Should you happen to stroll past the former Waffle Shop on 10th Street NW (across from Ford’s Theatre) in the next few weeks, you might wonder what’s with the “Help” signs in the window.
If you were hoping they might mean “help wanted,” you’re out of luck. But if you’re looking for relief from, say, a headache, paper cut or upset stomach, you might enjoy perusing the goods at this temporary store selling pared-down — and pricey — remedies for common bodily ills.
The gimmick behind the Help line of over-the-counter medications, created in 2008 by the New York-based Help Remedies, is simplicity. If you buy the package called “Help I have an aching body,” you get 16 200-mg ibuprofen pills “that haven’t been coated in sugar, or dyed candy apple red,” according to the Help Web site. And none of the medications in the line is packaged in combination with other medications. So if you purchase “Help I have a stuffy nose,” you’ll get just the nasal decongestant phenylephrine – not a combination of meds, such as acetaminophen and diphenhydramine which are found in many cold medications, to treat related symptoms.
Each pocket-friendly package, whether it contains 16 adhesive bandage strips or 8 25-mg meclizine HCI pills for nausea, costs $4. (Yes, 16 bandaids for $4. We moms won’t be stocking up here. Same with ibuprofen; you can get 100 dye-free, 200-mg ibuprofen tablets for $7 elsewhere.) But packaging is important to some people, and the Help line is distinguished by its clean, straightforward design and a brand-wide sense of humor. The Web site’s description for the “Help I’m nauseous” product explains “We were going to make it deviled egg flavored, but we thought it might defeat the purpose. Other flavors that we considered: artichoke, lamb, lobster, liver, moo shu.”
Events to be staged at the store in the coming weeks include some bits of silliness: According to news materials, for instance, on Nov. 13-16, “A very brave participant will spin in an office chair all day” to promote “Help I’m nauseous,” and on Nov. 20-21, “a man will lie in the window with a boulder on top of him” to help sell “Help I have an aching body.”
Silly antics aside, though, Help does want to help. For example, the company offers a specially marked package of adhesive bandages that includes a bone-marrow donor registration kit. (That product is temporarily out of stock on the Web site but will be available at the store.)
And on Sunday, Nov. 11, a bone-marrow donor center will be collecting cheek swabs and registering donors at the store from noon to 5 p.m. The following Sunday, Nov. 18, a blood drive will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Even if you don’t particularly need an expensive pack of ibuprofen, it might be worth visiting the store.