Eyeglasses Stores are for Suckers (reader's tip)
Tired of paying outrageous prices for your glasses? Our reader Kris Wolff gave us a great tip on Glassy Eyes, a blog about one man's quest to find reasonably priced designer eyewear.
Glassy Eyes is a good place to find deals for glasses and share stories with fellow ocular bargain hunters. Ira (the blog's author) also writes detailed reviews of his favorite online vendors.
Do these deal sites actually work? Are you going to go blind wearing this stuff? Our reader Kris was able to find $26 glasses that could've easily cost her $400:
I tried one of the companies [Glassy Eyes] recommended, goggles4u.com. I got my glasses with all the usual coatings (UV protection, scratch-resistant, etc.) at no charge, there was no charge for regular shipping, and I got a free hard case and cleaning cloth. My glasses came in about 10 days.
How much? $25.99.
They look very similar to a pair of DKNY glasses that a big chain store was going to charge me $400 for. I am really happy with my glasses and just wanted to share this with other people — I had no idea websites like this existed
After saving that much money, Kris couldn't resist buying a few more pairs:
I ordered a second pair of glasses from another site that Glassy Eyes recommended — Zenni Optical. They have some cheaper glasses than Goggles4u starting at $8.95, but as you can imagine those are not so stylish.
Of the $19 plastic selection, I found two or three pairs that I liked, and ordered one, which was pictured in the tortoise shell color only, but said that it was also available in "light blue." The anti-reflective coating was an additional $4.95 and shipping was another $4.95 for a total of $28.90.
They came in last night, about 10 days after I ordered them, and also came with a hard case and cleaning cloth. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed by the "light blue" which could better be described as "crystal blue" — clear, with only a slight tinge of blue. The nice thing about Goggles4u is that they show every pair of glasses in every color available, so you have a better sense of what the color is going to be. It's like when catalogues use colors like "loden," "moss," or "forest" and you don't know if they are all about the same color or wildly different.
At these prices I'm going to go buy another pair from Goggles4u (who offer a 15% discount on repeat orders). And Glassy Eyes often has discounts posted for the various online eyeglass stores, so people should check there before placing their orders.
Thanks for the great tips Kris!
I know many people are wary of buying cheap glasses. "You only get one pair of eyes," my mom used to tell me (usually when I'm entering my 18th hour of Starcraft nerdery). Similarly concerned for our welfare, an optician actually contacted Ira about the dangers of buying cheap glasses. Here's Ira's response:
OPTICIAN: You may be able to find a silhouette frame a little cheaper online but you are also forfeiting correct measurements and the service provided (future repairs and adjustments, complimentary ultrasonic cleanings, etc).
IRA: I wonder how many people you sell on ultrasonic cleanings. In theory it sounds like a good idea, but I think $320 is a bit much for an extended service plan.
OPTICIAN: Stores also have more overhead (salaries for qualified and experienced opticians, ulitity bills, etc) so you are paying for more than just the frame…you are paying for the overall service.
IRA: I can appreciate that. That's the reason I've gone to the same opthalmologist for the past 25 years. I want a qualified person checking my eyes — after that it's numbers on a card and money-grubbing.
OPTICIAN: Also, let’s not forget that by patronizing local stores, you are helping the local economy. I would gladly pay just a little extra to support my community.
IRA: Don't start with the shop locally argument. I shop locally as often as I can. I'm a huge fan of the disappearing mom and pop shops of all kinds and will patronize them over a big-box store whenever possible. I support my community with volunteering AND my dollars. I'm not going to be screwed for it however.
Way to stick it to the man, Ira!
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