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Netizens Bemoan St. Valentine's Day Expenditure
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It's St. Valentine's Day again! As this year's lover's day comes just three days before the traditional Spring Festival, many netizens in Shanghai are beginning to complain that their pockets are being robbed by such constellations of festivals. The entire end-of-year bonus has somehow been blown, they observe, without making even a sound.

One internet surfer even has publicized his Valentine's Day bills for 2006 on a local online forum. Let's read on:

The man says in his post that the real Valentine's Day celebration began on the afternoon of Feb. 14. "I had to ask for a half-day leave to accompany her to go shopping. Although I knew that the department store would offer a huge discount after 5 pm, since our dinner reservation was for 6 pm, I had to pay for the clothes and cosmetics at their original prices. It cost me 2,295 yuan to buy goods discounted a matter of hours later."
"I had to maintain a smiley face during the shopping, pretending to be very happy to pay for the bills and giving her plenty of praise."
At Pizzahut, for example, the Valentine's dinner must be booked in advance. The price for a set meal is 188 yuan, with an extra tuna salad, a rose and a card presented by the restaurant thrown in. Sure enough, this man booked up, but his financial woes didn't end there.

"I had to order three 'Blue Dream' roses for her, which cost me a total of 240 yuan. A 680-yuan Folli Follie bracelet fulfilled the surprise and was presented before dinner."
"I had to keep on and on about our romantic and funny stories during throughout our dinner, before hiring a taxi to take her home after dinner."

The poor man spent a total of 3,437 yuan for the Valentine's Day celebration-nearly the equal of an ordinary worker's monthly salary. And let's see what he was rewarded by his girlfriend, who he claimed had been dating for eight months: A box of chocolate given her by a client and a ZIPPO lighter.

However, the man thought that all these were worthwhile since he also got three sweet kisses and several items of praise from his girl.

The post has stirred fierce debate among netizens-many of them complaining that Valentine's Day has been turned into a chance for merchants to make profits instead of allowing couples express their love naturally.
(CRI.cn February 14, 2007)

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