A classic case of blaming the customer

I think I have tried getting my eyeglasses through a chain store for the last time. This is the second time when such a store has proved disappointing. The first time was ten years ago, when I got my pair of glasses at Sears Optical, because that’s the store that my employer’s insurance could cover. I was deeply offended by the optometrist by that store, who recommended I consider purchasing tinted lenses for “cosmetic purposes” — that is, to hide the fact that I had a lazy eye from every one. I bought a pair of (untinted, mind you) glasses that day — something I would not have done had such an even happened after I developed a stronger sense of self — but swore I’d never go back there again. As a result, I ended up getting my next two pairs of glasses at a nice, individually owned optometrist’s office in Wellsboro, PA. It’s a shame their office is over three hours away, as I’d still be going there if it was more convenient.

However, when it came time to get new glasses this past fall, it was time to find a new optometrist. To make matters simple, I decided to give Pearl Vision a try. And unlike the jerk at Sears Optical, the optometrist was nice enough. Unfortunately, my experiences with my new glasses have led me to question their quality — and the quality of the work of Pearl’s opticians.

A few weeks ago, my right lens popped out at home on a Sunday night. I checked when Pearl opened the next morning, informed my supervisor I’d be late, and prepared to make a stop at the mall that morning. In the meantime, since I really needed my glasses, I managed to get the lens back in well enough to stay in place for the night. It was obvious to even my untrained eye that it was not properly seated, but it’d do in a temporary situation.

I was standing outside of Pearl vision the next morning when they opened. I walked in, handed them my glasses, explained what happened, and pointed out that while I had managed to get the lens in somewhat, it wasn’t seated properly. The woman at the counter took them and told me it would be a few minutes before their optician got in.

The optician came in, took about two minutes, and brought me my glasses. He told me that the screw was loose and he had tightened it. Apparently, that’s all he did, because I noticed later that afternoon that the lens was still not seated properly. Apparently, I have a better eye for these things than Pearl’s optician.

The next day, I was unsurprised when the lens popped out again. This time, because I was not in a position to take the glasses back to Pearl yet again, I purchased a jeweler’s screwdriver, attempted to reseat the lens yet again (and while it was still not perfect, it was a lot better). This time, I even managed to tighten the screw myself. (Of course, loosening it before trying to put the lens back in helped a lot, too.)

This morning, the lens popped out a third time. I wasn’t too upset about this. After all, I had reseated it myself and new it was still not a perfect job. This time, I was close to a Pearl Vision store (not the same one I purchased the glasses from or had the first repair job done, though), so I took them in. This time, I was smart enough to leave the lens completely out, forcing their optician to insert the lens herself.

What annoyed me, however, was when the optician brought my glasses back to me. She made the offhanded comment that I should really try to use two hands to take my glasses off (I normally do, but I might have only used one hand there at the office — hey, I had a lens in one hand!), as it would help keep that from happening again.

Now as a customer, let me explain why I find this comment so annoying. I’ve been wearing glasses since before I was ten years old. I’ve owned at least six different pairs, and I this is only the second pair of glasses I’ve owned that had a lens pop out. The other pair I had a problem with were from back when I was in elementary school (when I was really hard on glasses), and by the time the lens popped out, I’d been wearing them for over two years. This lens popped out before I had been wearing these glasses for four months. An examination of my eyeglasses history tells me that the way I take my glasses off shouldn’t matter to whether a lens pops out. And if it does matter with these particular glasses, it tells me that the quality of the glasses is lousy. Perhaps rather than blaming the customer, the optician should report the incident to Pearl corporate so they make sure the quality of their products and services improve. After all, I don’t think asking for glasses that aren’t prone to having the lens pop out is all that unreasonable. So if it happens again, I will seriously consider looking for a local optometrist and just get a pair of reliable glasses.

And do you know what really scares me about all this? If these glasses are so susceptible to how I take them off, how will they ever survive my two loving and rambuctious nephews when I next spend time with them?

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