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Retail Therapy

The urge to splurge is universal, indulged in by nearly equal measures regardless of the consumer’s age, income or gender,” according to a recent survey published in Forbes. Yes, you read that right. Most people are addicted to retail shopping. I, however, regard my constant shopping as “therapy.” I’ve even awarded myself $50 to buy items at local retailers as conversation starters to help me more effectively vent to my therapist about my monthly woes.

Serene Sounds at City Dogs
A chorus of happy little yappy puppies greeted me when I arrived at City Dogs located at 301 H Street NE. Each of them fought for my attention differently, and while all of them were exuberant, they were far more well-behaved than the leash-less little monsters who’ve taken over Lincoln Park. After playing with them for about five minutes, one of the store attendants, who had recognized I needed a moment, came over to help me shop.

I thought of the smelly dog that always stands over me when I sit on the bench at the park while his owner, a big-bellied man with horrid breath, roams arrogantly with the dog’s leash in his hands.

Oribe’s Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray, $30 at Aurora’s Salon

“Do you have anything that will deodorize a dog that smells like chitterlings the night before Thanksgiving?” I asked.

Befuddled, she led me to the shampoo section and pointed to the Ultra Collection by NiLodor. I picked it up to smell and was charmed by the scent of oatmeal. I smiled knowing its contents, once I completed my rant, would soothe the skin of a friend’s dog.

A Stroll into Aurora’s Salon
Next, I walked into a place I wouldn’t normally frequent. Judging by the intrigued looks on the customers’ faces when I arrived at Aurora’s Salon (315 H ST NE), I wasn’t the only one wondering why I had wandered into this establishment.

“May I help you?” a kind but confused stylist asked.

“Yes, I am looking for a gift for a friend,” I fibbed, thinking of the grumpy old lady at the coffee shop who always gets my name wrong when I say good morning. “She has short hair that was once blonde, but her roots…”

“Ah, say no more!” the stylist interjected
while guiding me to Oribe’s Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray.

Giggling like a schoolgirl with a crush, I strode out of the salon. With a little less than $10 in my retail therapy budget, I had enough to buy something that would make me feel good after “the shade” was thrown and my session with my psychotherapist was over – to the bookstore, I went!

Deep As the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig,
$27 at Solid State Books

A Solid Find at Solid State Books
If you’ve been on H Street, there are three things I can guarantee you’ve seen: 1) trollies that move as slowly as my grandma when I’m ready to leave her church; 2) the constant construction that upends traffic, and 3.) Solid State Books at 600 H St NE.

As I do in all bookstores, I stopped and smiled as soon as I crossed the threshold of Solid State Books, inhaling the aroma of coffee and pastries that filled the store. Then, I found my way to the fiction section. There I spied Deep as The Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig.

I was initially captivated by the colorful cover and paradoxical title, but after reading the synopsis, I decided it was worth the purchase. A legendary Chinese pirate queen who marries her late husband’s second-in-command. A precarious fight to attain power.

‘This is my kind of story.’ I thought to myself as I briskly headed to the check-out counter. And with the beeping sound of my dreams and only $18 over budget, I purchased the last item for my therapy. It was finally time to retreat to my apartment with the perfect find.

Denzell Spencer is a nonprofit development consultant and former middle school teacher. He is a graduate of Howard University who enjoys good music, suspenseful mystery novels, and Southern cuisine. If you would like to recommend an item or local retailer for “Retail Therapy,” send it to dspencer20003@gmail.com.  

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