What is wrong with LensCrafters?
Remember 1987 when LensCrafters upset the eyeglass applecart by promising quality lenses in about an hour? Boy, have times changed. Sure, LensCrafters still delivers your new glasses in about and hour but it has succeeded in that hour of making me feel as though I am purchasing a used car from a slimy car salesman. Actually, that might be giving the car salesman a black eye.
I knew it was time to get my eyes examined because my glasses were not working as well as they used to. I have an ophthalmologist as part of my roster of healthcare providers and I checked in to get my eyes dilated and my retinas checked. There was good and bad news. The bad news was that my prescription had indeed changed. The good news was that my right eye had actually improved in its distance vision. Who knew?
I don’t know if most guys are like me but I never seem to know what glasses look best on me. I have to ask the salesperson for their opinion. Then, in an effort to save face, I agree with them and buy their selection.
A year ago, the salesperson could not decide which pair of glasses looked best on me (I was down to two pairs), so I bought them both. One pair had progressive lenses built in because of my need for reading glasses only and the second pair was what they call a transition lens (that darkens when outside) but was for distance only. My reasoning was that I could wear pair two when outside and I rarely read while walking and hiking.
It stood to reason, therefore, to keep both pairs of frames (to save me the embarrassment of having no idea what looks flattering) and just get new lenses for both pairs. I decided that lenses completed in about an hour sounded good so I left my ophthalmologist’s office and his ubiquitous optician store, and headed over to LensCrafters.
LensCrafters opened my eyes wide
The price tag of new lenses blew me away. As did the sales techniques. My optician, a very pleasant guy named Steve, took my prescription and started entering the data on my record. I am not privy to all that he is entering as I sit opposite him at a desk. All I know is that it seemed to take forever to enter the data and even longer to tell me the price.
The fee for just the LensCrafter lenses was almost $600. I was shocked. “Don’t worry,” assured Steve. “We will give you a 25% discount.”
What about the coupon and advertising that says I save 50%, I asked. “That only applies if you buy new frames.” Steve said firmly.
“So”, I said, “It would cost me less to buy my lenses with a new set of frames than it does for me to buy just the lenses?
“Well, that depends on the frames you choose”, said Steve. “It might be cheaper.”
He did not know that there was no way I was going to go through the process of picking out new frames. How could he? I pretended to be confident and reassured.
“Steve,” I asked, “I think my health insurance pays for some of this too.”
“Tom, it looks like your insurance qualifies you for a 20% discount.”
“Great!”, I said. “That’s almost the full 50% off that you promise with the purchase of new frames.” Hey, I can add that 20%+25% is a 45% discount.
“Sorry,” said Steve, adding. “You can’t combine discounts, so the price I gave you at the beginning is still the best price.” He looked down and went back to entering more stuff on his computer screen.
“Let me get this straight,” I said. “The discount offered by my insurance can’t be added to your own discount even though it feels like it should be applicable?”
“Afraid so,” Steve said confidently.
Meanwhile, I heard an optician who had another customer behind me telling her about a 5% AAA discount. But he added the AAA discount that was not as good as the 25% he initially offered too. I guess no one pays the full price at LensCrafters because the full price is 25% higher than the REAL price.
What a shell game. One thing is for sure. I see much more clearly now. And all this in under an hour!