Archive for October 30, 2005

Walmart Optical Sucks

[ music | Johann Sebastian Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor ]

I had an eye exam a week and a half ago at Walmart’s Optical center. Why there? Well, five years ago I had a good experience with them. This time the eye doctor was excellent. That’s when the good times stopped. They still have good prices on frames, relative to the insane prices most places charge. However, unlike 5 years ago, they don’t have the “bundle” prices anymore. It used to be the frame price included the base lenses, and you could upgrade for moderate charges depending on your choice. No longer. Now even the cheap plastic lenses are another $40, which I was told they didn’t even sell (I found out later was a lie, not that I was going to buy them, they’re terrible quality).

The set I was looking at ran $110 per pair, and that was the lowest of the three upgrades lenses. The sales lady of course tried to talk me into the $220 lenses, which I immediately told her I was not going to buy, twice. She proceeded to give me the sales pitch anyway, which consisted of her tellign me that basically their lens grinding process ruined the cheaper lenses, and only these super expensive lenses would actually work. I said a third time I wasn’t interested because if the lenses didn’t work, I would demand replacement sunder their warranty policy, and that it’s illegal to sell products you know are defective but still advertise as functional. She finished by saying she really recommended them to everyone with my type of vision (I’m nearsighted). I didn’t bother to mention that’s a lot of people to push pricey lenses on. So I settled on a mild upgrade to $140 because that set of lenses was significantly thinner, and had anti-glare coatings, etc.

Then I learned they no longer do the lens grinding in-house. It takes a week because it’s sent to their labs in Indiana. This really displeased me, but no one nearby does it any faster anyway, which is why I went to Walmart. So fine, it takes a week.

I went in Thursday to pick up my glasses. I put them on, and vision in my right eye was still quite blurry. I pulled of the glasses, they were clean, put them back on, still very blurry, but different from my normal vision. Immediately I knew what happened. They screwed up the prescription, or the lab used the wrong lens. The girl this time tried to tell me it was my eye that just needed to get used to the new glasses. “Excuse me? If any old lens worked, and my eye just needed to ‘get used to it’ then I wouldn’t be here spending $200 on these. This is wrong.” Another moment of arguing about it, and finally she conceeded and wrote on my chart “patient refuses to take glasses home and try them out for a while”. She went to go get the doctor, and I added to the chart, “because the lens is wrong, and he knows taking them home won’t fix the lens.”

Well, after a few minutes with the doctor, lo and behold I was correct and the lens is wrong. Whoever entered the doctor’s report into the computer ordering system introduced whatever the optical equivalent of an “off by one” error is. The lens was one power “notch” lower than it should have been, according to the doctor. So this time they double checked all the entries, and reordered the glasses. There’s no such thing as a rush according to them, and so I must wait another week. I was too busy, and too angry at the situation to deal with it, so I let them continue, although tomorrow I plan on having a word with a number of people about this. Especially the part about how my eyes would just “get used to it.”

On the brigh tside, I still have 20/10 vision with corrective lenses, and the doctor compared my prescription now to what it was 5 years ago, and my eyes have slightly improved from then. Apparently this is not unheard of to eye doctors, although it’s incredible news to me. I thought that my current glasses weren’t strong enough, but it’s that now they’re actually too strong, however so slightly.

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