Letters: Coupon Clipping Craze Criticized

Many listeners were not impressed when one bargain-hunting mom ended up paying 25 cents for a box of Cheerios. They complained that the story concentrated on unhealthy pre-made foods. Letters questioned why there were no stories on healthy ways to cut food costs, such as cutting down on meat or buying food in the bulk section of the natural food store.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And it's time once again to hear your comments.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Last week we broadcast the story on coupon clipping in the economic downturn featuring a bargain-hunting mom in Virginia.

Ms. ERIN GIFFORD (Blogger, Couponcravings.com): You know this box of Fruity Cheerios, everyday price is $3.49. And to be able to get it for 25 cents, that's amazing.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Listener Lisa Matthews(ph) heard that story in Washington, D.C. Her letter echoed several of our listener comments. "This story talks about premade unhealthy foods," she writes. "Why didn't NPR air a story on saving money the healthy way, such as cutting down on meat and buying foods in the bulk section of the natural food store? Driving around town to save several cents on sugary foods is not my idea of saving money."

INSKEEP: Brady Russell(ph) of Philadelphia adds, "The whole story just depressed me. You end up accumulating a bunch of junk you don't really need."

MONTAGNE: And in our recent series on multitasking, we explained that driving while talking on your cell phone impairs you as much as driving drunk, but talking to someone in the car with you is less distracting. That raised a question from Jhorn Kiels(ph). He's a doctor in Jacksonville, Florida.

INSKEEP: "I was very pleased to hear you address why listening to and talking with a passenger isn't as dangerous as talking on a cell phone, but why is it OK to listen to you on the radio?" Be sure to keep your eyes on the road as we get an answer from reporter Jon Hamilton.

JON HAMILTON: Actually, listening to me while you're driving may be a bad idea, at least when you find me interesting. It's not as bad as a cell phone because you can stop listening to me, and I'll never know. But watch out for radio stories that create mental images. They use the same areas your brain needs to process visual images, like that truck that just cut you off.

INSKEEP: So, picture this, or don't, we have some corrections this morning.

MONTAGNE: In announcing the Nobel Prize in Medicine, we said that the vaccine against human papillomavirus, HPV, was the first to protect against cancer. Susan Wong at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that it was the first designed to do that, but the hepatitis B vaccine already had the effect of protecting against liver cancer.

INSKEEP: And in a report that cautioned against giving cold medicine to young children, we left out an important warning. To help a sick child, we suggested get out the tea and honey. But you should never give honey to children under one year old. Their digestive systems make them susceptible to a rare but serious disease, infant botulism.

MONTAGNE: So if you hear us dispensing errors, please send us your remedy. Go to npr.org and click "Contact Us."

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