There's a Difference

Regarding "FTC May End Rule on Grocery Advertising" (Dec. 27) as your headline writer correctly diagnosed, the Federal Trade Commission is contemplating the end of a rule that requires food retailers to keep detailed records on the availability to customers of advertised merchandise.

This is a far cry from the lead paragraph, which states, "The Federal Trade Commission is considering a change in its rules to permit supermarkets and other food retailers to attract shoppers by advertising items that they don't have on their shelves."

Anyone who knows what this is about is fully aware of the fact that advertising merchandise that is not available for sale may be found to be an illegal trade practice (bait-and-switch) and, as such, punishable. The major issue here is whether all retailers are considered suspect and, therefore, penalized by having to follow onerous reporting rules, or whether the FTC will fulfill its task by monitoring and prosecuting malfeasants where and when they are found.

I am glad the story was not written by a Times staffer. But I am unhappy that you found it proper to use the Washington Post's obviously slanted report instead of a more even-handed version which, I am sure, must have been available to you from the wire services, or, heaven forbid, even your own reporter.



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