Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Remember this?Well, after suffering for the last two weeks with my contacts and no glasses, I finally decided to go out to the (you're not going to believe this) the mall to find me a new pair of glasses. My contacts work fine, it's just that in order to get new prescription glasses, you need a prescription from under a year old. So, first things first, my lovely wife books me at the optometrist's office right next door to a glasses store. I won't disclose the name of the establishment, but let's just say it rhymes with "Mine's Faster." The name of the doctor was Dr. "Goldstick." I'm not kidding. Of course, he spelled it without apostrophes.

He was a goofy man. Kinda like half Mr. Rogers and half Ralph Nader. I didn't care because I was there for one thing and it was going to cost me $50. That's an eye examination on the way to handing me a prescription that I would then walk next doors to the glasses store and have filled. I already had the frames picked out. They nice, b'lee dat.

The whole optometrist office was a circus which was topped off with the receptionist mumbling weird, non-descript languages while laughing nervously. And there was no music to speak of. Maybe that was the problem. It was just me and the dimwitted receptionist talking about Amarillo. Sweet glory! Then she ushered me to the back where I waited in one of those uncomfortable thrones of pleather and metal. I kept thinking, "Why am I waiting back here by myself. I was much more comfortable in the receptionist area." I waited for fifteen minutes. Maybe I made her nervous and she just wanted to get rid of me.

I remained patiently until Goldstick entered the room. He noticed where I worked and began complimenting me on the stores and started telling me how he likes to read. "I don't read at all," I remarked. He continued. My eye examination lasted probably thirty minutes. I got so tired of saying "yes" and "no", "one" and "two" that I was starting to suspect that Goldstick was just playing with me. At the end, ol' boy tried to tell me that I had developed an astigmatism. Slight, but definitely an astigmatism. He then said, "Well, I got your prescription ready and I also have some of your contacts in the back."

"Uh, I don't need contacts. I just came for a new glasses prescription."

"But it's more economical to just get your contact prescription and I have those here for you to take with you."

"I don't need new contacts."

"Well, I think your contacts are definitely in need of replacement."

"I disagree. I've worn hard contacts for 13 years and have only ever had two pairs. The pair before these I wore for nine years. I don't wear the soft contacts that you were going to give me anyway."

"Oh, well yeah. If you wear hard contacts, you don't need those. I'll just rip up the contact prescription."


"Now, if you can just come into the other room, I think it'd be wise to go ahead and test for glaucoma."

"What? There's no history of glaucoma at all in my family. Is it really necessary?"

"Oh, it only takes three minutes and costs only $20."

"I don't want that test, but thank you. I just want a glasses prescription."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. Thanks. If I ever reconsider, I'll come here first."

Dude was trying to upsell me on a glaucoma test. Now, I didn't just graduate from high school. I don't want the $20 glaucoma test so that I can sleep well tonight reading the words on the inside of my eyes: "Thank goodness I don't have glaucoma like Kirby Puckett." My lovely wife said, "Well, you wanted economical." True. I should've gone to my regular doctor. Oh well.

I head next door to Thigh Crafters and go to the frames I had my eye on only to find they were absent. Just my luck. I'm real particular about glasses frames and the style and model I had set my sight on were gone. I wait for the girl behind the desk to stop talking to some dude in lab. I love how they refer to it as the lab. I'm not really fooled that anything scientific goes on back there. It's just some kid out of college tightening screws on glasses frames. Okay, maybe that's not true, but I'm convinced that everything in the mall is absolutely fake. It's like a booth at the carnival.

Look! Real optometrists melting and sculpting your lenses from glass with heat matched only by that of molten lava from the earth's core!

They're not real. It's all fake.

Despite that, real frames from a fake store were half off along with half off of lenses. So, there I stood waiting to be noticed--which is hard when you're my frame. Finally, I just walk up to the counter and politely tap on the counter. She approaches me. We do a little back and forth about the frames and then I just start drilling her on when she's getting more back in, who will call me and how will they know what frame I'm looking for without a model number? Where do you get a model number? Do you have a browseable catalot that has images? Can I look at it? She begins moving with a small sense of urgency, but at least I have her attention at this point.

We find the frames in a catalog and she explains to me that (mathematicians, get your pencils ready) she's going combine the cost of the frame and the lenses and then take 50% off because I'll actually save money that way.

"How does that work?"

"It just works. Trust me. Like I take $200 for the lenses and $160 for the frames, we'll add that together and then take half of that and it comes to half of $360 which is $180."

Or, for those scoring at home, if you do the two separate halving before adding them together, it miraculously adds up to the same thing.

$200 x .50 = $100
$180 x .50 = $80
$80 + $100 = $180

But, I gave her the satisfaction of thinking she saved me money so that I could be on my merry way. Purchasing almost anything at the mall makes me uneasy. It's the same uneasiness you might get riding the ferris wheel at the parking lot, cash-only carnival that's only in town for two days. For some reason, I think something horrible's gonna happen and there'll be no accountability. Maybe it's paranoia on my end, but I just don't trust them.

But that's it. An optometrist that thinks I have glaucoma and a clerk who thinks that she's saving me money simply in the order of two different calculations. I don't have glaucoma and she saved me nothing.

Buyer beware. Now, let's see if it takes a furniture-store turnaround to get my glasses. Hip hop ain't dead, but customer service certainly is.



K-Fleet said...

Being visually challenged too, I feel your pain. I now have to change eye doctors due to insurance reasons, so I'll be skeptical on my first visit. Can't wait to see the new specs.

sarahsmile3 said...

Boy, I hate that glasses store you went to! I have a story about that place. Remind me to share it with you the next time I am in your presence.
gabba gabba hey!

Anonymous said...

How could you possibly know you don't have glaucoma if you aren't tested for it??? And you call the doctor dumb?