I am still fuming over my horrific treatment and it is five days later, therefore, as a cathartic exercise, I am posting this. You however ask, what could possibly be.the source of this extremely verbose dissertation and my antagonized state? The store, Optical Illusions, on Santana Row in San Jose.
The tale of woe begins when I bought a pair of glasses from them in August of 2004. They were my first ‘fun’ pair of glasses, breaking out of a traditional frame into a bit more avant-garde style which I grew to really like. (although it did take some convincing from Reeves at first) At the time of purchase, I ignored the fact I paid WAY too much for these glasses, justifying it by thinking I would have them for awhile.
When I purchased the glasses, the service people at the store were nice enough, although the shop is pretentious and their staff does subtlety exude this presence, but I wanted my glasses too much to care at that point. Over the past year and a half, I have visited the shop about every 4-6 weeks to have my glasses adjusted because my chosen frame-lens combo led to the glasses splaying out, causing them to be too wide for my face. Several of the times I went in to have them adjusted they made me feel like Vivian in Pretty Woman when she walked into the snobbish boutique the first time, that I couldn’t have possibly have purchased glasses in THEIR store.
Side note: I am VERY picky about how my glasses are adjusted since I wear them (over contacts) about 85% of the time – therefore, they must be comfortable, without pressure points and tight enough they don’t slide down my nose every time I look down at my keyboard. All of this said, I would only leave their adjustment to the professionals since I don’t want to have my glasses damaged or unusable.
As luck would have it, about 6 weeks ago I somehow managed (and I still can’t figure out how since they have never bee dropped to my knowledge) to put a deep scratch in the left lens, just slightly to the right of my center focal point. It was really annoying, but I had to get used to it for awhile since the holidays hit and with traveling and school, I just didn’t have time to get them repaired. I also have to say, as a preface to the upcoming conclusion of this tale, in my almost 25 years of wearing glasses, I have never had to have lenses or frames replaced from my carelessness.
To get onto my rant….I went into Optical Illusions on Saturday night (accompanied by my friend Leslie) and went up to the counter and stated I would like to have a price quote for replacing the lenses since one had been damaged. The woman I was speaking to went in back and another gentleman (and I use that term very loosely here) came back with my file and glasses. He quoted me $280 (admittedly the same price I paid before), but I knew this was high (from my many, many previous purchases) and asked if there was anyway he could price match another quote. He proceeded to hem and haw about how their lenses were superior to other lenses and how the lenses could not match their quality. Now, I have been around the block a few times and there are standards to which all lenses need to adhere and there is not that much difference in the quality, years ago maybe, but now, no. At this point, another employee came over and tried to tell me the same thing, that if any other store could sell them for less, they must be sub-standard, especially the thin ones I ordered, which most places charge a considerable amount for or don’t carry. This sealed my opinion of him, that he was full of it - I have been getting the ‘thin’ lenses for years and it is pretty standard as ‘normal’ these days.
At this point in the conversation, I am still quite composed and polite and ask if there is anyway to reduce my cost again – they both state that if I don’t get the anti-glare coating, it would reduce the cost by $80. I agree, and we settle on this solution…..the price is reduced to $200. OK, not what I hoped for, but still it is costing me less. Content enough. I pull out my credit card and think things should go quickly from here….HA HA HA!
I also want to mention at this point the attitudes of the sales people – the moment I stated the cost seemed high and if there was anything they might be able to do, they immediately got VERY defensive, hence all the hemming and hawing I got…..all I can say is “me thinks thee doth protest too much…”?????
Little did I know the drama about to begin when the first gentleman proceeds to inspect my frames and lenses closer and notices the frames seem to be miss-shaped. I had sort of noticed this a few months ago, but really didn’t think too much of it since I had them adjusted by them several times since and nothing was said to me about it. They still stayed on my face and I could still see out of them, so all should be good with the world. I stated this same think back to him and his response, in an accusatory tone, as he starts popping the lenses in and out “have you had these glasses adjusted by anyone else?” I responded with a firm but polite ‘no.’ Next came from him, almost spitting it at me, “well who adjusted them?” Woaaaa, where did the attitude come from again, and more importantly, what sort of question is that???? In 1 ½ years did he really think I only had them adjusted only once???
I proceed to tell him of my routine of every 4-6 weeks coming by and again he throws back to me the same question “who has helped me” in his now growing snooty-ness. At this point I am starting to loose my patients, but still trying to keep my cool I calmly state that “unless you have a policy of writing down every time I come in, how can I possibly remember who has helped me each time” and go onto to say that each of the employees in the store at that moment had helped at least once. (I already knew they didn’t have this policy since I had only been questioned a couple times if I had purchased my glasses there when I came in to have them adjusted) This response causes him to quiet down for a minute and shuffle his paperwork around as if look for such a log that I knew, he knew, didn’t exist.
