Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On Buying Glasses Online

Recently, I've been experimenting with buying prescription eye glasses from online retailers. My goal was to find glasses under $10 that I could use as back up pairs for those moments when I misplace my normal glasses. Overall, the experience has been good but it wasn't perfect.

I ordered 2 pairs of glasses from two different site: Goggles4u.com and ZenniOptical.com. Both sites were recommended to me by people on Twitter who seem to be happy with the service that they go from them. My experience with both were leave much to be desired.

ZenniOptical was the slowest of the two to process and ship my glasses. It took closer to three weeks to get my glasses. Compared to Goggles4U, their web site was not very user friendly. It was very cumbersome to search for frames since you couldn't filter by frame size. But what they lack in user accessibility, they made up in their lower prices.

Goggles4u was quick to process and ship my glasses. I had my pair within two weeks. The only thing that annoyed me with them was that they did not have the lenses for my prescription in their sub $10 level glasses. I had to go up to the next level ($12.95) to get my glasses.

Now, the adage of "you get what you pay for" applies here with the quality of the frames. They look nice visually, but they don't feel as sturdy as those that I normally get from my optician. Then again, you're not paying $145 for these glasses, so if they do break, you won't feel so bad about it.

Overall, the amount of money you'll save with buying glasses online is staggering, but the saving comes at the cost of quality and time. When I go to get glasses from my optician, I can get them within a couple of days and if there's a problem with them, I can just go back and have them fix it. Buying online requires some patience and even more patience if your order wasn't done right, since you'll need to ship it back and then wait some more for them to fix it.

When ordering glasses online, regardless of where you buy it, you'll need to realize that the glasses you get will come in their stock/default form and will not be tweaked to fit exactly on your face and head. You'll either have to bend and shape them to fit you perfectly or get the help of your local optician to make them fit properly. Warning: The later option my lead to some awkwardness when they realize that you didn't buy your glasses from them.

All in all, if your goal is to save money, then buy glasses online. If you need your glasses sooner and don't want to deal with shipping back bad orders, then consider going to your local optician.

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