We now return to our regular bitching

By Mir
January 8, 2008

How can you top bringing the Mythbusters home? Why, with a fruitless day of searching for a simple item, of course!

Once upon a time, I had vision insurance. Vision Service Plan, or VSP for short. VSP and I were good friends. Oh, hell… VSP and I may have been more than friends. We snuggled on the couch and I whispered sweet nothings into his ear when he caused my glasses to cost me just $20 or so out of pocket. Oh, VSP! How I miss you!

Needless to say, I no longer have VSP. Haven’t for years, in fact. But thanks to the magic of having a second income in the house, now, I went for new glasses in December for the first time in years. It was very exciting! Because I’d forgotten what it’s like to be able to see!

Well, that’s already turned into a carnival of ridiculousness. I ordered two pairs of glasses—paying extra for the fancy, drilled-lens frameless ones—and while my computer glasses are just dandy (wearing them now, in fact), here’s what happened when I went in to pick up my regular glasses:

Me: Hi, I’m here to pick up my glasses?
Random Optician: Okay. Here.
Me: Thanks. Oh. Hrm. They seem sort of crooked.
RO: They’re fine.
Me: Really? Don’t you think they’re lower over on this side?
RO: No. Well, maybe a little. Fine. Give them here.
Me: Okay.
RO: Here.
Me: Um, okay… ummm… they seem a little bent, here…? Shouldn’t this part be straight?
RO: No. That’s just how they are.
Me: Really?
RO: Really.
Me: I don’t remember them being this way when I tried them on before.
Me: I mean, I’m pretty sure they were straight.
Me: Okay, well, I’ll be leaving now. Please don’t eat my liver.

I took them home, and GUESS WHAT! Go on, guess! Not only were they crooked, but in the process of leveling them for me, the optician had not only bent them, but she’d completely removed the coating on part of the frame with her pliers. NICE!

You know, CALL ME CRAZY, but when I spend hundreds of dollars on a new pair of eyeglasses, I rather expect them to 1) be straight and 2) not be damaged.

I drove all the way back out to the eye place on Friday (I’d picked them up on a Thursday) and they were “closed for an emergency.” ARGH.

As it turns out, Chickadee needs a new pair of glasses now, too, so yesterday we went to the other optical shop of the same name (closer to home) to look for frames for her. We began browsing and a male optician approached us.

Him: Can I help you find something?
Me: Sure! We need a new pair of glasses for my daughter. And as you can see— *here I cup up her little chin in my hand and turn her face to him* —she has an extremely narrow little face, so we have a lot of trouble finding frames small enough for her. Could you help us find your smallest frames to look at?
Him: Certainly. I’ll be right back.

He left and came back with four adult-size frames that were too large for ME.

Apparently both optical shops have more in common than just the name. They also both employ MORONS.

After trying on every pair of glasses in the store (while Monkey whined that he was bored, and tired, and tired and bored), even Chickadee had to concede that we hadn’t found anything even close. She was disappointed. I told her not to worry, that we’d try another store, no problem.

But before we left, I stopped at the counter to ask a different optician if I could deal with my defective glasses through them, or if I needed to go back to the original shop. She assured me that they were jointly owned, so if there was a problem, I could have it handled there. In fact, she said, that very shop (the one we were standing in) does all of the ordering.

Me: Oh, great! Well, here’s the glasses I picked up last week. As you can see, they’re not only bent, the enamel has been scraped off here and here and here.
Her: Oh.
Me: And, uh, I don’t want to be paying for defective glasses.
Her: Oh.
Me: So can you order me some new ones? Just use these lenses in a different pair?
Her: Probably not.
Me: Why not??
Her: We don’t carry these.
Me: But I bought them from you. Well, from the other shop.
Her: Yes, well, we probably only got one pair. I doubt we can get another.

And then I died of frustration.

She’s supposed to call and let me know if they can replace them or not. If not, I get to pick new glasses all over again! Because it was SO MUCH FUN the first time!

After we left there, we went on a driving tour of every optical shop in town. Each one had just one or two pairs of glasses that even fit Chickadee, usually in a shape that was utterly wrong. The one pair of glasses which came even CLOSE was a Disney frame called Princess Sparkly Pretty Pants or somesuch and I object on general principle. Sheesh.

