Speaking of smoking, the confidence in the economy of America’s elite is sure to be shattered by the news that Out of Town News, the newstand smack in the middle of Harvard Square, is shutting down. The internet had basically made its core business model obsolete some time ago. The general idea, as witnessed by the name, was that you could buy all kinds of “out of town” publications there, thus serving the news needs of the university’s geographically diverse community. But people still buy other stuff — I used to buy cigarettes there, and sometimes Diet Coke (but soda’s cheaper at the university vending machine), but I think cigarette retailing is a declining industry as well.
Note that the closing of Out of Town News is part of the dystopian vision of The Handmaid’s Tale.