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9 Essential Tips for Buying New Eyewear

Posted in Lifehacks, Technology by engtech on August 24, 2006

Updated 2006/08/31

I’m embroiled in a dispute with the Bay over a pair of Blinde glasses I purchased that are un-wearable. I see double unless I am looking directly center at a spot 2-4 feet away. So far it’s been 6 trips to see them, I’ve spent over $30 on parking, time wasted when I’m already working 60 hrs/week and I still haven’t gotten a full refund or satisfactory service.

  • Go to a store that specializes in glasses. Better service, better selection and better employees.
  • Don’t buy horizontally curved frames. Non-parallel lenses will greatly increase the chances of distortion, especially if you have a high prescription.
  • If they warn you that the frames might not be adequate, take their advice and chose something else. They want to make a sale and if they’re warning you against something it is because it will turn into a horrible headache for everyone involved.
  • Understand the warranty and the requirements for a full refund before purchasing. Are all stores this bad for trying to keep you from returning an unsatisfactory purchase?
  • Go somewhere with convenient access. It will be a minimum of 2-3 trips if everything goes well. It can take many trips to come to a resolution if things go wrong.
  • Speak with an optician ASAP. Call ahead to make sure an optician is on the premises. Don’t deal with sales people who do not understand your needs and will have to pass you off to the optician eventually.
  • Avoid new employees. Don’t be someone’s “learning experience”.
  • Don’t be cheap. Glasses are the one accessory you can’t function without. You will probably wear the same frames every day for 3-4 years.
  • Don’t wait until your insurance is about to run out. The deadline pressure will encourage you to make a bad decision.
  • Bonus: Don’t forget to bring your prescription with you.
  • Bonus: Wait until you know you are happy with the glasses before you put in the insurance claim.

I did all of these things wrong. I went with the Bay because they have a “50% off frames and 20% off lenses” sale for August. I ordered my glasses with a new employee under training, and picked curved frames that were not adequate for my prescription. They did warn me there would be some distortion (but they didn’t say how bad it would be). I ignored the warning because I wanted to get the bill in to my insurance company before it ran out.

This is a classic case of not following the “7 Habits” and avoiding something that is important (“new glasses before insurance runs out”) for things that are urgent.

Update: The glasses are returned and the $720 bucks they would have cost me are back in my pocket. Unfortunately, I’ve missed out on the window for cashing in the $250 claim from my old company, but it’s better to get the money back than to have glasses I can’t see with. Only took me 8 trips and approximately $40 in parking fees.

What I needed for the return:

  • Original receipt from the Bay
  • Original receipt used for the eyeglasses insurance claim
  • The glasses (+ case and wipes)
  • The original debit or credit card.
  • Dealing with the manager instead of the employees

10 Responses

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  1. roy said, on August 25, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Try this place:

    Spinnewyn Opticians
    2515 Bank Street,
    Ottawa, ON K1V8R9

    Tel. 613-733-2020

    It’s Bank and Hunt Club…free parking :)

    I bought my perscription Adidas sunglasses (curved) from them. Been going to them for parts for 5+ years. Great service. The owner runs it, so they take pride in their work. So far, I’ve only had good dealings. I’m actually getting a Guess brand perscription sunglasses tomorrow or Monday from them. Will let you know how that turns out.

    Btw, I’ve been wearing my curved Adidas glasses for over 5 years now. The first week, my perception was *really* off, then I got used to it. However, my perscription is not that bad. So yeah, curved lenses take atleast, if not more than a week to get used to. After that, you forget you even have them on.

  2. Matt said, on September 14, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    Wow… Very happy I saw this because I was considering going to the Bay for my glasses. I was a bit reluctant as it is a department store afterall… But this seals it. Off to see the pros instead.

    Thanks for taking the time to post. Consumers need to stick together to ensure people won’t keep getting screwed.

    By the way, DON’T RENT CARS FROM HERTZ in Ottawa–I’m out a couple hundred dollars due to their inept administrative practices and broken promises. Enterprise is the place to go.


  3. engtech said, on September 14, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    I’m glad I turned at least one person away from them. :)

  4. Comments « //engtech said, on September 18, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    […] Matt decides not to buy glasses at the Bay because of my experience […]

  5. Sue Heavens said, on December 20, 2006 at 12:45 am

    I’m wondering which optometrist in Ottawa has resonably priced lenses. Right now Laurier Optical has half off frames which brings down the cost to $150 but progressive lens are $338 at the low end – I solved the problem two years ago by using Laurier on sale ($240 total for progressive lens including a designer frame. At that time in 2004 Lenscrafters had already increased the price of glasses ($550 for a similar product). any ideas where to get a good deal?

  6. engtech said, on December 20, 2006 at 1:29 am

    I *still* haven’t found a good place for buying glasses. A lot of people have been recommending online stores — you can usually get three sets of glasses for the cost of one in a retail store.


  7. Leigh Honeywell said, on February 04, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Came over from your post on the GlassyEyes blog.

    I definitely second the Spinnewyn’s recommendation. They are friendly and professional. They adjusted my 5-year-old floppy-armed glasses for free while my dad was waiting to pick up some contacts last time I was in Ottawa.

  8. engtech said, on February 05, 2007 at 3:18 am

    Everyone has good things to say about Spinnewyn’s. I should go buy some glasses there.

  9. Grant said, on March 15, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Try going to Kemptville’s Optician in Kemptville if you live South of Ottawa. They are really fair priced and truely look after you and your eye glass needs. By the way he was Spinnewyns partner before he opened up in Kemptville. Definately the same type of commitment to satisfaction.

  10. Jockey said, on May 20, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    I bought my hinged, semi-rimless, progressive bifocals from http://www.Goggles4U.com. They cost me $58.89 after using a promo code. Shipping is free worldwide. Tinting is also free. Single vision glasses with all of the coatings cost just $24.69 if you use a promo code. Plus, they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee which I know for a fact that they live up to.

    Save yourself an extra 5% by entering the promo code “arcaro” at the checkout.

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