Has anyone out there purchased new eyeglasses lately? Holey moley mama mia! I about had to get a second mortgage to afford them. It started out so simple; get my eyes checked and while there, pick out some new sunglasses. Come on…how expensive can one itty bitty little pair of glasses be?
Okay, maybe some of it was my fault for not paying close enough attention. I seem to have that problem frequently these days. Anyway, the salesperson at the counter asked me what type of frames I wanted and I replied; plastic. I figured they were the cheapest. He brought over a large selection of frames and I chose what I thought to be a reasonable set that would look good as sunglasses. He started doing all the “math” and suddenly the “quick pair of sunglasses” were turning into a major purchase. By the time he got done adding in all the little extras I was looking at a bill over $500. That’s right — more than $500 for a lousy pair of sunglasses. For that kind of money the glasses would have to be able to do other things such as act as a PDA or an MP3 player, or at least show me a movie while I’m driving. $500. I don’t think so, Jack.
We went back to the drawing board and this time I made sure he found the cheapest pair of frames. I had him take off all the special anti-glare, anti-reflective, anti-scratch, anti-anything which nickels and dimes you to death and ended up with a pair of glasses for about $225. Now that’s still expensive, but these were bifocal sunglasses and that costs a bit extra. I could accept $225. I wasn’t crazy about it; but I would pay that much.
When I got home I started thinking about the entire episode. I decided the eyewear shop had quite a good racket going on — start the customer out with the most ridiculously expensive pair of sunglasses possible, then allow them to settle for something not quite as expensive, but still exorbitant while convincing them they got a bargain.
I think this is the same principle used in pricing gas. At $4.19 a gallon we are horrified but we pay the price. When it drops to $3.89 we think we’re getting a bargain. In other words, they market very high to get us used to the price, then drop it a bit where they think we’ll suck it up.
My church is collecting eyeglasses to send to Honduras. There’s a big cardboard barrel in the main lobby area and folks are dropping in their old glasses. I think we should go ahead and collect the glasses, but instead of sending them to Honduras, have an eyeglass swap meet at the church and let everyone pick out one pair to take with them. That way, at least when they had their glasses made, the frames would be free. Let the eyesight-challenged in Honduras wait another year. Or better yet, maybe I should just move to Honduras and get my glasses free.