You Sold Me Deodorant...All Night Long!

Paul M. Soper

Late night shopping never looked brighter.

It’s been three lonely years since Store 24 shut its doors on the 24-hour convenience needs of denizens of the Mass. Ave. area. Yet where a large corporation has turned its back on the needs of students, another large corporation has stepped up to the 24-hour sundry-plate.

Since last Sunday, Harvard students have been able to turn to the CVS on Mass. Ave. for all their 4 a.m. over-the-counter pharmaceutical needs. This new development in Square retail seems, however, to have gone largely unnoticed. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, there was nary a person to be found taking advantage of the toothpaste offerings in the eerily-bright store.

CVS employee Anys Chimi says he thinks that cigarettes are going to be a major draw for the student population. Fellow employee Eman Mante begs to differ, “I think kids want contraceptives, or liquor, but we don’t sell it here.”

Assistant Manager Michael Madden, glad to see a potential shopper, praised the new hours—one of the new initiatives of the company’s “Feel It Boston!” campaign, which also includes brighter lights. It remains to be seen whether Harvard students will “feel” the need for CVS in the wee hours. “We have everything that the kids want: food, milk, soda, all the good stuff,” says Madden.

The two customers encountered during FM’s late-night stakeout were Cantabrigians who only left their Harvard Square apartment due to a fire alarm.

“We came in because we saw the light,” confessed Marie Kotlov.

At rival 24-hour locale 7-eleven, costumers were stunned to find out that CVS was now open around the clock. “Sometimes you need more than junk food,” says Michael P. Marotta ’06, who also expressed relief at being able to find paper clips and deodorant in the wee hours of the night. Brynn A. Bowman ’06 had better reason to frequent CVS over 7-eleven. “I like the people at CVS better than the people at 7-eleven,” Bowman shared, though a need for candy corn that only CVS could satisfy also would play a role in her future late-night choices.

No matter how bright the lights, tasty the candy, or readily-available the contraceptives, laziness may be the biggest determining factor for choosing CVS. “Maybe freshmen prefer the CVS, but I’m an athlete and don’t really need shampoo this late,” says Jason P. Brown ’04, a member of the baseball team. “It’s too far for me,” echoed blockmate Jon P. Doochin ’04-’05.

Carolyn A. Quirk ’07 also doubts this new late-night option will impact her schedule much. “I usually get my toiletries and stuff during the day,” she says.