David Allen Anthony isn't out there to make an easy buck, or to get to the top. Anthony, who spends his days pacing around Harvard Square hawking copies of The Square Deal, does what he does because he wants to help out his fellow Cantabridgians.
"The Square Deal isn't just a job for me, it's a lifetime career," he says. "I know it sounds corny, but I like the idea of being able to help people."
Rain or shine, Anthony, 35, stands six days a week by Out-of-Town News, pressing copies of The Square Deal on passers-by and urging them to "save your hard-earned money." In the process, his red Square Deal windbreaker and flat Maine accent have become permanent fixtures of the Square.
"Why should you hard workers pay more after working hard all week? Won't a free meal taste good after a hard day of work?" he intones, holding up a stack of the all-advertisers newspaper.
"It's something I discovered by accident that I'd like to do. I've always been kind of a ham when it comes to a microphone," Anthony says of his affinity for direct sales. People often ask him if his spiel is pre-scripted. Surprisingly, Anthony says it is not.
"I make it up as I go along every day--it's the way I feel at a certain time," he says.
And Anthony's method yields results: the papers go faster now than when he started work a year ago, he says, and more businesses advertise in the publication. "If you let people know as they approach you what it's all about instead of just a handout, it does them a lot more good," he explains.
"It really works because of what I'm doing," says Anthony, who admits to taking a lot of pride in his work. "It's [help] in a small way for someone else, but it's a big thing for me."
Anthony grew up in the backwoods of Maine, where his mother kindled in him a love for mankind that still burns brightly. "I think I learned a lot of the inspiration" from her, he reflects. "My mother had a heart of gold. I've got a lot of bittersweet memories about Maine."
Currently, Anthony resides in Revere with his fiancee Paula, who is six years his elder. The two met at a nightclub in 1985, "and we just took it from there."
"We just fell in love with each other," he says.
Although the pair has not set a definite marriage date, according to Anthony, "it could be next week." Meanwhile, he is more than happy to keep doing what he does best--bringing discounts to his neighbors.
Even Up-Scalers Hunt for Bargains
Although the brusque reception he occasionally receives from passers-by sometimes bothers him, Anthony reasons that, overall, the good outweighs the bad. "There are a lot more people that are really interested in doing better for themselves than there are who could just shake a stick," he says.
Despite the stereotype of the population in the Square as affluent and up-scale--the kind of people who might not be interested in The Deal's two-for-ones--Anthony says he has found that "it's completely opposite with people around here."
"Students at Harvard are very appreciative of The Square Deal," he says.
Anthony adds that he's made some good friends on the job and that he receives a lot of encouragement and pats on the back from the people he sees on a daily basis. "They're nice to me," he says simply.
According to Anthony's boss, The Square Deal Publisher Martin Applebaum, they have every reason to be. "David's the genuine article," Applebaum says. "He's a very sensitive guy and I love him very dearly."
With Applebaum's support, Anthony hopes to expand the scope of The Square Deal's business far beyond Cambridge. "I really plan on working so hard with the clientele, not just here in Harvard Square but also in Boston and throughout New England," he says.
This vision so inspires Anthony, in fact, that he is often moved to verse. Anthony is an amateur poet, and says that he often draws on his experiences in sales when he writes. "I'd like to write something for everyone I've ever met in Harvard Square, and it might have something to do with The Square Deal," he says.
Anthony is very serious about doing his job, and doing it right--not even sub-zero weather can turn him from his goal of saving money for the peoples of the greater Cambridge area.
"When it comes to passing someone a coupon for a free coffee early in the morning, I love the cold," he says.
In the end, Anthony has one message for those whose lives he touches: "Keep looking for that Square Deal because David Anthony will be one that will always be in Harvard Square for you. And it won't matter if it's zero degrees or 90 degrees--I'll be there."