Poundland has reportedly sold 20,000 of their £1 engagement rings since launching them a week ago. There were scoffs when they were launched, of course, that such an inexpensive trinket cheapened the very institution of marriage. That nobody could possibly say yes to a marriage proposal from the kind of cheapskate who would buy such a thing.
Well, eff off, they’re great.
Nobody’s planning to keep these gems forever. The rings are placeholders until a “real” ring is purchased – and Poundland acknowledged this, with the phrase “because we promise they’ll want to choose their own” written on the box. It doesn’t make them meaningless. The rings show there’s been a bit of forethought, at least, and the proposal isn’t a spur-of-the-moment idea.
They’re also better than the traditional: “Hey, look at this expensive ring, let’s get married” model – an old-fashioned, outdated tradition from the days when the only way women could be in any way financially secure was by marrying rich.
It’s strange how much focus everyone put on the ring when news of an engagement breaks, rather than the people. Aren’t the beaming smiles of a newly-engaged couple more interesting than some metal hanging off one of their fingers?
For some, these placeholders are a lifesaver: “My proposal was pretty much a disaster,” says Rich, who has been married for four years. “I had overthought this perfect scenario, and then couldn’t get it to happen, so ended up doing it really clumsily. The only two things about it that were right were the woman I was asking, and the ring, which cost £5.95 from Argos.” Rich and his fiancée visited jewellers together and ended up having an engagement ring made.
“It’s not one I would have picked out or found in a million years,” he says. “It’s made out of a stone I didn’t know existed, and ended up being this completely unique thing. I’m sure if I’d bought something she’d have grown to love it for what it represented, but this way she has exactly the ring she wants.”
That’s what’s so good about a £1 ring – there’s less pressure."
That’s what’s so good about a £1 ring – there’s less pressure. If you propose to someone, and they say yes, you want them to mean it. You want that yes to be definite, a conclusion reached freely and happily. The more flashiness and complications you throw in there, the more things there are going on. Imagine eating a pizza in your house and realising it’s the best pizza you’ve ever had. If asked, “Is that the best pizza you’ve ever had?”, you’d confidently say “yes”. Now imagine eating pizza in a helicopter, flying through the Grand Canyon, sitting next to Thor. If asked how good that pizza was, you’d say it was amazing, even if you later realised it was only a Dr Oetker and you were just a bit overwhelmed.
If you propose live on telly, or organise all your friends and family to do a big choreographed dance routine behind you while you ask, isn’t that putting undue pressure on the person you’re asking? Nobody’s going to say no in front of an audience of millions, and the shock of a massive wodge of precious stones could similarly cause a momentary lapse in judgement.
You wouldn’t choose someone’s tattoo for them, would you? The recipient of this ring is, in theory at least, going to wear it every day for the rest of their life – surely they should have some say in what it looks like? And at the risk of sounding extremely stereotypical, a lot of the time it’s men proposing to women – and most men know sod-all about the intricacies of jewellery.
£1 ring, it’s a thumbs up from me.