Monday, June 7, 2010

FUCK YOU, LensCrafters (the sequel)


About half of the following post is from one of my other blogs, dated 1/15/09. It's worth clicking to see the comments to the original posting, from LensCrafters customers and employees.  My recent experience is down at the bottom.

I recently misplaced -- or actually lost -- the eyeglasses that I use when working at my computer.

After a couple of frustrating days searching my house, office and cars, and suffering with an old inadequate pair of glasses, I declared them officially gone.

I didn't need a complete pair of glasses -- just lenses that would fit into any of several no-longer-used eyeglass frames.

Not wanting to prolong the agony, I went to my local LensCrafters. I've bought from them before and was pleased with the product selection, quality and fast service -- but my wife said I paid too much.

The company advertises that they can make glasses "in about an hour" and has perpetual sales like the mattress stores. Their regular price seems to be their 25%-off price and they have lots of two-fers.

LensCrafters is part of a huge vertically integrated Italian company, Luxottica -- the biggest eyewear company in the world, with many stores and many brands, including Ray-Ban.

The company makes glasses sold with lots of "designer" labels such as DKNY, Polo and Versace. They operate the eyeglass departments in Sears, K-Mart and Target, plus their own LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut stores. With over 6,000 retail outlets and dozens of brands, it's hard to not buy from Luxottica.

There's probably no company that can make frames and lenses as inexpensively as LensCrafters. The corporate websits brags that Luxottica has "lowest production costs and the highest margins."

I expected to pay a bit extra for quick service and an expensive mall location -- but I had no idea I'd get fucked as badly as I did.

Even with my 15% AAA discount, a pair of basic single-vision lenses, with no special coating, would have cost a whopping $192.

If I was willing to buy a complete pair of glasses to take advantage of the alleged 25% discount, and settle for an ugly frame from the closeout section, the total would have been $215.

I left and ordered a perfect pair of complete glasses at Costco for $59. I had to wait about 10 days for them, but I'd rather be part blind than a complete idiot.

According to a study by MIT, a typical pair of lenses costs two bucks to make. The raw material in the frame is worth pennies. At least one online source will sell me a complete pair of glasses for under ten bucks.

I certainly don't mind if Luxottica makes a profit. But if they get greedy, I walk away.

And if the greedy bastards are stupid enough to brag about their high profit margin, I'll tell everyone to stay away.
 
THE SEQUEL:
 
A couple of weeks ago I had a cataract removed from my left eye and an artificial lens implanted. If you live long enough, various body parts need to be replaced.
 
As a result of the surgery, my left eye has excellent vision. The optician who works in the ophthalmologist's office removed the prescription lens from the left side of my "distance" glasses and installed a non-prescription "plano" lens, which worked fine.
 
Thursday, confident that my "new eye" had stabilized, I wanted to get a plano left lens for my Ray-Ban sunglasses, which were purchased at LensCrafters about three years ago.
 
Fearful of LensCrafters prices, I went to Costco. Alas, their lab does not work on Ray-Ban frames. Costco did, however, order me two new lenses for my "computer" glasses for $29, installed.
 
Desperate, I went to LensCrafters. I was surprised to learn that I would need a prescription to get a non-prescription lens. In the LensCrafters world, I suppose that cops arrest people for not breaking the law.
 
They also told me that it would be necessary to get two new lenses, because the colors of the old and new lenses would not match.
 
Friday I went back, with my prescription.
 
The thieving motherfuckers wanted $255 for a pair of lenses, after my 15% AAA discount.
 
I expressed shock, and was told that for just $231, I could have the pair of lenses AND a new Ray-Ban frame.
 
I resisted the urge to punch and puke, and walked out.
 
A local optician can replace the lenses for just $90.
 
Or I can order a Ray-Ban frame WITH two lenses, online, for $99. But I hate to buy a frame when I don't need one, and even if I spend just $99,  the hated Luxottica will still get a piece of the action.
 
I feel trapped and defeated. I don't know what to do. Maybe I'll just shut my eyes and get a white cane.
 
...

30 comments:

  1. Eyeglasses are even a worse ripoff than hearing aids.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, take the easy route. A PLANO lens is just that-- a sunglass lens with no prescription. Just order a pair of replacement lenses for the frame from Rayban. I;ve done it before after I broke one. They should be about 20 bucks. And just have your local optician put the plano lens in one side, and wear the RX in the other.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I got my glasses at CostCo a few years ago, but found my reading glasses from the dollar store work best for me on the computer. I have to replace them often because I have dogs that eat them. Last time I found the pieces I went to vacuum them up and broke the vacuum. So, lets see, that week new glasses and a new vacuum. Of course, without the glasses I can't see how dirty the floor is. Perhaps I should have quit while I was ahead.

