Archive for November 8, 2016

LensCrafters, or, How Not To Make Glasses

[ music | Nine Inch Nails – I Do Not Want This ]

I went to LensCrafters on Friday, November 4. The eye exam went fine. The production of glasses went less well. I do not claim this goes for all LensCrafters locations, but I’m sure as hell done with this one. But first a little backstory.

I have 20/10 visual acuity. “Then why do you wear glasses?” Because your visual acuity is not necessarily the same as your uncorrected vision. Your visual acuity is the measure of your ability to discern objects according to a measurement standard. You uncorrected vision is measured by the same standard, but once you get glasses that correct your vision, you achieve your optimal visual acuity. Or at least you’re supposed to.

When my glasses are made properly, my 20/10 vision is attained quite nicely. The up side is I can read road signs from half a mile, and my phone with small text for privacy. The down side is that if the glasses aren’t made properly, I notice things most folks might not, and it drives me nuts. It can be so bothersome that I’m unable to wear the glasses at all. Three years ago I went to another spectacle vendor who were so sloppy that the eyeglasses they made were off by 14% from the designated prescription. This mistake happened three times in a row, the original pair and two remakes. I demanded a refund, and went to Walmart Optical who nailed it on the first try.

This year I have vision coverage with my insurance. So, given the discount, I decided to go to LensCrafters and get new glasses quickly. They don’t have their own optometrists, they partner with local doctors, leasing out part of the space so that it’s a one-stop-shop. Going in I explained to the optometrist the degree of my visual acuity and the need to go a little further with the exam. At a certain point the optometrist declared us finished, having achieved 20/20 vision. I said, “yes, but as I said I normally get back to 20/10 vision.” The doctor claimed not to know what I was talking about. “Those numbers don’t mean anything, you can see here your prescription is…” At this point I should have seen the writing on the wall. I literally explained what the whole 20/20 thing meant to an optometrist. After doing so, she stopped playing an idiot and said, “Well, I don’t normally test beyond 20/20.” I replied, “So I guess those numbers make sense after all.” So she hit a button on the testing machine, and we continued the test right back to 20/10 where I normally am. She was flabbergasted that I was right, that I actually had the visual acuity that I claimed! Amazing! A non optometrist knowing their own visual potential! It’s almost like I’ve been wearing glasses for 30 years!

Now I get to LensCrafters proper. I picked frames (I really liked them), sat down with a very nice optician, and with her help we went through the lens options, placed the order, and paid. I made sure again to mention the specificity that I need in the manufacture of my glasses. A little over an hour went by, and I was notified the glasses were ready. I went back, and tried on the glasses. Something was wrong. I looked around and except for the center, weird distortions and blurriness were all I saw. Even in the center something was wrong. The right eye was fine, but the left eye was blurry in the center. Then I looked to the left a bit with the left eye, and noticed things were perfectly clear. So if I looked straight ahead the right eye was clear, and if I looked to the left then the left eye was clear. Were I walleyed I’d be in fine shape, but alas I am not. My eyes both point in the same direction at the same time. Except through these glasses.

Before remaking them, I came back the next day to have the optometrist double check the prescription. It was a different doctor, but her exam agreed with the first. And the prescription itself was actually the same as my old ones in the left eye, and only very slightly different in the right eye, which is interesting because it’s the left eye that is giving us problems at this point in the story. So at this point I try to talk with the LensCrafters folks about the lens material; I had picked a high index material and I thought maybe that was causing some of the distortions I had noticed. I asked to go over again the lens options. I was told, “I don’t know what other lenses we have.” I said, “Well, let’s find out, we went over it when I was purchasing them yesterday.” Again I was rebuked, “Well, [the lens technician] has been doing this a long time, and he said just send it back for a remake.” Again I said, “Yes, that’s good, but I’d like to try to avoid a repeat of this issue.” “Well, he’s the expert so we’ll just send them back as he said.” It was Saturday, and they were busy, so I said that they could do it Monday when they’re less busy.

I went back today, Monday the 7th, and they were finishing them up at that very moment so I came back half an hour later. They were done. I tried them on, the only difference was the lack of a blurry stripe in the center of my left eye. The distortions and blurriness everywhere else hadn’t changed, not one iota. I explained this, and again said we need to go over the lens options. I again was told she didn’t know what they were. How can someone who rattles these off 8 times a day every day for years not have these options memorized? So again I said, “we went over this when I bought them, why can’t I just see a list of the options so we don’t keep repeating the same mistake? Why can I just get that question answered?” She looked at me and said, “I don’t know why you can’t just get that off the website.” I replied and said, “I didn’t know you HAD it on the website. I’ve asked for this half a dozen times and only now you tell me that? Besides, you showed me the list three days ago, why can’t I see it again now?” She said, “Well, I don’t even know if he’s going to want to remake them again,” and began to get up to go talk to the lens technician.

I asked her to stop, “Please, let’s get the question of the lenses sorted before we ask him because there’s no point in even asking if we don’t know what we’re asking for.” She replied, “well, I’m not sure there’s a point if he won’t remake them.” I said, “there isn’t a point if I can’t get a simple question answered.” She replied, “Maybe you should just get a refund.” I agreed, “if I can’t find out what my options are, then yes, I should.”

She processes the refund, but only for the regular glasses. I had ordered sunglasses as well, paid for out of my own pocked, eithout any insurance discount. I said, “This is only for the one pair.” She said, “yes, did you want to refund the other pair?” I said, “Since I can’t get an answer to a simple question to help ensure those don’t come out the same way as the first pair, then yes. I don’t want to keep going through this.” She still refuses to tell me my lens options again, and processes the refund.

I purchased two pairs of glasses, put the protection plan on both (where I get lenses remade should there be an accident for only $25 per incident, and she even recommended doing that before the year was up to ensure the lenses were in perfect shape), and because I had a problem, rather than discussing the problem with me, I was told to go away and take my money back.

So I’ve wasted six hours across four days only to be treated as though I hadn’t just spent a good deal of money on a product, and treated poorly because I dared try to ensure the product was functional for the purpose.

I work hard every day to do my job to the best of my ability. If someone asks me a question (much less eight times) I try to find an answer. Am I really so off base to demand the same thing when I drop hundreds of dollars on glasses?

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