There was one pair of Vera Wang frames that came close (still a tad large), but I have a religious objection to my child having more expensive glasses than I do, particularly when one of us has been known to take a kickball to the face now and then (hint: NOT ME). And at the third store, the optician was kind enough to order a frame that he didn’t have in stock but which might work for her, so that we can take a look at it.

We went home empty-handed, both of us wearing our old glasses, with Chickadee whining that it’s not FAIR, she NEVER gets what she wants! I told her she could have my new, mangled glasses but that didn’t seem to appease her at all.

Damn ungrateful kids.


  1. Flea

    LOL!!! Poor kid. I’m about ready to go back to the cheapest plastic frames I can find for my boys. They mangle a pair in about 60 seconds flat. Have fun shopping. Any thought to looking on line?

  2. Kelly

    Have you tried finding a sunglass frame that she likes and seeing if lenses can be made to fit? Best glasses (and probably least expensive) I had as a child were sunglasses made into real glasses.

  3. Megan

    I would have killed for Princess Sparkly Pretty Pants glasses in fourth grade – killed. I got to choose from the very select short list put together by my mother: ie the three cheapest frames in the store. Which is why I have burnt all but one of the pictures of me from that year and damn if I’m not planning a secret raid on my parent’s photo albums for the remaining one (bonus! Included extremely clunky and horrible cheap shoes AND the all-from-Goodwill winner outfit). Chickadee, I feel for you and can only hope your Mum will flex her all-mighty bargaining powers and find you the Best! Glasses! Ever! – at least until the miracle of contact wearing age happens.

  4. Amy-Go

    Oh, the horror! Jack and I just went through this process, and while the staff at our eye place is thouroughly competent, picking out glasses is never fun. Which is too bad! Because I always think it IS going to be fun! And then there’s the crushing disappointment. Plus, I don’t think it can be a good thing that everyone in their busy office knows us by name. It speaks to just one too many broken pairs of glasses on young master Jack’s part, methinks. Gah.

  5. Leandra

    Hey, you can get VSP through Otto’s employer. I’ll send you the link! Now I have done my good deed for the day!

  6. Jenny

    I’m having flashbacks to the giant, pinkish-brown plastic frames I wore in the fourth grade. >

  7. Melissa

    Ugh. I went through this with Lenscrafters — where the customer service was so bad, I left without my glasses. Oh, they’re paid for, but after being ignored for 30 minutes and then made to wait another 30 minutes for “service” (cough) on more than one occasion, I finally left my pair there. Not sure if it’s worth my time to go back to pick them up.

    And if it helps Chickadee, I had the worst pair of glasses when I was her age, a sort of rusty brown. I think the lenses were even slightly tinted, and not in a good way. Plus I’m blind as a bat, so they were thick. And one of my friends recently looking at a photo album saw a picture of me wearing them and said “who’s that?” And I said “that’s me!” and he said “Oh, I thought it was the retarded kid next door.”

    Thank goodness for contacts.

  8. All Adither

    I got a cheap ass pair from the cheapest ass place I could find and they fit me so well. Maybe that’s the key. Spend as little as possible. They’re Cover Girl brand, by the way. Isn’t that swank?

  9. Stew

    Are you willing to try some of the el cheapo online merchants? Zenni Optical is one of the options.


    (sorry for lack of HTML–i never can get it right, so I’ve kind of stopped trying)

  10. Liza

    The glasses I wore in 3rd grade could have been called princess pink sparkley pretty pants but I think instead were called “gumdrop.” And I loved them, but that didn’t stop me from rolling over on them in bed or dropping them down the laundry shute with my dirty sheets. It’s a miracle they survived.

    WRT your glasses? I am thinking a firmly worded letter, maybe with pictures attached. And internet pics of what the glasses look like undamaged.

  11. Rachel May

    I think the only reason that I expect shopping for glasses for myself to be fun is because I’m all by myself and I’m actually going to *gasp* spend money on ME!

  12. Mama Bear

    The best investment we made when Mr 18 was young and managed to have his brand new glasses fall off his face while he was riding bike… ahem… the first day he wore them… was to buy him the kind of frames that can be twisted and bent and generally abused to no end. We buy them at a place with a one year warranty on all parts, replace them close to the end of one year, thus getting two years out of his glasses. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but at that point that was an eternity for glasses for him! We still buy the same kind, because now he manages to fall asleep in them…all night.

