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I've been doing some work on catching up with the site over the holidays and I came across a bit of a rant in the forums from what I can only guess is an optician or the mom of an optician.

Here it is:

Free advice? Bad advice.
If you only wear glasses at night, if you only use glasses for a computer or you can buy your glasses from walgreens then by all means buy them online. But if it's a prescription, for the love of god, get it filled by someone who is knowledgeable about the trade. If you don't heed this advice also do us a favor and don't bother going to a local optician to have your frames fit or to trouble shoot your problems; you already had your hand in putting him out of business, don't also insult him by asking for his time and expertise for free.
My response to this tripe:
This is a bunch of crap.

I've always said that I'm willing to pay for my FULL PRESCRIPTION, but don't hold a very simple part of it hostage to keep me in your store so you can force overpriced frames and criminally overpriced lenses on me. You expect gratitude for that?

Want to know who has put the local optician out of business? Luxottica and yes, the local optician herself. The world has always been an adapt or die scenario -- for everyone. So rather than whine about how unfair something is, use your brain and try to figure out how to use your "time and expertise" to turn it around in your favor. The old model no longer works -- and hasn't for some time.

Move on already.

- Ira

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At December 31, 2011 at 7:25 PM MarinJim said...

3 Cheers for you Ira you're absolutely correct with your assessment. 300-500% markups are obscene and then to complain that the gravy train has ended is a further insult to the consumer.

At December 31, 2011 at 7:57 PM notemily said...

I think this was in response to me, or inspired by my post. I talked about how I ordered designer frames from Coastal and while they look great, the prescription seems off in some way I can't pinpoint. I took them to the shop to measure the prescription and they said it was fine, but they also gave me crap about buying glasses online.

And, you know, it's true that if I had gotten my glasses in a physical store they could have been custom-fitted. But they also would have cost at least five times as much. And I can't afford that, no matter how many righteous screeds I get from opticians (or moms of opticians).

At January 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM Unknown said...

Ira et al:

I ordered from eyebuydirect this past summer and went in wearing those glass to my optometrist. I have been going to him for years. We are good friends and I respect his guidance in caring for my eyes. When he say that I had not purchases my last pair of glasses from him--which were $500+--he asked me how I like my present glasses and then asked me if his technician could run a test on them. He returned to the exam room said they were great.

He did then comment that his "competition" is not the mall stores but the on line stores that have captured a new market. This is the market he will have to compete with in the future as people get over the "fear" of ordering glasses on line.

I don't have "cafeteria money" that I have to spend at the end of the year. The money I spend is my money. My wife and I both wear progressives and our last two pairs were about 220 for both. I just bought two $100 coupons from eyebuy and will use them for new glasses this fall.

If you can bank on line you can certainly buy your glasses on line. You pay for the script with your exam--it is the law--so before you walk out of the doctors office you will have to ASK for it.

I have used Firmoo and eyebuydirect and they fit perfect when I get them.

Why pay 300%+ markups? There is no reason a pair of glasses should cost as much as a netbook. None!

At January 3, 2012 at 9:16 PM Firmoo said...

Agree. Here is the link: those opticians are talking about online glasses.

At January 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM TJ said...

You are EXACTLY right, Ira. The glasses I have purchased online have saved me thousands of dollars, plus with the savings I'm able to get a few different pairs of glasses & sunglasses for variety. The old way I could just afford 1 pair of glasses and one pair of Rx Sunglasses if I was lucky.

I PAY my optometrist for her services: And examination & prescription. I do not get that prescription for free. What I do with that Rx is my own business.

When I go to the regular doctor for an RX, I'm not forced to buy my medication from the doctor, I go to the Pharmacy of my choice.

There is no need to pay $200-$500 for very overpriced frames. I've ordered glasses and sunglasses from a number of online retailers and never had a single problem so far.

Eyeglasses are made with computers and machines these days - there's NO reason they'd be any better for paying to have them made locally at a much inflated price.

At January 15, 2012 at 8:27 PM tortoise said...

There seems to be a middle ground - why don't opticians just charge for fittings of glasses bought online or get in the game by retaining their own discount glass suppliers? The opticians used to have to split the money with brand-owner on the glasses, but now they can get their own supplier deals for their customers, cutting out the brand-owner, lowering prices for the customer while also increasing the share of remainder that the optician takes in.

One difficulty is that insurance doesn't cover fittings independently yet . If they did, a fitting charge would be easy and possibly welcomed by most opticians.

At January 16, 2012 at 8:39 PM RedStickHam said...

Way to go Ira! The cost of frames is in my opinion, totally ridiculous. What I've often done in the past is either have an existing frame relensed if it was still good or if I bought a new frame, I'd use my old glasses, with old prescription, as a backup. Thanks to buying online, I can now afford new frames every year and can buy more than one pair. I've also finally been able to afford Transitions thanks to online buying. I've never mentioned to my optometrist that I buy glasses online so I don't know what she would think.

At February 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM A Broad said...

We have the same beef here in Canada. The CBC has run a weekly 'watchdog' program, Marketplace, for years, and last week's telecast was all about eyewear scams. You can find it here if you're interested, Ira...

Coincidentally, I recently broke my glasses, so I'm going to try an online retailer, I've detailed it on my blog, and linked to your blog as well.

Love your work, Ira, thanks for what you do.

At March 21, 2012 at 5:22 PM Tracey Dooling said...

I would love to add to all of these words of wisdom.
My 7 year old glasses could not be replaced with anything I could see through from 5, count them, 5 different glasses places. I tried from the cheapest places to the most expensive that my mother goes to (at around $500 for a pair). I got a new exam each and every time by the eye doctor there.

It was very disheartening. All the driving around, wasting my time, then being told to give them a week. Really, if I'm falling off the sidewalk they aren't working. Then giving up and going back to my old ones. AND the pushiness of the glasses sales people...

I am HAPPY to say that GOGGLES4U did a wonderful job. Even with the one pair that had a lens slightly off. They fixed it with no hassle and sent me a new pair. Mine were all inexpensive anyway.

I am awaiting another order of glasses and expect to be as happy. And, this time on my company's dime I ordered progressive lenses since that old computer has ruined my eyes ;) . The horrible lights and monitor were giving me migraines as well, so I got colored lenses last year and they seem to have helped.

My very first order I was very leary and bought the cheapest I could get a way with to see if they could do it right.

Go forth and SEE!


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