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Optical Welfare: The facts about Buying and Maintaining Glasses

The Facts About Buying and Maintaining Glasses


You, as a consumer, have every right to buy glasses wherever you so choose. Here are some facts to keep in mind as you make your purchasing decisions:


  • Brick and mortar optical stores, whether they are independent or part of an eye doctor’s office, cost money to set up and operate. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, actually. There’s the cost of the building and fixtures, the frames, the basic overhead (heat, lights, mortgage or rent, insurance, etc.), the highly trained staff, the equipment and supplies…well, you get it. It’s expensive to open and operate an optical shop. And it has to be open during business hours whether you buy your glasses there or not.
  • Internet stores have almost no overhead costs, so they can sell you frames and lenses at a lower price and still make a very large profit. They also don’t have to service and maintain your glasses once you buy them. And if something is wrong with your glasses – measurements, frame quality or fit, lens quality, prescription, etc. – they aren’t available to fix things.
  • If you buy your glasses at one place and depend on another place to service and maintain them, that’s depending on the “optical welfare” program. Someone is providing you with services you have not paid for. Many (if not most) optical stores provide adjustments and repairs out of courtesy, not charging much (or anything) for allowing consumers to use “optical welfare.” This costs many thousands of dollars and depends on those who actually buy their glasses there to fund those who don’t. Hence, “optical welfare.” Most consumers would not buy automobile tires from Sears and then expect Goodyear to service them free. Yet that is what many expect optical retailers to do. Courtesy adjustments and repairs are an old-fashioned concept for travelers or those who have an emergency, not for those who just want to save dollars and use “optical welfare.”
  • As internet sales and discount optical sales increase and consumers purchase glasses from them, they are going to have to pay the price for keeping the full-time brick and mortar establishments up and running. That means paying a fair amount for the services received. If your glasses hurt behind your ears, or are slipping down your nose, or you sat on your only pair of glasses and can’t see without them, and you bought your glasses from some out-of-area retailer, you will have to pay a local business to help you. And considering the hundreds of thousands of dollars the local business has invested in having an available optical store you can use, you may have to pay more than you think to avoid using “optical welfare.”
  • If you truly value having a professional optical retailer that’s devoted to providing you with the highest quality products and services 6 days a week, buy your glasses from that retailer. Don’t depend on “optical welfare” for your eyes.