I despise jewelry commercials. I don’t actually mind the overly sappy TV commercials where the husband surprises his wife on their anniversary with the little box hidden underneath a napkin or even the current holiday one where the kids are retelling The Night Before Christmas to their mother while their father sneaks up behind her holding a pair of diamond earrings. These are cheesy, sure, but not offensive.
The commercials I hate are the radio ads. This year about a month before Father’s Day one of the local jewerly stores ran a series of radio ads where the confused female customer turned to the helpful owner of the company for advice on what to get her man. Yes, she actually spoke the words, “my man.” You see, she was in a quandary because she wanted to get him something he’d like, but she couldn’t afford anything really big. Luckily for her (and us loyal radio listeners), he had just the thing: wristbands made from sterling silver, platnum, leather and even rubber. Yes folks, that’s right, lovely black leather wrist bands (because a man would never wear a bracelet), sure to tell the father of your children just how special he is to you this Father’s Day.
Wait, what? When did Father’s Day become a jewelry holiday? Everyone knows dads get ties, junkfood and maybe, if they are really good, an uninterrupted afternoon of nothing but snoozing, snacking and football watching.
Ludicrous as this commercial was, it isn’t actually the type that bothers me. The ones that really rub me the wrong way are the engagement ring ads. The premise that every girl in the world is practically wetting herself waiting to get that giant rock on her finger is not only a fallacy, but simply insulting. I deplore one local baubble hawker whose ad begins with a retrospective from a woman who’s been dreaming about her wedding day since she was five years old. The male owner’s voice once again breaks through to remind men that all we women do is dream about our wedding day and if you don’t have that perfect ring, they’ll never be able to make a woman happy.
Now I know there are plenty of women out there who have spent hours, maybe even years dreaming about their weddings. I’ll admit that before I ever walked down the aisle, I gave it a thought or two. I had no idea what sort of dress I’d wear, or flowers I’d have, or cake I’d serve, much less the type of ring my fiance would buy me. I find it absolutely horrid how these jewelry commercials offer to simply sell the stone so that the poor diamond addled men won’t have to worry about choosing the right setting. After all, the wrong setting could end the marriage before it even begins. An engagement ring, chosen by someone who adores you as an expression of his love isn’t enough. Women are so obsessed and wedding driven that we have to chose your expression of love for you.
For many men who know nothing about jewelry and have horrible taste (or even more horrible fiances), this might actually be a reasonable suggestion. Choosing your own ring doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the little quip at the end that says something to the effect of, “never has three months salary meant so much.” Three months salary? Are they serious? I’m not sure who exactly came up with the idea that it was not only reasonable, but expected for men to blow 1/4 of their annual salary on an engagement ring, but man, he was a marketing genius.
Three months salary is more than my yearly mortgage bill. If my husband had spent three months salary on my engagement ring, I would have seriously considered saying no. Not because I didn’t want to marry him, but because I would have had to question his sanity. And wondered what else he was willing to throw his money away on. Now, I’m not saying go out and buy a cheap vending machine ring or anything, but if the average 20 something’s salary is around $30,000, after taxes that’s still going to be about $5500 on an engagement ring. In what universe is this reasonable? And yet these awful commercials dupe men into thinking that if they don’t buy that sort of ring, they do not truly love their wife-to-be. Afterall, the multitude of these ads remind men that jewelry is the way to “show her how much she really means to you.” Heck, if my husband wants to show me how much I mean to him, he can clean the house, or rub my back when I’ve had a rough day. Take the baby for an entire afternoon while my friends and I go out or just bring me a little bag of Godiva chocolates, a kiss and a simple “I love you.”
These wedding commercials, as annoying as they are, aren’t what set me off today though. Today, it was all about pearl necklaces. The commercial this afternoon, went through a rather lengthy description of the particular pearl strands on sale at some jewelry store or another. This alone is hardly worth noting. What annoyed me was the announcer revealing the price for a necklace and earring set of “only $100, a perfect stocking stuffer for the woman you love.” I don’t know a single person who believes $100 is a stocking stuffer. A present, sure, but a stocking stuffer? Even my in-laws, who are fairly well-off, don’t get each other $100 stocking stuffers. I don’t have a problem with buying a woman (or a man) who wants it a nice piece of jewelry for Christmas. If you have the money, heck, spend $5,000 on a ring or a necklace just to celebrate one holiday. But the assertation that a pearl necklace and earring set is a stocking stuffer is appaling to me.
Once again commercialism does it’s best to ruin Christmas and make us think it’s all about how much money we spend on each other.