    Love this piece!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Michael,

    I buy my glasses, frames and lenses, at Walmart. I pay $38. Granted, I don't buy glasses with the idea that they will make me a more attractive human being or feel like a million dollars.

    I'm not the world's best judge of human nature, but I've come to the conclusion that most people LIKE paying hundreds of dollars for glasses. People are always telling me about their $300 or $400 glasses, as if it makes them special. I don't know why.

    Morris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lenses & frames are like medicines, foods, etc; there exist many levels of quality. Quality regarding vision is vital regarding safety, vision and eye health. Some people like steak, some like ground sirloin or ground round. From walmart, your lenses equate to dog food. Horse-meat dog food. That is fact. walmart does not have available 1.74 ultra hi index materials, does not have available Crizal Avance anti-glare, does not have any of the new aspheric Free-Form premium progressives. Shop walmart for dog food, not when health a concern.

      Delete
  5. Morris:

    I don't know how you manage to get out of Walmart paying only $38. I went to one the other day, and true enough, they had ugly frames for $19.95. BUT... lenses are $60 EACH; that's $120 per pair... without anti-glare coating which is $40 additional.

    Sincerely,

    Confused and Disgusted

    ReplyDelete
  6. You people need to wine a little more and someone, like the government, will help you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, just ask the "government" for eyeglasses, see what you get

      Delete
    2. The government does not compete with Lenscrafters, jackass.

      Delete
  7. Hello,

    You actually do need a prescription for a Plano Diopter Sphere lens if it is to be replaced and it is not already in your frame. It sounds weird, but what if they gave you a Plano lens and you actually did need a corrective lens in that eye. The opticians or eye doctor would be held liable if something happened to you with the PL lens and did not properly correct you vision.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, I can't even begin to list the misperceptions that you obviously have when it comes to purchasing eyeglasses.

    Yes, most lenses cost only few dollars to produce....except the first one which cost about 15 million dollars in terms of research, testing, creating the equipment to fabricate them for eyewear, etc.

    Luxottica simply states that they have all the available resources to produce glasses at less cost to the company. The additional profit then goes into further research, state of the art fabrication equipment, premium services like an unconditional 90 day quarantee, and OneSight, a nonprofit branch of Luxottica dedicated to making glasses for poverty stricken areas around the world. In some cases it was the first time they ever saw a pair of glasses.

    Were you under the impression that all lens are the same industrial standards and optical clarity? Unlike every other product created in this country, you don't beleive there is such a thing as manufacturers who produce premium lens at a standard higher than regulatory requirements?

    You are basically bragging about driving into a Mercedes dealership, disliking the price, and purchasing a Kia instead. I would be more than happy to describe the differences between the ways that quality frames are engineered, their plastics cured, the differences in plating and metals, even teflon coated screws that won't back out. I could easily fill 100 pages detailing the differences.

    There is no such thing as a non-prescription lens produced by an optical. Eyeglasses are considered medical devices, optical shops are liable for their safety. Therefore even a zero power lens must have the correct thickness, clarity, and ophthalmic grade design required by law. it's particularly important that you have that lesn made in polycarbonate, impact resistant so it doesn't break into you eye, especially during it's healing process after taking out the crystaline lens and replacing it with an implant. The glass lens suggestion should obviosly be ignored.

    No, it isn't the police that would come knocking, it is the American Food and Drug Administration. Hint: There is a reason it's called a prescription and written by a doctor. Optical companies can be heavily fined for not adhering to the the safety regulations imposed by the FDA.

    You are probably that same type of person who willingly spends thousands of dollars on high definition television to watch your favorite shows while not even considering the benefits of premium lens designs for experiencing actual life in high definition. In fact, you might as well not waste your money, you might beleive you see TV in Hi Def.........you don't.

    The quality of a lens depends on the percentage of light transmitted through it, a percentage is always reflected and a percentage is always absorbed. The frequency of light waves traveling into your eyes represent the information your eyes process and send to the brain to form an image. Your Costco lens denies you about 15% of that information.

    However, money is far more important.

    FYI, you can get a cheaper home from a crate factory, a cheaper meal from a gumball machine, and a cheaper wardrobe from a box of Hefty lawn bags.

    Luxottica won't miss you, the vast majority of people in this country place a higher value on their qualitiy of vision. In addition, they know they can look good while they do it. That's why there is such a place as Lenscrafters and not just Billy Bob's Eyeglass barn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it. Love it. Love it. Reprinting and bringing in to my store. LensCrafters. Thanks for the info.

