You know, it's not often that I really just go off. Okay, maybe it is rather often. But let's pretend it's not. As some of you know from a recent post, I've been having some difficulty working with a local eyewear place--well, not really local, but...well, it's Eyemasters. I had tried to mask their name in the past by referring to them as, I believe, Crybastards...er something. But that was because there was pending litigation. But now that it's over with, so I went into Eyemasters...
Let's rewind this story for a quick recap all the way back to September 18th when I first visited this hell hole. After having their on-site optometrist trying to jack up my bill by suggesting that I have an astigmatism and then wanting to dilate my eyes, I have some choice words for him--a diplomatic dispute, if you will--and then walk next door to Eyemasters under some sort of blind optimism, I had thought that this whole fiasco would start looking up for me. Maybe he thought I had glaucoma. Either way, the dude's a moron and I don't believe him.
So, I go next door and look for the frames I had my eye on just a day before. They're gone. After a moment of torture talking to the girl in the store and helping her locate them in a catalog, we go ahead and order the frame and the spectacles. She does some sort of voodoo math and thinks she's saving me money by halfing two different amounts and adding them together instead of halfing the total. Dumbass. Whatever.
Three days later, I get a call from her (one of only two calls that I would receive during the entire ordeal) saying that the frame I had selected was discontinued but, fortunately for me (with sarcasm), they had located one single pair at another store in the district. Another week later, the lenses and the frames are at the store ready for pick-up. I go in to pick them up and, as they are brought out to me, I mention that one of the earpieces is flung out a little and needs to be adjusted for a tighter fit. She takes it back to the "lab." She brings them back out to me and, I see that there is some sort of ghostly fuzz out of both eyes now. I wonder if it was a cleaning agent that is just drying as I pier out of the glasses. It's not going away.
Turns out, the blur is where the nincompoop in the "lab" had essentially fried my lenses with the warming mechanism used for adjustments. I mention it to the girl standing in front of me and, for a moment, she attempts to dispute it with me. I explain there's no dispute because I can guarantee her that I cannot see out of the glasses in their condition. She apologizes (kinda) and then says that she'd be reordering my lenses and my glasses might be ready in another seven to ten working days.
She did offer a solution which involved me wearing the flawed pair for a couple of days. She could order a lense of a lower quality, but that would at least provide for unobstructed vision for the period necessary for getting my higher quality lense from the lab. She calls me (the second and last call I would receive from Eyemasters during this ordeal) the next day and says that not only were my temporary lenses in but they also found another pair of the same frame so I can just come in and swap out one pair for another (and not have to worry about the "lab" scorching the lenses). I played dumb and didn't ask about how she so quickly located another pair of the same frames when, at first, she acted like it was an act of sheer heroism to locate one. Whatever.
About ten days later, I just happened to be in the area (a rarity) and decided to drop in and check on the status because I had not received a phone call. Now, not receiving a phone call is something that really pisses me off. I mean, there are different offenses in poor customer service, but the one that really gets me is the failed ownership and inability to follow-through. This will come up later.
Once I walk in, I approach a different girl and ask her if my glasses are there. She mentions that, yes, they are there. I ask when they arrived and she says, "Oh, they just came in today." Sure. Yeah, and let me guess, you were just getting around to calling me too. The lenses weren't even in the frames so she takes them to the "lab" to have them inserted into the frames. She brings them out, I put them on. Looks okay. I give them an exuberant thumbs-up and then walk out. Geez, about a month and a half later. Whatever.
I get into my car and, whaddya know, there's that mysterious blur again in the lenses. The embicile roasted my glasses again. After waiting all that time to not even get a phone call, I go in to find out that they freaking ruined my lenses again. I stomp back in and the girl that helped me mysteriously disappeared, but the manager was there. Great. Finally someone can see a suitable resolution to this here. We'll call him "Johnny" to protect his identity.
Johnny (oops, I forgot the suggestive quotations there) apologized and was very upfront about the mistake. He said that he would "take care of me" and would not only fix the lenses, but he would upgrade me to the high-index uber-protective lense that is practically indestructable. Actually, I don't know the difference, but it was Johnny's way of not having to refund anything, but instead just perk me until I was happy. He even let me take the crappy lenses home with me and gave me a free Tommy Hilfiger case. Hell yeah! Now you're talking!
As I'm walking out, I turn to him and I say, "Johnny, please assure me that you call me because this last time I was not called when my glasses came in. It's very important that you call me. Thank you." I walk out with the same glasses, a new case and a promise of an upgrade. The upgrade is really not one at all. It probably costs them pennies more for the upgrade, but it's a way of not having to refund anything to the customer. Whatever. I'm still being abnormally patient with the situation. Normally, I wouldn't be so easy to please, but I had alot of other ish on my mind. Frustrated? Yes. Livid? Not yet.
