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It's Valentine's Day. How About a Furnace?

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It's Valentine's Day. How About a Furnace?

Diversions

It's Valentine's Day. How About a Furnace?

It's Valentine's Day. How About a Furnace?

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5205337/5205338" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne report on companies' capitalizing on Valentine's Day and sentimental marketing to push products. Interested in a new furnace with a free digital thermostat? It's listed on a Web site under the heading "Great Valentine Gift Ideas."

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

This is Valentine's Day, and this morning we have a few words about love and money.

According to research from a major credit card company, the average man spends about $130.00 on his sweetheart.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Women spend about half that.

For people who want to spend more, there are, of course, the usual luxury items. And Steve, you can never go wrong with diamonds.

INSKEEP: Thanks for the suggestion. But the gifts I was wondering about are the ones that do not seem like Valentine gifts at all.

We've been looking at ads this week, and how about this? A new furnace, with a free digital thermostat. It's listed on a website under the heading, Great Valetine Gift Ideas.

MONTAGNE: Maybe the important thing about this is that the woman in that ad is wearing a devil-may-care tank top. Well, of course, she just got a new furnace.

INSKEEP: For $400.00 less, you could've bought her a cashmere sweater.

MONTAGNE: Heat is apparently a big item this year. One store ran an ad with Cupid sitting on top of a propane fireplace. The ad promises that it can be installed by Valentine's Day.

INSKEEP: But even with the 20 percent discount on logs, we are not convinced this is the proper way to say I love you.

MONTAGNE: Maybe it's something about the word propane.

INSKEEP: Maybe. We also saw a blushing pink ad for high speed internet service. Show each other how much you care, it says.

MONTAGNE: And the woman in that ad is reclining seductively on the couch, not with her lover, but with her laptop. Her head is arched back, and she looks ecstatic.

INSKEEP: For just $19.99 a month, for three months!

MONTAGNE: Here's another one. Ad copy that says, "Renew the one you love." It's for a beauty salon, and it offers, among other things, laser hair removal.

Steve, can we stop a moment here, and can I say to you and to all the men who are listening out there? Do not get any woman you love laser hair removal as a Valentine's present. You're day will end badly.

INSKEEP: And with that, let's just say, here's to love. And to commerce. Happy Valentine's Day.

(Soundbite of song, "Can't Buy Me Love")

INSKEEP: This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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