      Delete
    2. Please enlighten me to the awesome research you have showing how much better your Monster Cable HDMI...err I mean Lens Crafter lenses are.

      Some people demand quality, others demand quality without taking it up the wazzoo. I have had lenscrafter glasses before, and they were crap, and litereally began delaminating and cracking near the frame/lens area. And these were a $300 pair of lenses with all the super mysterio refacto vision deluxe. Went back to a ($99 non LC) 2 year old pair that I throw around and are still fine to this day.

      So dont talk to me about how wonderful LC quality is.

      Also you claim that Costco lens loses 15% of the light transmission, which is a really neat number, except you fail to provide any data, and fail to provide the % your LC lenses lose. Plus, exactly how is a 15% transmission loss so terrible, your eyes have amazing dynamic range, and will adjust for such a negligible lower light input....which is why you can see through 85% tint lenses.

      Delete
    3. You lenses most likely crack because of how you take care of them. Glasses and lenses are not indestructable and can not be cleaned with any cleaner. You can only use eyeglass cleaners. And if you have anti-reflective coating you must use a cleaner appropriate for that. If you use windex, vinegar, or even soap and water you can damage your lenses. Also, heat and extreme cold will damage them. By you saying you throw around your glasses leads me to believe that the problem is not in the LensCrafters lenses, but in your treatment of your eyewear.

      Delete
  9. Wow, I can't even begin to list the misperceptions that you obviously have when it comes to purchasing eyeglasses.

    Yes, most lenses cost only few dollars to produce....except the first one which cost about 15 million dollars in terms of research, testing, creating the equipment to fabricate them for eyewear, etc.

    Luxottica simply states that they have all the available resources to produce glasses at less cost to the company. The additional profit then goes into further research, state of the art fabrication equipment, premium services like an unconditional 90 day quarantee, and OneSight, a nonprofit branch of Luxottica dedicated to making glasses for poverty stricken areas around the world. In some cases it was the first time they ever saw a pair of glasses.

    Were you under the impression that all lens are the same industrial standards and optical clarity? Unlike every other product created in this country, you don't beleive there is such a thing as manufacturers who produce premium lens at a standard higher than regulatory requirements?

    You are basically bragging about driving into a Mercedes dealership, disliking the price, and purchasing a Kia instead. I would be more than happy to describe the differences between the ways that quality frames are engineered, their plastics cured, the differences in plating and metals, even teflon coated screws that won't back out. I could easily fill 100 pages detailing the differences.

    There is no such thing as a non-prescription lens produced by an optical. Eyeglasses are considered medical devices, optical shops are liable for their safety. Therefore even a zero power lens must have the correct thickness, clarity, and ophthalmic grade design required by law. it's particularly important that you have that lesn made in polycarbonate, impact resistant so it doesn't break into you eye, especially during it's healing process after taking out the crystaline lens and replacing it with an implant. The glass lens suggestion should obviosly be ignored.

    No, it isn't the police that would come knocking, it is the American Food and Drug Administration. Hint: There is a reason it's called a prescription and written by a doctor. Optical companies can be heavily fined for not adhering to the the safety regulations imposed by the FDA.

    You are probably that same type of person who willingly spends thousands of dollars on high definition television to watch your favorite shows while not even considering the benefits of premium lens designs for experiencing actual life in high definition. In fact, you might as well not waste your money, you might beleive you see TV in Hi Def.........you don't.

    The quality of a lens depends on the percentage of light transmitted through it, a percentage is always reflected and a percentage is always absorbed. The frequency of light waves traveling into your eyes represent the information your eyes process and send to the brain to form an image. Your Costco lens denies you about 15% of that information.

    However, money is far more important.

    FYI, you can get a cheaper home from a crate factory, a cheaper meal from a gumball machine, and a cheaper wardrobe from a box of Hefty lawn bags.

    Luxottica won't miss you, the vast majority of people in this country place a higher value on their qualitiy of vision. In addition, they know they can look good while they do it. That's why there is such a place as Lenscrafters and not just Billy Bob's Eyeglass barn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You must work for Luxottica - right(?) I can't even begin to discern fact from the biased company pitch you're dishing out. Save your sales pitch for the suckers who let you fuck them over!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. I'm Really happy ignorant NASY people like you don't come to LC. The Fact is no one wants your business when you treat them like shit. So when you say things like your never coming back or storm out of my store or make your self look as uneducated as you sound. It makes opticians like myself HAPPY!!! That we don't have to deal with your ignorance anymore. Please stay at Costco that's where cheap assholeish people like your self belong.

