After 3 years I finally got around to buying a new pair of glasses. I know you are supposed to go in and get your eyes checked every year, and buy new glasses if you need them, but I never seem to think about it. I probably don’t because my vision isn’t that bad and in the last three years there was barely any change at all to my vision.
After looking at what seemed like a million pairs of frames, and after having sales staff try repeatedly to sell me a $1200.00 pair of platinum Cartier frames. I left the opticians office and show room in search of something a bit more affordable, and a bit more designer stylish. What I ended up getting were IC! Berlin Yevgeny G frames in dark gray gun-metal.
Originally I was going to purchase from a local shop over in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City, but when the sales guy quoted me almost $600.00 bucks for just the lenses, and a price on the frames that was about $100.00 above the list price, I turned to my good old friend the internet for some online savings. And this is why I love shopping online. I found the exact same frame, with lenses for less than the cost of the frames alone locally. Free shipping, no tax. So, while I had to wait a week to get the new specs, I did save enough money that I can buy a second pair of dedicated sunglasses with the money left over in my medical FLEX account.
In today’s world of total connectivity, I am really surprised that more shops don’t offer a price match on things you find online. I get that I would have had to pay sales tax, and I’m OK with that. What I don’t get is, when I called the store and asked them if they could match the price, they said no. They wouldn’t even work with me. If they had, I would probably be writing a post about that store, the great sales staff, and how they went out of their way to help me. Instead I am going to tell you how Blink Optical in Lake Forrest Illinois did such a great job.
I left the store in Brookside, got in my car, fired up Safari on my iPhone and did a search on the frames. Google brought back a number of hits, but Blink Optical had the best price. I jumped from Safari to the phone, called the local store that I was parked in front of and asked them if they could match Blink Optical’s price. They said no, and I moved on. I hung up the phone, jumped back to the browser, clicked the phone number and called Blink. With prescription in hand, I placed my order over the phone in less than five minutes and got a confirmation email sent to me. It was seamless. The staff was great, the experience was painless, and I saved a bunch of money. Money that could have gone back into the local economic ecosystem if the local store had been willing to work with me.
Out of curiosity I called Blink later that week and spoke with one of the sales staff. I was curious about the size of the shop, how long they had been in business, and how long they had been working with an online store front. The answers didn’t surprise me. They are a small locally owned shop, that has had an online presence for a few years. They are basically the same as the shop I went to in Kansas City, but with two big differences. First I can buy frames online, I didn’t have to call them. Second, they do their homework, and will work with you on price matching if you find the same item online for less money.
I had two final questions for Blink. How much online business do they do? and What is the furthest they have shipped glasses to? They said most of the business is still walk in to the store, but they are seeing an increase in online sales. And the furthest they had shipped to was South Africa. Not bad for a small optical shop in Lake Forest, Illinois.