Your last-minute CVS Valentine’s Day gift guide

A stuffed Charlie Brown holding a bouquet of flowers
This stuffed Charlie Brown holding a bouquet of flowers is just one of the Valentin’s Day delights you’ll find at CVS.
(Ryan Bradford)

It’s February 14th. You and your partner have been decrying the crass commercialization of Valentine’s Day for the past two weeks. “It’s a stupid holiday,” you say. “Just a Hallmark invention.”

Which is true. But then you start scrolling through social media, and it’s just a blur of red and pink. Post after post, you see individuals expressing their love in a very public way. They look happy and romantic. They look like they’re in love!

Suddenly, all your V-Day naysaying flies out the window. You can be romantic! You can make grand gestures! Even if it means playing into the hands of manipulative marketing campaigns and emotional commodification, you realize that you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day after all.

Trouble is, though, you’ve waited too long. Every florist is probably chugging whiskey after fulfilling the day’s many orders. Finding a reservation at a romantic restaurant? Good luck. Only an act of God or committing an unholy act of debasement will get you in at this late hour.

Your solution? CVS.

Granted, there are few things less romantic than a fluorescent-lit, carpeted drugstore that often has a security guard posted by the entrance, but at this point, it’s the best option you have. Year after year, CVS stocks Valentine’s Day gifts of questionable quality that seem custom-made for those last-minute romantics.

Here are the best gifts I found during a recent trip to the North Park CVS.

Lindt Gourmet Truffles

Show someone you love them with a box of Lindt Gourmet Truffles from CVS.
(Ryan Bradford)

If you’re going to go the box of chocolate route — especially at the last minute — you better make it the most expensive box of chocolates. This isn’t meant to promote materialism, but rather to help you just clear the bar. The bottom line is nobody ever craves chocolate from heart-shaped boxes because it’s mostly trash, with each surprise more disappointing than the last. When you go big — and at 24.49, Lindt is the biggest CVS has to offer — at least you know it will be edible.

Grand Stud Muffin

Three stuffed bears holding hearts
Just what your loved one always wanted, a Valentine’s stuffed animal.
(Ryan Bradford)

We all know these are going to end up at Goodwill before the 4th of July rolls around, but what heartless soul can say no to a giant plush thingy? Who cares if they look like animals that have been submerged in the East River for a month—they’re holding hearts! Cute! I also like these things because when you look into their dead, soulless eyes, it makes you forget the circumstances which led you to CVS on Valentine’s Day in the first place.

Russel Stover Assorted Chocolates in Sequined Box

A sequined box of Valentine's Day chocolates
Does this sequined box of chocolates make you sad?
(Ryan Bradford)

So you’re looking for a box of chocolates that reminds you of a sad cabaret dancer’s dress? Well, kid, you’re in luck. Kudos to Russel Stover for turning the memory of that one night you ended up at a rundown burlesque show off the Vegas Strip into a Valentine’s Day treat.

“Be Mine” Bear

A brown stuffed bear holding a Be Mine heart
Are you a genius or super lazy if you buy a Be Mine bear?
(Ryan Bradford)

This “Be Mine” bear is what I’d call a “classic” VDay gift. And by that I mean it’s the cheapest, dumbest, and most thoughtless expression of love, which actually makes it a brilliant commentary on the entire concept of Valentine’s Day, and your partner will have to acknowledge your critical genius. Hats off to you, Romantic Einstein!

Chicken Nugget Valentines

A box of chicken nugget themed Valentines cards
The elite CVS find: chicken nugget Valentines
(Ryan Bradford)

Remember Valentine’s Day in elementary and middle school, when you were saving the best Valentine for that special someone? Well, this is it. My only hesitation with recommending these is that it’s going to be super obvious that you’re in love with whoever is on the receiving end. There’s no way to play it cool when giving a nugget message, so you might want to have a wedding ring ready just in case.

Will You Bee My Valentine Card

A giant Valentines card that says Bee Mine
Will an oversized card makeup for the fact that you shopped last minute? Totally.
(Ryan Bradford)

A scene from the pitch meeting at the card factory:

Writer: Okay, so it’ll be a big card that reads “Will you Bee my Valentine?” and there will be a picture of a bee.

Card exec: A little played out, right?

Writer: But get this — the card is, like, really big.

Card exec: ...

Writer: ...

Card exec: [Slow clap to standing ovation]

Valentines from the Pets

Valentines cards from a cat and a dog
Yes, dogs and cats send Valentine’s Day cards, too.
(Ryan Bradford)

Tired: Giving a valentine from the pet to your significant other.

Wired: Giving a valentine from the pet to your work crush. Bonus points if this is the first time you’ve interacted with them.

My Nuts Are Yours card

A card with two squirrels that reads my nuts are yours
Romantic? Or?
(Ryan Bradford)

I don’t get it.