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  • Half Price Books – Spa For the Cheap and Uptight

    September 15, 2009

    I hear a lot of women saying how they love to go to the spa. They love to get a massage and get their nails done, they love the soothing new age music and the aroma therapy.  It’s a treat to get away for a couple of hours and relax and recharge.

    I’ve been to the spa a couple of times and it was nice and all, but being a person who freaks out a little at the thought of being touched by a stranger, I’d rather go to Half Price books.

    This morning, I was feeling the need to get away and recharge, so I drove to the Half Price Books spa where I spent a couple of hours relaxing and recharging.

    Whereas the spa plays new age music in the background, at Half Price Books Dean Martin was crooning quietly in the background.

    Whereas the spa smells of heather and lavender, Half Price Books smells of books and coffee.

    Whereas at the spa, I’m clothed only in a towel while strange people touch me, that almost never happens at Half Price Books.

    The spa usually costs about $100 and I leave with polished toe nails.

    At Half Price Books today, I spent $30 and got a big bag of books and movies.  And I didn’t have to tip anyone.

    You can go to the spa.  I’m going to Half Price Books.


    1. mom.huebert says:

      Oh man, I would if I could! The closest Half Price books is two hours away. TWO HOURS!

      September 15th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    2. Pat says:

      Books do that for me, too. I’ve been to the spa once, but to the bookstore too many times to count!

      September 15th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    3. happy geek says:

      Jut for kicks, you should hit half-price in a towel some time.
      Talk about a stress release.

      * * *
      Yeah, but think about all the other customers. They’d have to go home and scrub their eyeballs with bleach and a grill brush. ~AM

      September 15th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    4. Paulla says:

      I am TOTALLY with you on this. I’ll take old books (especially the old book smell) over spa-ish type things any day!

      September 15th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    5. Cari says:

      I <3 Half price books. I go every payday and most days when I'm stressed. You can always find a good book or pick up a few new titles in the clearance section for $1.00!

      September 15th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    6. Kathryn in NZ says:

      So with you on this one! The mere thought of a massage gives me the heebiejeebies. Several hours in a bookstore? Take me there NOW


      September 15th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    7. Rebecca says:

      Although I am finally ready to surrender to the Kindle, there will ALWAYS be an appeal to bookstores. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the most interesting books are those not available on the Kindle.

      As to the spa, yeah, the whole stranger touching me thing was the dealbreaker. Having to make conversation with stylists tends to keep me out of hair salons, too, but I do force myself to endure that a couple of times a year. The effort is so totally worth it, I guess a couple of times a year isn’t so bad.

      However, I do plan to look into having my makeup tattoed on. The risk/reward factor needs a lot of weighing up. Have to find someone who has done a lot of good jobs…or I’ll never leave home again.

      Oh, wait! I just remembered hearing about some new technique for tattoo removal on my long drive across the country recently. THAT’s what I have to look into. Just in case.

      September 15th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    8. Smockity Frocks says:

      I agree! I have only ever had ONE massage and I went home with headache! Too stressful!

      September 15th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    9. Kay says:

      I love Half Price Books! People watching is fun there too. All sorts of different types in there.

      I’m with ya on the whole spa thing. Never been. Never want to. The whole stranger thing kinda gives me the creeps too. :p

      September 15th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    10. mythoughtsonthat says:

      Oh, man- I have such a hard time with strangers touching me! Give me a book or two (or 10!) any day!

      September 15th, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    11. Iota says:

      Think about all those poor books, though. They have no choice. They just sit there on the shelf, waiting helplessly while all those strangers come and touch them. They don’t even have the dignity of a towel round their lower halves.

      September 15th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    12. Pam says:

      For me it’s going to Borders and looking at magazines and sipping on something… heaven (o: Loved the dog picture. I want that dog. Loved the fact that water now comes in a bottle… not the tap (o:

      September 15th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    13. Kathryn says:

      I dearly miss Half-Price books!! The only one around here is about 40 miles away in Berkeley.

      September 15th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    14. Praise and Coffee says:

      I’m so with you on this! For me it’s a coffee shop…go figure.

      Glad you had some “me” time!

      September 15th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    15. Lucy says:

      I feel the same way about being touched! Spas? Not me.

      September 15th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    16. Kai says:

      SAME HERE. Being felt up and not getting dinner first does not equal relaxation time for me. I’ve never been one for the Spa experience. Books and coffee are definitely my “me time” spots.

      September 15th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    17. ksharonk says:

      Oh yes … I’m all for the ‘book spa’ too, in fact, my kids and I are stopping off to ‘relax’ there today, on the way home from the dentist! 🙂

      September 15th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    18. Dee from Tennessee says:

      Cannot, cannot go to spa even if I could afford. Just can’t do it. But books…. my book spa is an hour drive away to Knoxville (McKay’s Used Books) and well worth it.

      September 15th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    19. Shelly W. says:

      We don’t have a Half Price Books. Don’t you feel sad for me? We have everything else though–Borders, B&N–so I go there when i need a good browse.