  13. MomCat

    I feel for you. Chickadee and my daughter probably have the world’s narrowest skulls. My daughter always wants expensive, bejeweled frames that make her look like a toddler playing with Grandma’s glasses. Bad fit and *so* not flattering. I hate going in there.

  14. Burgh Baby's Mom

    It must be something in the air, because I went glasses shopping, too. Fortunately, the service was something best described as mediocre (better than horrible, right?). But my dumb butt wore glasses to go there and then proceeded to be able to see absolutely nothing as I was trying on new glasses. I don’t even know what the ones I picked out look like. I just know they sort of fit and weren’t sparkly.

  15. Lynn

    After several BAD experiences with Lens Crafters and their inept staff that ignores me while I pick out outrageously expensive bits of plastic and wire, I started taking my daughter to Wal-Mart for glasses. Yes, Wal-Mart. The glasses seem just as good as the ones from the other places, and cost so much less that I don’t mind letting DD have a couple different pairs. It cost even less until she turned 18 and lost her kid discount. Sure, it takes a few days as opposed to an hour to get the glasses, but I’ve never had to go back to get a lens reground or a frame replaced like I’ve had to do at Lens Crafters.

  16. Brigitte

    They know we’ll be BLIND without them, so we are at their mercy.

    By the way, thanks for introducing me to THESNEEZE, my eyes are tearing from laughing now.

  17. The Mom Bomb

    My son Zach has three pairs of glasses, although we didn’t intend it that way. He just keeps losing them and we keep replacing them . . . and then a month later the lost pair shows up. By the time he leaves this house we’ll have enough pairs of glasses for all the children in a small Baltic state.

    Which is why cheaper is way better.

  18. elizabeth

    I am new to the whole buying of glasses game – having recently reached the age where stuff just stops working. I always thought it would be fun, but it is insane what you have to put up with just to be able to see. I’ve tried Lenscrafters and the other one at the mall. I think next time I’m going to Costco. (can’t stand wally-mart so refuse to go there)

  19. hollygee

    Snooty smugums talking here. I have never, ever had luck with national franchise eyewear and opticians. Now I step daintily (I’m 5’6″ and 260 lbs, so take that with a grain of salt) into high priced boutique opticians and have been ever so happy. The frames I have bought (2 in 8 years for two different uses: regular and computer) are winners. Those frames are produced in smaller lots, so the mold patterns don’t deteriorate over use time as do the gigantic job lots. Meaning that they are structurally more true.

  20. Zee

    Didn’t the lady who helped you pick out the glasses say she’d gotten a pair for herself? I swear I remember reading that. :) Anyway, good luck – hopefully you’ll find something you like… Glasses always seem to be a crapshoot. Ugh.

  21. Flea

    Amen Lynn – all our favorite glasses are from WalMart. WalMarts in Oklahoma don’t have eyeglass places, though. :(

    When we shopped non-WalMart for glasses, my kids always wanted contacts. Specifically the ones that make your eyes look like cartoon dead people (white with little “x”es), or bloodshot looking ones. Sometimes they begged for the all white ones. Secretly, I wanted a pair too.

  22. Vane

    A little over a year ago my daughter was prescribed glasses and we got her a pair of Hello Kitty eyeglasses, they where just the right size and shape and have turned out to be quite resistant as well. I tried to find you a link for you to look at, but had no luck :(

    Hope you find Chickie a pair that fits just right

  23. Chuck

    I’m glad I’ve never had to deal with the optician. Of course, I’ll probably have to get reading glasses someday. My mother recently went through a similar ordeal getting a new pair of glasses but was finally able to find a set of frames on clearance that she liked.

  24. erin

    my daddy is an optometrist in northeast georgia. from where i’m assuming you live, it would be about a 40 minute drive. if all else fails, i would be happy to give you a reference to his office (i can thoroughly vouch for all of his staff, having been blind since 3rd grade). i wore many different kinds of glasses, including one that could only be described as tutti frutti (pink with all different colored speckles). Anyways, email me if you end up needing more help.

