Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Eye Opening Experiences

On the weekend, my glasses broke – right at the sauder point, where the frame meets the nose piece. Instead of walking around with a big piece of white tape holding my glasses together like some nerd, I just popped on my backup glasses.

Always have a backup – always. Not just for computer hard drive failures, but also for bare essentials – like glasses. Without glasses, it ain’t all the easy to see – and seeing is living.

I can work with my spare glasses for a while. They aren’t as fashionable or as comfortable as my regular pair, but they are the exact same prescription, so they will do.
But I did go to the local mall and scout around the eye glass places to start looking into getting a new pair.

What an eye opening experience. Eye glasses are not like just any every day purchase. Where you get your glasses is important, as you want to ensure they provide exceptional quality lenses and frames, and just as exceptional service. Your vision is important – and when things go wrong you want to know you can count on the place you paid good money for them to make it right.

I was astonished to find that most of the eye glass stores don’t provide very good customer service.

First I went to Sears, and there they did have great customer service. When looking for glasses, you need to feel warm, welcome and be able to try on as many pairs as you want. That’s the whole point of trying on glasses – to see what looks best and what fits right. The sales staff at Sears were very helpful, and not too pushy. They made me feel welcome and I was glad I went there.

Then I went to Lens Crafters – a big chain which has major advertising on television, radio, newspapers and just about anywhere else. I figured they’d have just as good service, as they are so well promoted.

How wrong I was – one person said hi as we walked in, but didn’t get off his lazy butt to offer assistance. Most of their frames were behind locked glass displays, so I had to ask someone to unlock the display. While I was looking, instead of offering assistance, she just stood there, jiggling her keys as if to say “hurry up, I’ve got better things to do than help customers.”

I tried on a few pairs of glasses at Lens Crafters, but didn’t feel comfortable enough to really try on enough. And they didn’t provide the level of service I require to go back – so they lost my business.

Then we went over to a smaller store, with mostly high fashion designer frames. Almost all the frames were in glass cases, and all the sales staff were busy with other customers. No one even said they’d be with us in a moment – or even indicated we were welcome in their store.

Funny, I thought I looked like a regular customer that could spend money on their products – maybe I didn’t look rich enough to afford their time?

We walked around for a bit, then left the store.

I went to the Bay next, and they had closed early. Their hours were pretty short – although it was a Monday night, the mall was still open. The Bay was still open, so how come the Bay Optical wasn’t open?

My search for the right frames continues, but so far, I’ve only been to one store where I’d actually go back – and that doesn’t say much for a purchase that will easily cost me over $500.

I don’t go around dropping hundreds of dollars on a regular basis, so when I do, I expect the best service possible. I was only able to get excellent service at one shop – and that doesn’t bode well for an industry people depend on to do their daily living.

Hopefully the mall employees were just having a bad day – because my search for a place to get my next vision solution is turning into one big blur.

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