      I’m with you on the spa thing. I never feel “with it” enough to feel like I really belong there. Oh, here’s a funny spa story, though. My husband had a business trip to Aspen last year, so I went along with him and he just INSISTED (ha!) that I go to the spa while he was in meetings. I got my first massage of my life and actually kind of liked it, when I let my muscles un-tense. Anyway, after the massage, they asked me if I wanted to spend some time in the Oxygen Room. Huh? But I said yes. So they hooked me up to actual oxygen, through my nose (!), and gave me a glass of champagne. I don’t know which made me feel better–the oxygen or the champagne–but I felt pretty good after that. It was just so funny, though, to see a group of women lying on cots with oxygen in their noses. Very strange.

      * * *
      I think I could go for the oxygen and champagne if they would just promise not to touch me. 🙂

      For the price of one book at B&N, I can get a grocery bag full at Half Price Books. And you never know what you’re going to find there. I do wish you had a HPB. It’s just a fun place to go.

      September 15th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    20. Carly says:

      Mmm books.


      Oh, sorry. I drifted away there for a minute (or ten) while dreaming about books.

      When the Little Man was a very Little Baby he had some health issues that kept him from sleeping. A very lovely woman came by three afternoons a week to give me a break. Instead of sleeping (or going to the spa), I felt best when I recharged my batteries at a bookstore.


      September 15th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    21. ShackelMom says:

      Yes, a bookstore, especially a cheap bookstore does for me what a spa does for others! You said it perfectly!

      September 15th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    22. Roxanne says:

      I had to leave my Half Price Book store in my old neighborhood along with free t.v. and Sonic. I REALLY miss it.

      September 15th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    23. Roxanne says:

      That is to say, I miss Half Price Books. We’ve given up “commercial” t.v., and there is a Sonic on my 35 mile commute into work. 🙂

      September 15th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    24. Pam D says:

      That “almost never happens” at Half Price Books? Oh, do tell; please?
      It is a relief to find out that I am not the only woman who doesn’t salivate over the thought of a spa day. Dear hubby gave me gift certificates to two different spas for consecutive anniversaries; I think he finally “got” it when it took me nearly a year to get up the courage to go to the second spa. And then, they massaged my feet so hard that they tore the skin between my toes; I limped out and hurt for days. So much for relaxing. Give me a good book anytime!

      September 15th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    25. Julie at Elisharose says:

      Couldn’t agree more. I have only had one true spa experience. My sisters and mother gave me one for a birthday. As you say, it was too weird to have someone, a woman no less, rub me in ways that few ever have. It was somewhat disconcerting and not very relaxing at all. But my nails looked nice.

      September 15th, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    26. Amy says:

      You are a woman after my own heart. The spa doesn’t do much for me, but an hour or two in a half price book store is heavenly.

      September 15th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    27. J says:

      I’m a bookie and I love bookstores but can only afford the at least 1/2. Garage Sale RULE only but paperbooks at 10cents each. Splurge at 25cents. Must be a special SPLURGE for 50 cents. Hardbooks 25cents, splurge at 50cents Over That it MUST be NEEDED! I buy the book read it and give it to the school computer and space camp garage sale (free) for them to sell.

      I kinda like a spa but really have never been able to afford it. Twice I got a back rub free! At the binnenial conference for working women at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign!

      September 15th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    28. Yamile says:

      One day I went to the spa to get a treatment (a surprise from my DH), and instead of the relaxing time I was expecting, I had to endure one hour of the electrodes contracting my abdomen every one minute. I thought I was in labor!
      Give me books any day!

      September 16th, 2009 at 12:30 am

    29. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia says:

      Oh, I’ll take a spa day at any ‘ol time, especially for a massage these days. But, hubby and I took Brennan to Half Price books the other day to get Brennan some books for Christmas. I hadn’t been there in forever, and it was the first time I’d been in there with “mommy eyes”. One thing I can say for sure: I’ll be there much more often than I will the spa!

      September 16th, 2009 at 7:11 am

    30. Brigitte says:

      Aw, man, no Half Price Books for hundreds of miles from here!

      My girlfriends are always talking “spa retreat”, and I always just ignore it until the conversation moves on. No way am I hanging out half-naked and letting strangers touch me, I already have to do that too often at the doctor!

      And spa commercials also show women just strolling around in bathrobes, towels and slippers all over the spa, in front of each other, having a “relaxing” time. No thanks to that part too, if it’s true.

      September 16th, 2009 at 7:34 am

    31. Jenny-Jenny says:

      Aaahhh 2 hours in a bookstore… there truly is nothing better especially when it’s Half Price Books. You write my story baby!

      September 16th, 2009 at 8:23 am

    32. JLI says:

      Wow…where are you ladies getting massages at?? Goodness! I have gotten lost in antique bookstores for hours and drunk from the smell of old books. The smell of different coffee is delicious, indeed. To be sure, the “spa lifestyle” isn’t really my cup of tea, but I have enjoyed some wonderful massages at my favorite spa although I tend to stand out. I’m the one who walks in there looking like a total schlump and doesn’t care. Most ladies walk in already dressed to the nines with their hair and makeup done. I’ll show up in sweatpants, Crocs, an old tee shirt and my hair piled in a mess on top of my head. 🙂

      September 16th, 2009 at 9:41 am

    33. k&c's mom says:

      My favorite store in the central Texas area! Maybe we’ll sit near each other sometime and read.

