“I love you” teddy bears on a store shelf in New York City Feb. 10, 2005  
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Last week I walked into a CVS pharmacy and was struck by the annual Valentine’s Day gift selection.

I wasn’t taken aback because I saw anything new or unusual. To the contrary, I was struck by the realization that drugstores across America have been peddling the same janky, hacky combinations of tired teddy bears holding heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for Valentine’s Day for decades.

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Clearly, there is a demand for these teddy bears, as evidenced by the sheer consistency with which they are trotted out in bulk every year. This means that, year after year, Americans drag themselves into CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and/or Duane Reade on a toilet paper or NyQuil run; pass a row of teddy bears wearing tiny, red T-shirts; and think to themselves, “Hey, why not?”

Here’s why not: Literally anything else you could give to another person is more thoughtful than a drugstore teddy bear.

In fact, any time someone hands someone else a drugstore teddy bear, Kanye West should pop out, snatch the bear out of their hands and say, “Yo, I’mma let you finish, but … ” and then rattle off all the gift ideas that would require just as little time, money and effort, yet would be infinitely better than giving someone a drugstore teddy bear.

For example, you could write your HBO Go password on a pink sticky note you stole from your office and stick it inside a mason jar you already had at home. Add a bag of microwave popcorn. Bam. Now your loved one can rewatch every episode of Entourage before Entourage the movie comes out in June. (If you want to be really cute with it, fill the mason jar with unpopped popcorn kernels and slap the sticky note on the side.)

There are so many gifts that not only are affordable but you can buy without even getting out of bed.

Give your loved one a one-month subscription to Netflix so he or she can binge-watch season 3 of House of Cards.

Buy one of those nifty paid apps for your phone or tablet that people really want to use but never want to buy for themselves. Top that, teddy bear.

Buy (or even transfer) airline miles to help your significant other get to his or her best friend’s bachelor(ette) party in Vegas.

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Or buy a Gogo all-day in-flight Internet access pass for his or her next trip home.

You could also give a gas card. Batteries. Contact solution. Or a rock. “See, baby, I got you this rock to symbolize the fortitude of our union … ”

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Literally anything is more thoughtful than giving someone a drugstore teddy bear. 

You get my point.

Let’s step up our collective games this year. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Akilah Green is a recovering Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist-politico turned TV and film writer and producer living in Los Angeles. She currently works for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea. She has also worked as a staff writer for Kevin Hart’s production company, HartBeat Productions, and as a consultant for Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. In addition, she co-wrote and is producing Scratch, an indie horror-comedy feature film, and is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow Green’s adventures in La La Land on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

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