAN that he dislikes the idea of cards in this century as the messages on cards can easily be sent online.
“My problem with cards is that most of them have similar messages and designs so there is nothing special about them.
“But a customised jewelry or pillow brings a lot of spice. I don’t like cards and I don’t give them to people, especially for Valentine,” Akinkuni said.
He added that the idea of gifts is to create lasting fond memories and use. “Cards are clichés, they fail to achieve this most times.’’