      September 16th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    34. zoom says:

      Half Price Book’s is my Tiffany’s. I love the schlocky feel of that store. The ambling through the rows and rows of books, and the hippy staff all make me feel very centered and serene.

      There is a small store in a strip center close to our house, but the Mecca is on Northwest Hwy in Dallas. Oh sweet girl. It will bring tears to your eyes

      September 16th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    35. Pam says:

      I was gifted with a massage and facial by DH one Christmas. Hated it. And really could have gone without being told how much sun damage I have. I prefer to call it getting plenty of vitamin D.

      All I have is retail bookstores around here, but give me an afternoon in the Dollar Store and I’m good to go.

      September 16th, 2009 at 10:41 am

    36. Jann says:

      Spas are great, but give me a bookstore of any sort any day!

      September 16th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    37. Jackie Hall says:

      Amen sister! I’m so right there with you. Books can take you to another place anytime anywhere. The best part the books are 1/2 price. If you go in the back of the store you can find some good books as low as a $1.00. 🙂

      September 16th, 2009 at 11:21 am

    38. Nana/Karen says:

      I TOTALLY agree with you. LOVE your blog!

      September 16th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    39. Minnesotamom says:

      Our HPB is located in a dingy strip mall, which makes it less than appealing, but still a great place to browse for bargains (and find out-of-print stuff). I think this is the same reason that Husband and I spend many of our dates just browsing Barnes & Noble, sitting in big squishy chairs, sharing a coffee or a cookie. We’re simple folk when it comes to entertainment, unlike most people in our generation. We used to do laundry together for our dates in college, and we still love a good night-time walk (now they just include a toddler).

      September 16th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    40. Elizabeth says:

      AM, I must regretfully disagree with you, though I do L.O.V.E book stores and libraries in general. I had never had a massage until last year a group of friends gave me a g.c. for after I had my fourth bambino. I was somewhat reluctant and weirded out but as soon as my stretched out skin hit the 20″ deep memory foam, I bowed at the feet of comfort and stayed there.

      September 16th, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    41. Susan says:

      Sadly, we do not have Half Price Books here- we do have Books a Million – but my new find is that the Goodwill store has lovely books- hardbacks $1.00 paper backs .50 cents! Often the books have never been read! While the occasional trip to the spa might be nice, a trip to buy books is always renewing to body and soul!

      September 16th, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    42. Shannon says:

      Why have I never heard of this dreamy-sounding Half Price Book place?? Maybe we don’t have them in Hot as Hades Florida?? (Sorry, I’m a little bitter about the record-tying 94 degrees we had yesterday!)

      The last massage I got was really really freaky and I was so tense afterwards that my hubby had to give me a massage to recover. Honest! It weirds me out. Why do you have to be naked? Ugh.

      Now on a weekend when Grandma has the kids and I can lie in my own bed in my bathrobe and read an entire book without being disturbed… Heaven!

      September 16th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    43. Elicia says:

      half price is the best.

      September 16th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    44. france59 says:

      Going to Half Price Books is ALMOST as good as grazing my way through a gourmet chocolate shop! Mmmmmmmmm!

      Love Half Price Books and am planning my next fix soon.

      September 16th, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    45. melissa says:

      Ah, HPB. My mecca. Just thinking of the browsing to be done at the Northwest Highway location….ahhhhhhh.

      1) My family knows that when I’m in town, a quick trip to HPB typically equates about two hours. At least.

      2) I miss that giant warehouse quite a bit.

      3) I consider it a divine appointment that I now live in one of BUT THREE cities in all of Northern California with a HPB. They know me there. Smaller, but still delightful. 🙂

      Thanks for the small taste of home. (and the bleach and the grill brush made me laugh out loud!)

      September 17th, 2009 at 12:55 am

    46. Jenna says:

      There are no better smells in the world than books and coffee!

      September 17th, 2009 at 7:43 am

    47. Ann G says:

      Me too!! I’ll take a book store any day!! I love searching for just the right books and being in the presence of BOOKS!!

      September 17th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    48. edj says:

      When we are in the US, my bookstore of choice is Powell’s. It smells wonderful and has incredible deals and I get so happy, and overwhelmed with choice, just walking in the door.

      I have never been to a spa though.

      September 18th, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    49. Beverlydru says:

      I’m with you. What a treat the bookstore without a 15 minute limit is!!

      September 19th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    50. Kathy Vaughan says:

      “Whereas at the spa, I’m clothed only in a towel while strange people touch me, that almost never happens at Half Price Books.”

      Almost never? Hmm, does that mean only occasionally? I have to say it has never happened to me at Barnes and Noble, where I have to get my book store fix. Sadly, I have never heard of Half Price Bookstores. You have made me very envious! But you have also made me laugh heartily, so you are forgiven!

      October 10th, 2009 at 5:57 am

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