Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spectacle Debacle

You may have noticed that Jamie wears glasses. He's worn them since he was 18 months old (thank you Dad for passing on that particular gene). And since he was 18 months old we have gotten them from the same little privately owned shop on Main Street in a little old town called Munhall. They were the only place kind enough to take the trouble to find and order glasses small enough to fit an 18 month old boy. The major national chains didn't carry anything that small and basically told me I was S.O.L. One exceptionally helpful clerk told me I should try to find a pediatric ophthalmologist. When I asked her if she knew of any in the area she responded "How should I know? Try the yellow pages."

I'm guessing she's a customer service rep for a cell phone company nowadays.

He gets a new prescription about every 6 months. At $200 a pop this adds up. So now that he's four I thought I might have better luck, and find a better price with one of the national chains. As we were preparing to leave for vacation the next day, I selected Lenscrafters. Because I didn't have enough abuse from them yet and besides they could have glasses ready "in about an hour."

They still didn't have a stellar collection of eyeglasses for someone of Jamie's size. The only slightly more helpful clerk on this visit informed me that they really only carry them for kids from about 1st Grade up as that's when most children get their first pair of glasses. Because before then what the hell do they really need to see for?

But as luck would have it, Jamie found one pair that actually fit, and they just happened to be Spiderman glasses. I think that kid must have some sort of (Spidey) sense that allows him to zone in on any possible Spiderman merchandise in a 5 mile radius.

The Spiderman glasses are going to be $185, so not an exceptional savings over my usual place. But hey, I can get them today so fine yes, we'll take them. They fuss with them and measure and do whatever it is they do to make eyeglasses fit. He then informs me that Oh these glasses? These glasses have to be ordered. We'll have them ready for you in about 10 days. At which point I was prepared to walk but Jamie wanted THOSE glasses.

Fast forward to exactly 1 month and 2 days later when Jamie takes a header off the top step of our front stoop scratching the lenses so badly he can no longer see out of them. No problem. Kids do this all the time. We've never had any problem simply getting the lenses replaced at our old place. They guarantee kids' lenses.

So does Lenscrafters. They cover 75% of the purchase price, so no problem Ma'am we'll order those new lenses for you. That'll be $71.25.

Wait a minute. I'm really bad at math, but even I can figure out that $71.25 is more than 25% of $185. Turns out that "75%" they cover is off the "full retail value". You know - the one that nobody actually pays.

As I'm complaining and grumbling to the bored clerk that "my old place doesn't charge anything and we won't be coming back here," even I know how ridiculous I sound and that she just wishes she could tell me to shut up she just works there and really doesn't even like the damn job.

It almost made me long for her predecessor just so I could have a satisfying argument rather than my one-sided tirade against the evils of Lenscrafters.


Norkio said...

Do you get the lenses replaced and keep the frames? That's what I did for several years because frames are danged expensive. Or is he growing and you have to get new frames? Ugh, that sucks.

Ashley Eyewear Rep FD said...

Childrens and babies frames in particular can be hard to find at times, but try checking out Baby Como by Franel or brands such as Flexon Kids. I wish you luck in your search for children’s eyewear! For more children's eyewear options you can check us out at - I hope this was helpful!