Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Submarines and Cigarettes

The raising of the Federal cigarette tax today got me to thinking about the time the Ustafish pulled into Halifax. We had been out on training ops with one of the Canadian O-boats trying to listen to an SSK on battery.

Never a smoker, I always brought a couple of cartons on a cruise just in case a commercial opportunity presented itself. About 2 weeks out of port, the smoking lamp started to flicker due to the lack of smokes. Typically, due to poor planning by the boat's smokers, the cigarette market demand was high.

I let the smokers know that I had a ready supply of Marlboros for sale at twice the in-port price of about $5 a pack. Parasite, bloodsucker, scalper all of these names came my way and my chief quietly advised me to close up shop.

A fews days later we hit Halifax and I first section duty. I was topside as Petty Officer of the Deck as everybody went on liberty. Not more than 10 minutes later, a group of nicotine fiends come back to the boat and demanded that I get a relief so I can get those $5 Marlboros from their hiding place.

When I asked what had changed their minds, I got a stream of obscenities about Canadian tobacco taxes. It seems our northern cousins had jacked the cigarette tax to the point that a pack of Dead Cowboys cost $7USD. This is what we call a change in the market.

After running to the tiny Canadian Forces Exchange on base and spending the time to figure the exchange rate, our steely eyed killers from the deep decided the Deck Div. tax was a better deal.

And that, children, is how Seaman Paintscraper paid for numerous pints of O'Keefe's in Nova Scotia.


Zachary said...

Well played! Bravo!

Lou said...

The most important thing I learned before leaving for my first patrol was to pack a few cartons in my locker. Cigs for sigs! :)

Subvet said...

Don't cha love capitalism?