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Complaints received at the Crimson up to yesterday as guides for its buyers' strike emphasized ballooning food prices while clothing items escaped specific notice, possibly because, as one neutral businessman said, some clothiers always have been "gougers."
Lively interest in the threatened strike by Harvard Square consumers was shown both by shopkeepers interviewed by investigating editors and by the Square's Businessmen's Association which called a special meeting of its directors yesterday.
Mr. Hayes Has Answer
One solution for the shrinking dollar of student veterans was offered by a man who identified himself as Mr. Hayes, president of the Boston branch of the Hayes-Bickford Lunch System. In following up a complaint (verified) about the reduction in size of a ten-cent bottle of milk, an editor was explaining how student veterans were particularly affected.
Mr. Hayes: I thought the government paid them $65 a month for education.
Editor: Yes, but that doesn't cover all their expenses.
Mr. Hayes: Then let them go on relief at $21.50 (sic) a week.
Business Men Get Student View
Three members of the newspaper's executive board yesterday explained to fellow members of the Business Men's Association that the chief object of the CRIMSON campaign is to convince producers capitalizing on an uncontrolled market that consumers can do without overpriced items until basic commodity prices return to normal level.
Most of the Association directors agreed that it was worth everyone's effort to keep all costs down and that they would urge all of their members to refrain from profiteering. Even though they could not speak for non-member merchants in the Square, they felt that the use of the word "price-gougers" in Friday's paper carried unjustified implications.
Their principal request was that "you be sure to get the facts."
Investigations of complaints turned in at 14 Plympton Street during the weekend revealed that most restaurateurs were "holding the line" except where they yielded to a combination of customer demand pressure and wholesale price rises.
Liggett's Tightens Down
Liggett's manager explained the diminished 10-cent glasses of orange juice by saying "We're checking more closely on counter girls who had been serving more than required." Of the allegedly-reduced frappes, he said it had been just a question of beating--"The more you beat it the more you get."
An official of St. Claire's claimed that an 85-cent fried scallop dinner apparently marked up to $1.40 had originally been a printing error. These were the first scallops, he said, he had had in four years.
While keeping his regular 95-cent dinners at their former price, the manager of the Oxford Grille explained the 30-cent rise in deluxe dinners as being the amount of lose he had previously been taking, when the items were available. He said that his price range would not allow him to buy steaks through "independent," high-priced meat stores.
Asked if their former ceilings were still on view when they maintained a five-cent rise in hamburgers would have been allowed anyway, Hazen's failed to produce the evidence.
Howard Johnson's on Memorial Drive gets 30 cents for a hamburger and 90 cents for a dinner of two scrambled eggs and bacon.
In reply to an investigation of a complaint that Fiske's charged 15 cents extra for pie-a-la-mode, Mrs. Fiske said that she had to pay $4.00 more a jug for cream, raising her bulk price of ice cream to $1.00 a quart.
Crimson Urges Customer Caution
The Board of Editors of the CRIMSON reported on its investigations as follows:
"Our findings indicate that most shopkeepers depend for their livelihood on their good standing with their customers and that they cannot force down wholesale and producer prices without support from customers in the form of an obvious intention not to pay higher prices.
"The country's economy is at a stage where patience on the part of the consumer and a refusal to submit to price rises, by doing without certain kinds or grades of products, will soon dampen any inflationary tendencies. Many producers are holding back on their stocks. If they can be convinced that prices will not go higher, the resulting sales will relieve the most critical shortages.
"Wherever a price rise is noted, buying at another store or conscientious refusal to purchase the item at all, if the rise is general, will eventually benefit everyone. Continue to leave your complaints at the CRIMSON.
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