As Father’s Day begins its second 100 years as the holiday celebration for all things “Dad,” I’m left wondering, “what is the real meaning of Father’s Day?” Backyard barbeques, smaltzy greeting cards and dare I say it, the ugly necktie? Okay, so maybe all neckties aren’t ugly, but come on folks, who are we kidding here? Although as a country we have celebrated this holiday for more than a century, it almost bit the dust a few times. I know this will surprise you, but when Father’s Day was on shaky ground, it was an association of retailers who revived it and brought it back and made it the commercial juggernaut it is today. I like that surprised look on your face. Keeping a holiday around to sell items we wouldn’t typically buy the third week of June is hard to believe — Not. An audit of the numbers behind Dad’s Day can be an eye-opening experience. According to a recent study by the National Retail Federation, total spending on Father’s Day is expected to exceed more than $9 billion dollars. I know what you’re thinking, $9 billion dollars and all I got was this lousy tie? Here’s another way to wrap your brain around the numbers. Out of the $9 billion spent, about $1.3 billion is on socks, slacks and neckties, and since there are 2 million neckties sold on Father’s Day alone, that equates to roughly $40 million dollars on a 5-inch piece of cloth. Since I’m on a roll with obscure necktie references, here’s one more for you to toss around. If you took those 2 million neckties and started at the Michigan and Indiana border, you could line them end-to-end all the way to the Mackinaw Bridge, round trip, six times. Necktie wearing by men is down over years past. The advent of “casual Fridays” was the harbinger of the open collar trend for men in the office. Heck, our own Governor Snyder is an equal opportunity proponent and has casual Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — rock on Gov! I bet you’ve guessed correctly that my kids stay away from neckties for me on Father’s Day. Come to think of it, my birthdays and Christmas as well. It’s not that I’m against neckties; I knot one up when the occasion calls for it. I’ve got all the biggies covered — funerals, weddings and proposals. (Not marriage, I mean business proposals.) So, do your part to stimulate the economy this Father’s Day. Me? It’s anybody’s guess, but I’m (k)not counting on a tie.
Pete Ruffing is the Sales Director at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. He and his wife of 14 years Brenda live in Okemos.