      Delete
  10. Look!!! its all relative. Some people will pay $250 for a Coach bag because they demand & expect quality AND appreciate the Brand. Others would prefer to pay the sale price for the no.name brand. at minimal cost & dont care about brand names.
    There is a difference in both these types of clientel.
    I am a luxottica (Lenscrafters) employee & I appreciate the quality of what we strive for, both in the product & in customer service. I am also a mom with 3 kids & appreciate the value for my $$$$. The bottom line is u can certainly get a pair of glasses for $40 or for $240 but there is a quality difference both in the service and in the quality. It just depends on your perspective!!
    We all know that we can get a pair of shoes for $10 or @250. The difference is in the quality. Wouls you go to "payless Shoes" looking for "Jimmy Choos" Soooooo Get real & QUIT YOUR MOANING!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Not intrested in being piched on eyeglasses, most of thier pitch is pure B.S. Value precieved is not necessarly recieved, you dont always get what you pay for that is a B.S. statement . A fool and his money are soon parted, and there is a fool borne evey minute thats how many bussiness stay in business in todays world .

    ReplyDelete
  12. i don't wear glasses because i don't need them, but sometimes, when i see people with glasses, i feel jealous because they can look so good!!
    Frames For Glasses

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How sweet of you to say/share that--you are a nice person, Alex Mart!

      Delete
  13. Point well taken on all sides arguing their positions. To compare apples to apples, consider costs. Getting something dropped-off in your mailbox from a warehouse in China is always cheaper than going to a brick + mortar store around the corner. Likewise, the cost of a glass of soda is less at McDonalds than it is at Olive Garden.

    Further, much like new spring fashion clothes lines, famous designers innovate new styles and some "knock-off" shop in Chinatown copies and produces it for pennies. Many women know that a real Coach bag and one they buy from a huckster at the flea market are not the same. Both bags do the same job and are close enough in looks to get by.

    $38 eyeglasses are not equal to $380 eyeglasses but are close enough to get the job done. If close enough is what you need then close enough is what you buy. Same goes for designer shoes vs. Payless. You can get a bottle of wine for $5 or for $20. They are both wine, but they are different from each other. If you can't tell the difference, then buy the $5 bottle of wine.

    By expressing my thoughts, above, I don't want to put anybody down. I buy my tools from Harbor Freight (made in China) instead of Sears (made in USA) because I can get by with less expensive tools. Are people mad at Sears for having expensive tools, or Prada making expensive shoes? I even buy store-brand sugar instead of Domino sugar but I don't run around saying Domino sugar should go fuck itself.

    Let's get real here and keep things into perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Some of optical stores are thieves, selling those eyeglasses frame double the original price. Maybe, we should go to the store who are credible in the industry and trusted.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Buying eyeglasses and lenses from most places is worst than buying a mattress. Inflated prices so the sales people can start to tell you they'll offer you a deal and a discount.

    Luxottica's margins are ridiculous. THere was a segment on 60mins about Luxxotica.

    People here throwing arguments on here about you get what you pay for. Except that's not always true. With most glasses, you pay more for what you got.

    This is why the likes of Warby Parker are welcome to many and their business will continue to grow.

    No sales pitches and pretend discounts based on inflated costs. Transparency instead.

    Don't listen to the Luxottica shill replies on here.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm still trying to understand why you think a Triple A discount should get you half off or anywhere near that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw a sign on a counter in the store. Discount is now 30%. http://www.lenscrafters.com/lc-us/content/aaa

      Delete
    2. The whole argument of disliking them based on price is ridiculous. Like many have said previously, there is a very distinct differences between Costco and LensCrafters. Costco can offset cost and be competitive because they sell a whole warehouse of other goods and services. Online services do not have the high overhead as a retail location. Do you have any clue as to how much retail space cost, especially in high demand shopping centers ? Let me give you a hint, take your mortgage and times it by 30 and you might get a small footprint retail space. Any idea how much a full service traditional optical lab with AR capabilities will cost to setup ? Close to or exceeding a million dollars, if you want to go the digital surfacing route, well over 1 million. Thats each store. Sure those Raybans may only cost the company 30 dollars to make and they are selling them for 130.00 and those raw lens blanks may only cost 2 dollars but you need a trained staff, retail location and lab to process them. The price isn't for everyone but that's hardly a justified reason for starting your little witch hunt and walk down defamation road.

      Delete
  17. This is old and I'd like to note that I came across it on a "good" google search on lenscrafters and I don't work for them. Sometimes I get my glasses there, sometimes at Wal-Mart. If you hate lenscrafters so much, why do you keep going there? Did your little online rant do you any good? No? Then how about you just get a grip on yourself and go about your business?

    ReplyDelete