Valentines Day: the five worst rip offs

D2W3WN Valentines day roses and chocolates.  chocolate; roses; Sweets; candy; flower; flowers; food; red; romantic; rose; roses;
D2W3WN Valentines day roses and chocolates. chocolate; roses; Sweets; candy; flower; flowers; food; red; romantic; rose; roses;



This Valentines Day the average man will spend £35 trying to prove his love through the medium of flowers and chocolates - and one in ten will splash out £75 or more.

In total, according to Evolution Money, we'll blow £622 million - up from £595 million this time last year. And the most depressing thing about it all, is that the vast majority of the things we buy will be horrible rip offs.

Here are five of the most irritating Valentines mark-ups:

Flowers

Over a fifth of all present-buyers will opt for flowers on Valentines Day. This has two consequences. The first is that when demand is so high some florists will struggle to maintain their usual standards, so thousands of deliveries in the UK will disappoint.

The second is that the huge surge in demand pushes up the price of wholesale flowers, then florists add their Valentines mark-up on top, and as a result you'll pay the earth for your flowers. Among the bouquets being touted by the major players at the moment are a dozen red roses from Interflora for £44.99 and from Waitrose for £42. Outside of Valentines Day you'd easily pick up a bunch like this for little more than £20.

If you're from the 'more is more' school, then you could trade up to 21 roses from Waitrose for just £120. Who wouldn't want to spend this sum of cash on something that will be dead in a fortnight?

If you really need to buy flowers, then your best bet is to wait for the day and pick up a single stem or a bargain bunch from a supermarket. Lidl says it will have a range in store from 13 February, which could be the key to a bargain.

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Cards

Some 65% of people will exchange cards on the day itself. Those with kids can employ their mini crafty family members to make them for free, but the rest of us can pay anything from £1 to £4 for a card.

The average mark-up a shop puts on the cards is between 200% and 250%, and the manufacturer expects to sell it into the store for five times what it costs to make, so there's a good chance your £2.50 card cost less than 20p to make.

Dinner

Last year Nuts magazine found that restaurants typically charge 10% more for dinner on Valentines Day - and it tracked down one restaurant charging 27% more. Add in the fact that restaurants are far busier so service is likely to be worse, then consider the fact that many will only offer a fixed menu because they're churning through customers, and the whole thing seem like a horrible mistake.

Romantic trips

Plenty of tourist attractions will offer a Valentine's Special. However, the most 'special' thing about them is the price. Take the London Eye, for example, a fast track ticket will set you back £26.96 per adult. However, throw in a glass of champagne and a box of chocolates on Valentines Day, and it'll cost £32.40 each. Go for a second glass and it'll cost you £41.40.

As you squeeze in cheek-by-jowl with a host of other kissing couples, it may not seem like the biggest bargain you ever bought. If you fancy a bit of privacy, then you can go for the whole bottle, and get a pod to yourself, and that'll be £375.

Hotel 'packages'

It might seem romantic to have a getaway somewhere, with dinner bed and breakfast in a romantic location. However, when hotels put together their Valentines packages, they know they can throw in a bottle of wine and some chocolates, package it up as a trip, and mark up the whole thing by at least 10%.

To add to the joy you get to eat in the hotel restaurant, which will be packed with other romantic diners, so you can expect rushed service and a limited menu for your trouble.

Of course some people are wise to all of this. They know they have to pay a fortune for romance, but they decide it's worth it in order to impress their loved ones.

Others appreciate that they can get the basics from Aldi and Lidl, eat in, and save their money for a romantic celebration later in the year.

But what do you think? Do you willingly buy into the rip offs? let us know in the comments.

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