Thursday, June 25, 2009

SpecsWar `09 Part I

I've worn glasses for my vision since around the 9th grade. In the time I've had to wear them, I can count on one finger the number of times I've both ordered glasses and received them within a reasonable period of time. Now, I realize I am not alone in this, as there is a standard waiting period of at least a week for most orders. In my case, however, it's usually two weeks, though sometimes longer. There are also often accompanying complications with new glasses, such as the fact that my ears are slightly further back on my head than the average person, necessitating the longest temples money can buy. Most decent optical technicians figure this out on their own and order accordingly, but due to the ones who are not so observant, I make it a point to tell them in advance. On one occasion my warnings went unheeded resulting in glasses arriving equipped with temples that would scarcely fit over the ears of an eight-year-old. And on that point, I am not exaggerating.

"Well, do you want to go ahead and wear them until the new temples arrive?" they asked. I then attempted to do so just to demonstrate to them how absurd it was to even suggest it. They had to send them back and cost me another week's worth of waiting.

So it takes me a long time to get my glasses. Well, except for that one time...

It was around ten years ago when I lost my glasses in the ocean while vacationing with my then girlfriend (now wife) at Holden Beach. At the time my glasses were wire frame and had temples that ended in old-fashioned wire cables, the kind that hook around the ear and prevent them from slipping off. I was operating, falsely, under the impression that the cables also made them wave-proof. Soon enough, they were ripped from my noggin by a rogue wave and were never seen by me again. It was pretty humiliating, what with my newly met future brother and sister-in-law in attendance (the parents of the very niece we're enjoying a visit from this week), but I chalked it up to a lesson learned. I resolved forever more never to set foot in the ocean wearing specs unless they were secured to my head with one of those rubber floaty things designed to prevent them from sinking away should they become dislodged.

Being a Friday, the local optometrist in Supply was still open, but only until 3p, so I had my then girlfriend (now wife) drive me over for an emergency consultation and--I hoped--some specs. Considering my practically still-dripping swim trunks, it was pretty obvious why I was there when I walked through the door, squinting. The staff looked up at me and said the polite equivalent of, "Lost yer glasses in the drink, eh?"

Even though it had been something on the order of three years since my last eye exam, the doc at Beach Opti agreed to go ahead and sell me some glasses based on my prescription from the last exam, which they had to phone to get. Better still, he said if I was able to find some frames in the store they could have me ready to go in a couple of hours provided I promised to go have my eyes examined immediately upon my return home. I found frames and true to his word the doc handed me a new pair of glasses in record time. (My promise to have my eyes examined took another couple of years to get around to, but for the record my eyes had not changed one whit in the interim, which means not one whit from five years earlier.)

Jump ahead to 2005 or so. I finally decide it's time to get new frames and ditch the beach-emergency, gun-metal-colored frames for some sleek rimless ones. I then got my eyes examined and headed to the Wal-Mart optical center to pick out some frames. I expected a two week wait, but they informed me it would actually take a month because they had to be sent away to a lab for assembly. I didn't want to wait a month, but I really liked the frames so I agreed. Finally, a month and a day later, they arrived and I rushed down to pick them up only to find that some genius at the lab royally effed up the mounting of the nose bar to the point where it was not mounted flat across between the lenses. The staff at the Wal-Mart optical center argued with me that this was not actually the case and that such rimless glasses often appear crooked to the naked eye. They actually said that. Then I laid the glasses flat across the surface of their counter and pointed out to them how no parallel lines were formed between the counter and the nose bar. They had no ground to stand on after that, other than to say it was the lab's fault and not theirs. They offered to send them in to be redone, but I'd have to wait another month. I opted for a refund, instead.

I eventually found rimless frames at a more reputable optical center and stuck with those until two months back when my most recent pair exploded.


1 comment:

heavenlyevil said...

I actually got so sick of all the running around shopping for glasses that I caved and bought a pair online.

I was hesitant that I'd end up with something that wouldn't fit right or would be cheaply made, but that wasn't the case at all. Plus they had next-day shipping for the same price as regular shipping. I highly suggest this option.

I'm in Canada, but I think the US site was NAYY, just pleased that I took a chance on this option and it worked out so well.