Spectrum India, Providence's go-to supplier of sequined, beaded corsets and ankle-skimming, tie-dyed, distressed silk caftans, recently announced the first wave of what it is calling the First Annual You Can Take Anything You Want If It Looks Like You're Shopping Here Sale.
The store's management has long been noted for its enterprising promotional efforts. Many an A Day on College Hill attendee has reluctantly followed a fellow pre-frosh into the store and received the gift of a hand-knitted finger puppet. Other past sales events have included free wireless internet for anyone in a one-mile radius of the store and both a forty-minute massage and paraffin-and-truffle-oil pedicure to anyone who acts semi-convincingly like they might consider actually buying something.
Despite these sales, however, most Brown students choose to enter the store about once in four years, either to chew up time before meeting someone at Starbucks or to salvage an awkward date by walking around the store giggling at nothing in particular and trying on a couple funny hats.
Since its 1967 opening, Spectrum India has been protected from bankruptcy by a secret cabal of Thayer Street business owners, said an inside source who asked that we refer to him as Mr. X and mention several of his recent reasonably-priced, high-quality Thayer Street purchases.
"Spectrum India is one of the only holdouts that keep Thayer a 'funky college-town main drag' and not a 'soulless row of Au Bon Pains,'" Mr. X said, taking a bite of a mouth-watering, healthy Black Forest Ham, Parmesan Frittata & Cheddar breakfast sandwich on an Artisan Roll from the Thayer Street Starbucks. He wiped his lips with a cushion-quilted CVS-brand paper towel and explained that several prominent Thayer stores have donated their own profits to keep Spectrum afloat. "We have a similar deal with the Creperie."
Spectrum's safety net dropped out earlier this year, however, after the cabal received an offer from American Apparel to buy out the space. Rather than giving up, Spectrum's owner and sole employee, Marnrish Adini, has announced that he will be slashing prices students were already calling "drastic," "dirt-cheap," and "really fucking desperate." The door-buster sale began last Tuesday when Spectrum gave out free rope by using it to tie customers to a rack of woven messenger bags until they relented and made a purchase.
Despite the resulting criminal charges against him, Adini remains adamant that Spectrum's one-of-a-kind selection of incense burners, gilded satin wine bottle bags, fake-jewel-and-mirror-encrusted sandals, and untouched, decades-old packages of gum will remain available to the Providence community. A banner outside the store last week announced a new 300%-off sale in which patrons could walk away with twice the price of an item in cash if they simply entered the store and left with a piece of merchandise.
So far, store traffic has not increased.