In the coming weeks, I would make probably 10-12 calls to Eyemasters checking on the status of my glasses. Now, that might sound slightly obsessive, but spread that over a FOUR WEEK period and it's not that often. Each time, I ask speak to Johnny (oops, forgot the quotations again) and it would seem that maybe I'm being avoided. Everytime I call from my cell phone, he's not there or he's out to lunch. If I call on, say, my work phone it's always, "May I ask who is calling?" I left three different messages over the 12 times that I called.
"This is (j3). Please tell him I really need to speak with him. My number is 555-5552."
"Yeah, I really need to talk to him. Can you make sure he calls me back? My number is 555-5552."
"When do you expect him back in?...Can you have him call me at 555-5552?"
It didn't really matter how I said it--dude would never return my phone calls. I guess Eyemasters defines "taking care of you" as purposefully avoiding any interaction with you and dodging you like a bill-collector. You would've thought I was Mafia Tony trying to find this kid. I just wanted him to treat me like a man and make decision like a man. But I'm getting nothing out of him. And I'm not about to drive to the mall because, well, I hate the mall and I'm not going out there just to find out my specs aren't ready.
Yesterday, I hit my peak of frustration. I don't know if Johnny was taking my kind persona as weak or submissive, but I was about to become a hella-headache if he didn't stop acting like a child, return my calls and fix this problem. I mean, realize that almost three months later, I still haven't called a district manager yet. I'm just letting Johnny take care of me.
I call yesterday on my lunch break. Here's the conversation. Dig this. Oh yeah, I'm calling from my cell phone.
"Yes, is Johnny in?"
"Uh, he won't be in until after twelve."
"Oh, I'm sorry. It won't be until after two."
"Okay, so it switched from twelve to two in two seconds?"
"I forgot, he has alot of personal things he's needing to tend to."
"I'll call back."
This next time, I call back at about 3:30 from my work phone to see if my hunch was true about caller-ID.
"Is Johnny in?"
"May I ask who is calling?"
"This is (j3)."
"He's helping a customer right now. Can I take a message."
"You know, I've left a lot of messages over the past month that have not been returned. I think I'll wait until he's done."
I stayed on hold for close to ten minutes. You do know that when a customer is on hold at retail, the phone begins to make some sort of noise to alarm the store associates that someone is on hold. You must also realize that, for ten minutes in that store, the supposed customer, Johnny and ol' girl had to endure that sound and yet no one was picking up that phone.
No one picks up and I give up and hang up.
On the way home last night, I call up Eyemasters on my cell phone. We know how successful I'll be with this.
And whaddya know? Johnny actually picks up the damn phone. And there's a very audible nervousness in his voice. It's like he just said, "What the hell, I can't run forever." He then assaults me with a string of rehearsed excuses. He was in Midland last week. He's been busy. And, the nerve, this punkass actually says, "Your glasses came in a long time ago and I tried calling you."
I might believe that if I didn't have to call them everytime. I mean, what does "I tried calling you" actually mean? I have voicemail. I have an answering machine at home. Was it like, all of the sudden, my voicemail didn't work just for Johnny's call? Did I someone unknowingly block Eyemasters' calls? Again, this is the kid who vowed to "take care of me," which I was quick to remind him of. I then mention that his "I tried calling you" jive almost makes it sound like he's trying to hold me responsible for all of this. He says he's going to look for my lenses to make sure they're there. Turns out that because they were received so long ago, that the "lab" manager actually pulled them and returned them because they were not picked up. Now, this is where I have to make a pretty crucial decision. I've waited a month to be told that they sent them back because I didn't pick them up. Despite calling the manager of the store at least ten times over the last month because I didn't receive the supposed "one call" from him and never picked them up, they shipped them back. That's awesome. I have no other word to communicate my apprecation at this point except for that--awesome.
I then explode in a series of obsenities over the phone. I'm not very proud of that except that I felt like I needed to do it for myself. Johnny asks, "What do you want to do?" I say, "I'd rather cut bait and just get a full refund on my glasses because if this is the trouble I have to go through just to get them, I can't imagine what it would be like if I have any trouble with them." He says, "That's your perrogative." I quickly reply, "See, the fact that you conceded so quickly means, that first, you don't really want my business and you have no intention of making me happy and, secondly, you feel like your at fault and none of this is my fault at all." He returns, "No, I just don't want to argue with you, sir." Yeah, sure.
So this morning, I'm going back in to get a full refund and consider this a three-month free rental. There's a few lessons that can be taken from this, but the overriding lesson is that my instinct was accurate--don't buy anything at the mall. And, when it comes to eyeglasses, go to one of those expensive places. It'll be worth it. You're not buying canned corn, it's eyewear. A good pair requires going a little deeper in the checkbook.
Eyemasters sucks. So does Crybastard.