Again, he goes back to futzing with the frames, knowing that his line of questioning was going nowhere, so then states, almost spitting it, “well, you must had stepped on them or something”………..THE NERVE!! At his point I am starting to silently fume, how dare he accuse me of this! I firmly (but still politely) state, while looking him straight in the eyes, this has NEVER happened.
Again, more futzing and the final question “well, if you didn’t step on them you must have left them in your car on a hot day.” Ok, now I am ready to jump up and down and as him if knows to whom he is asking this question (which obviously he does not or he would know I would never do any of the accused), but I know if I cause a fuss, he really won’t do anything to fix them, since I am starting to realize this must be something pretty serious going on with the frames for him to be going on like this. More firmly this time, I look him in the eyes again and slowly respond to emphatically emphasize my answer while still trying to hold back the distain in my voice,”I NEVER leave them in the car.”
I speak my statement and just keep staring at him, which causes him to again start messing with my glasses. He then decided to take the passive-aggressive approach and mumbles that I must have stepped on them once again. I ignore his comments and becoming more concerned about my frames, ask if they can then be fixed or replaced since the only place I have ever had them adjusted was with them. He fumbles with them more and realizing I am obviously not backing down, says we will get the lenses in and we will go from there. At this point I can tell from the way he say it and from the way he is handling the frames, they are, and will be unusable.
We finish the transaction as Leslie and I chat about other things, basically trying to distract myself from my flustered state of being, incurred from the accusations and the inquisition I was not expecting. Feeling like I was between a rock and a hard place without time to contemplate all the repercussions, we finalize by him trying to hold onto my (only!) pair of glasses for a week till the lenses come in for their instillation. He acts like it is a HUGE favor he is now doing for me by letting me keep my glasses for a week, stating he will then install the lenses in “only an hour” when they come in the following week. Just wanting to get out of there by now, we leave, still dazed by the whole incident.
At the time I thought my only choices were either not having my lenses replaced and having to just throw out the glasses (since he was so convinced they were ruined and their store was the only ones who could replace the frames since it was their fault they were in that state, although he didn’t believe me) and having to invent another $200 in them to not loose my previous investment…..I choose to continue with the transaction and go from there.
In fuming, mulling, and being distraught about it all night, I relayed the story to Reeves and he made me realize that loosing my original investment (which truthfully I had been able to use for 1 ½ years) was a VERY small prices to pay to a) not invest $200 more in this horrid company and b) to never have to return to their shop again!!!
The only catch was if I would be able to cancel the order…..
The next morning Reeves and I went into the shop (because if there was going to be a confrontation, I wanted to do it in person and with witnesses, just in case) to cancel. I asked one of the two women who were working if I could cancel my order from the previous evening. She went in the back and brought out an empty tray, which I assume, was the beginning of my order, stating it seemed like it would be ok, but she needed to get managerial approval the next morning and would call me first thing since she was working, letting me know my account was credited. I thanked her kindly (sort of hoping she would ask me WHY I was canceling so I could tell her it was the horrible customer experience I had) and left.
The next day, not hearing anything by almost 1pm, I called the store and asked for her. She was at lunch (of course), so I told the woman on the phone I had spoken with her yesterday and she was going to call me back about a managerial approval for a canceled ordered. I barely got out my explanation when the woman on the phone cut me off and stated, with the store’s now infamous snobbery, it was credited to my account. I quick thanked her and she said something like “yeah” and hung up!
I can’t even begin to list all the things wrong with this horrible, horrible experience. Not only was this not just one person, but a pervasive attitude for ALL the employees!! I will NEVER set foot back into Optical Illusions again and will beat my friends silly with a wet noodle if they ever thing of patronizing this establishment.
The happy conclusion to this story…..I went back to Lenscrafters, but their Optique store this time, which has more trendy and fun frames, for which I had strayed for before, and found a pair of frames I actually like better than my previous ones! The best part, I was quickly helped by friendly, efficient people (without the pretentious attitude, even though the brands they carry are almost identical to those at Optical Illusions) and the lenses WITH the anti-glare, featherweight size were only $240!!!! Additionally, with the Blue Cross discount that we have (and Lenscrafters honors), the lenses were only $140!!!!!
Ok, feeling better now. J (and it is all about me you know)