As stereotypes, lame greeting card jokes and numerous stand-up comedy routines have insisted over the years, dads are the Rodney Dangerfields of the parenting realm. Relative to moms, they (allegedly) get no respect, no respect at all.
If that generalization is true, it may seem even more true come Father’s Day 2009 when, apparently, dads should expect a festively wrapped box of nothing from their loved ones. Okay, maybe not nothing. But according to a survey from the National Retail Federation that was noted in the L.A. Times, Father’s Day spending this year is expected to dip, with each American dropping about $90.89 on daddy gifts, down from last year’s average expenditure of $94.54 per person.
Actually, given how many people have lost their jobs in recent months, a withholding of less than $4 per gift-giver doesn’t seem that major. But let’s compare it to Mother’s Day. Earlier this year, the National Retail Federation also predicted a decline in Mother’s Day spending, projecting that it would fall from $138.63 per person to $123.89. (I was unable to locate actual spending data for this year’s holiday, presumably because it hasn’t been released yet.) That sounds like a more significant level of stinginess until one considers that, overall, mom’s day generates $14.1 billion in annual spending while dad’s day only accounts for $9.4 billion.
In other words, we’re cutting back across the board on gifts for parents, but not as much on Dad because he was already getting screwed over before the economy tanked. So what does this mean for all the pops out there? Even crappier ties? Gadgets from the discounted-and-defective pile at Brookstone?
Actually, our own Brett Singer says in this post that he genuinely doesn’t want anything for Father’s Day. He’d rather be giftless than be the recipient of a cheap and silly present that was purchased out of obligation.
Makes sense. But it’s just that kind of thinking that keeps fathers perpetually behind moms when it comes to generating sales of meaningless items. So come on, Brett and the rest of you dads. Demand that your child spend, at minimum, $90. 89 on you this year. If he or she can do $90.90, even better. It’s good for the economy and dammit, it’s good for the self-esteem of all those fathers who feel like their day always comes in second to the one owned by all of us moms.