With men who know tobacco best, the situation on Harvard Square does not appear encouraging. Opinion remained divided yesterday among the captains courageous of the cigar counters.
There are optimists within the ranks of these Cambridge civic leaders who hint that, due to decreased demand by the Armed Forces, next week will see a turn for the better. Cold realism has shown those who face the facts, however, that--shortage or no--selling a pack of Chesterfields in this area will never be the same.
The Stress of Scarcity
Under the stress of challenging scarcity, Harvardmen have displayed to a remarkable degree the rugged stuff with which their pioneer forbears subdued a wilderness. Like the frontiersmen of old, they sit around on tart December nights and tell of adventures in the search for subsistence.
One timid soul describes lurking outside Liggett's to waylay friends and send them on forays into the interior. Other and bolder spirits relate tales of subtle ingenuity that do more striking credit to the Crimson name.
"Ask them for a bottle of Astringosol," suggests a Gold Coaster. "Then mutter, under your breath of course, 'got any weeds?' Naturally, you accumulate a staggering heard of Astringosol, but I find it an excellent chaser for my Camel. This cigarette problem is nothing short of a gold-mine for the small drug companies."
Acts for the Waitress
Hot-spot habitues advise acting "sweet to the waitress, and maybe she'll come through." If this attack is not successful, someone has commented that at the Wurst House on Boylston Street, you can get a pack of Chelseas from the bartender if you give him, just like with toothpaste, a used and empty package.
Clerks in the leading emporiums are not prone to reveal their personal defense mechanisms, but they are glad to chuckle at the desperate measures formerly respectable citizens have adopted in the emergency. Employees at Michaels' Drug Store have lost all respect for an aged couple who, after buying at the store together for years, sud- denly feigned non-acquaintance one morn at the peak of the crisis in order to get two packs under the stringent one-to-a-customer basis.
Many insist that if you can only find out on what days the stores receive their stock, you can beat the game. At any rate, you will probably be able to use the general counsel offered by one who considers himself a veteran. "When you walk into a store and see a sign in the negative, don't believe it. Be wily, be crafty; never become discouraged." "And," he concludes sagely, "never let them know you're a Harvardman.