Four years ago I bought a really nice pair of prescription Ray-Ban sunglasses at a local LensCrafters. As one of multiple pairs of sunglasses I wear, the Ray-Bans are still in excellent condition. They're in excellent condition also because they were lost for about two of those four years.
LensCrafters advertises that it can make glasses "in about an hour" and has perpetual sales like the mattress stores. Its regular price seems to be its 25%-off price and it has lots of two-fers. The company 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.
There's probably no company that can make frames and lenses as inexpensively as LensCrafters. The corporate website 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.
In May of last year 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 "new" left eye has excellent vision. Once I was confident that my vision had stabilized, I wanted to get a non-prescription "plano" left lens for my Ray-Ban sunglasses. Fearful of LensCrafters prices, I went to Costco. Alas, their lab does not work on Ray-Ban frames.
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.
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.
I soon found a local optician who could replace the lenses for just $90.
Or I could 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.
Last week, I had a cataract removed and an artificial lens implanted in my right eye. I now have excellent distance vision, with no prescription lenses necessary for either eye.
As either an optimist or a masochist, I called LensCrafters last evening to find out the cost of installing ONE NON-PRESCRIPTION lens in the Ray-Ban frame.
I was told that they would have to install two lenses (even though one of the lenses is less than a year old and is just fine) and the cost would be $190.
When I expressed shock, I was told that because I'm such a good customer, the cost would come down to $170 -- for a couple of pennies worth of glass and a few minutes work.
I think I'll check out Amazon, Walmart and the dollar stores.