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The people that run Pearle Vision are not stupid, but they count on us to be.

Owned by our friends at Luxottica, they have resources that I can only dream of; big marketing budgets, cool swag (perhaps a nifty fleece pullover for casual Fridays), and a true marketing genius -- "What if we gave away a camera?"

I was clicking around the other night and noticed an advertisement for a FREE CAMERA with purchase at their stores. I expected to see an off-brand 2 megapixel deal, and was surprised to see it was a name brand. I haven't bought a digital camera in a couple years so I've been a bit out of the loop in regards to pricing. One quick trip to Amazon priced it out to $93 even (Canon A470).

The fine print is the killer though:

Please allow eight weeks delivery for merchandise redeemed online.

You DON'T ACTUALLY GET THE CAMERA. You get a voucher for a camera -- that you'll get in February (when this camera will likely be about $75).

So, as I'm wont to do, I came up with four options if you need new glasses and would love a new digital camera.

Option 1:
Pearle Vision
$350 for 1 pair of eyeglasses.
Your "Free" Camera Arrives in February (if you remember to redeem your voucher)
Total: $350 (Start taking pictures in February -- in overpriced glasses.)

Option 2:
Online Retailer
$40 for 1 pair of eyeglasses.
Order your Canon A470 from Amazon for $93 + $10 shipping (it arrives the day after tomorrow)
Total: $143 (Save over $200 and get the camera this week)

Option 3:
Online Retailer
$40 for 1 pair of eyeglasses.
$50 for 1 pair of sunglasses.
Order your Canon A470 from Amazon for $93 + $10 shipping (it arrives the day after tomorrow)
Total: $193 (Save over $150 and get the bonus eye-saving sunglasses)

Option 4:
Online Retailer
$40 for 1 pair of eyeglasses.
Order the far superior Canon SD790IS for $199 + FREE standard shipping
Total: $249 (Save $100 and get better stuff)

Heck, you could even get into an entry-level Digital SLR for only a few dollars more!

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At December 3, 2008 at 7:10 AM Phillip said...

How about skipping the camera entirely? I never realized there was such an incredible markup on glasses.

At December 4, 2008 at 1:54 AM EyeBuyDirect said...

Thank you for bringing this "free gift" to my attention! I think the most amazing point is that a pair of eyeglasses, made from plastic and metal with no high-tech components, no need for years of R&D and no warranty for lab repairs is marked up so much Pearl Vision can give away a Digital Camera and still make a profit! AMAZING!

At December 6, 2008 at 2:57 PM Anonymous said...

Speaking as a Pearle lab tech, I can tell you the only people who thought this was a good promotion were a couple of marketing knobs with degrees in bad survey research and the ear they had at the management level directly above them. It is mind-numbingly bad; we try not to promote it and try to steer people away from it. Missing in your dissection of it is the fact that if you return your glasses, you have the cost of the camera deducted from your return. An absolute joke!

On a different note, I just received my pair of EyeBuy glasses today, and they are grand. Comparable (at $31), at least, to what we are now selling for $99, but with AR. I think there is not only a place, but a necessity for both of us, but if I didn't get glasses at discount, I would be using nothing but online. I must point out, also, that my Rx is easy and my eyes not sensitive to induced prism. Were they, I might have a bit of a problem with them, as the PD is a titch off. That aside, they are nice glasses.


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