  25. Bronie

    That’s crazy! But, I’m sorry, your retelling of the whole event is hysterical. Our spec story can be found here. Why are these things so expensive anyway?

  26. kate setzer kamphausen

    http://zennioptical.com – Glasses start at $8 a pair (more for higher power lenses like mine) – y’all might find something cute there. Hope so!

  27. julie

    Unrelated: but I saw this elsewhere today and immediately thought of you.


    Related: my sister-in-law is an optical um, technician? Something. She fits glasses. Forget plumber and mechanic, an eye-glass fitter married into the family is like gold. She can’t walk through a holiday party without fixing glasses on everyone’s faces. I saw her at 3 separate Christmas parties this past month and at all three someone requested her to adjust their frames, which she did gladly. Now if only one of my siblings would marry a dermotologist!

  28. kelly

    Have you tried Sam’s? I do not know if ther is one near you but my daughter has the same problem and they had what we needed.

    Good Luck!

  29. Wendy

    It seems that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. How dare you walk in there, pay for a product and expect adequate costumer service. Talk about ungrateful.

    I hope people realize I am being scarcastic.

  30. Tina

    Oh! Julie beat me to it – I saw the bacon video and thought of you, Mir!

    I got my glasses at 39dollarglasses.com. I wear contacts and I only needed something to wear on the walk from the bathroom to my bedroom, so I figured “what the heck”. They’re actually really decent – they fit well, look nice. I’ve had them for about a year-and-a-half. AND, since I forgot to buy contacts before my prescription expired, I’ve been wearing them everyday for the past two months and they’re holding up really well. Anyways, they have kids frames too, so you might want to check them out.

  31. Heidi

    I’m emailing you a teensy photo of the glasses I got stuck with in the 4th grade so that Chickadee can thank–I said THANK–her lucky stars that her mother is sensitive to her optical needs. (Not that mine wasn’t, but she wasn’t available to join me.) The evil assistant who apparently hated kids handed them to me and it never occurred to me I could ask for something different.

  32. Kathy

    I feel your pain, my 10 year old got glasses last year and we had a TERRIBLE time finding the right pair for her- we ended up at a small optomitrist office, but then again, this was when we had VSP also (which went away when my husbands job went away in August! Not sure where you are in the ATl, but the optomitrist we go to is in the Hamilton Mill area and she was great with my girl. Now if my daughter would stop BREAKING her glasses, then we wouldn’t have a problem!

    good luck!!!

  33. Kay T

    What is it about opticians? Everyone I know has this same conversation. “This is crooked” – “no” or “Everything is out of focus unless I push up on this side and turn my head toward my shoulder” — “yes, that is normal.”

  34. Marsha

    LMAO…sorry, that is all I got for ya!

  35. Little Bird

    Ok, I’ll go back and read the comments after I post this, but I gotta get this out.
    I wear glasses. I am sick of paying an arm a leg and possibly a firstborn for frames. I started buying sunglasses frames and taking them in to get my ‘script in them. Then I found eyebobs.com I love these guys. I’m pretty sure you can send your ‘scrip to them. Techincally they are reading glasses. To actually try them on, find a boutique type optical shop. Or maybe the gift shop of the nearest best art museum. They’re only about $60 for the frames.
    From experience, I can tell you that ALL the chain glasses place suck. Particularly lenscrafters. I hate them. They have made my life so difficult.
    Ok, now I’ll go back and read the other comments.

  36. Kendra

    Great. Now I really want to go get new glasses. You know, the ones that haven’t been replaced in 10 years?

  37. LuAnn

    Ah yes, I remember being able to see. Now I’m scared to go get new glasses! *lol*

  38. Rachel

    This might be regional- but the walmart vision centers around here have great selections of kids frames. And I promise- they’re not all crap, and they’re not super expensive. It would definitely be worth looking at.

  39. carson

    My daughter just got glasses (for Christmas! Yay!) from Sams. For everything, including the exam, it was right around $200. Since Chickadee has a couple of years on her, I’d check there for frames as well. (Said daughter had aced every vision screen so far, so we had not opted into the child vision coverage. Silly us.)

  40. Ladybug Crossing

    What happened to ordering glasses in the right size? That’s what my optical guy does… You find something you like, they measure, they order… they fit… yada, yada, yada…

  41. amy

    I hate glasses.

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