The dilemma — Betwixt and between!

Source: Zenni Optical

Should I or shouldn’t I? The older I get the more I’m like my Mom. There was a lot of wonderful stuff about her but she was practical.

Practical is a double-edged sword. It saves you from really stupid purchases (and relationships…mostly) but holds you back on others. It stopped me from buying leather pants but not the John Lennon round glasses which was not a good look on me.

Being retired plays into it too. When I worked, I bought things I liked. The price had to be really outrageous for me to pass it by.

Today I shop around. Check out prices everywhere. Look at all the angles. Do calculations. You would think I’m plunking a million bucks on a pony.

Now we get to the dilemma. I need new eyeglasses. There is a pair I sort of like at a big box store. I can get all the bells and whistles. It’s expensive but not heart stopping outrageous.

Then there is my eye doctor. The practice has a small optician office connected to it. Nice people. Very helpful. Heart stopping prices (and not in a good way). They have a pair that is very similar that I like more. It costs slightly more than twice as much. I would consider that heart stopping even though I wear my glasses all the time.

I like change so I don’t want to wear any frame for the rest of my life (which will be a very long time).

The customer service at the eye doc is really good but there are holes. Hours are limited. Appointments needed even for an adjustment. Once you’ve bought it there are no “do overs.” If you don’t like it or the fit isn’t good, you’re out of luck.

The big box eyeglass place is open a lot. Walk in. Sometimes it’s busy but often during the weekday, it’s not. Everything is on a 30 day guarantee. (Yes, I returned a pair in that time period. What made me think with my fair coloring I could wear black frames?)

Then there is the twist. If I buy the glasses at my eye doc, I can get a pair of sunglasses for the price of the frames (just under $200 so it’s not free). Each pair would be slightly more than the big box place but just slightly.

My eyes are old and complicated so I want quality but aren’t most frames made the same except for the ones that are $20?

So my gentle readers, tell me what you do. Will you pay twice as much for something you like slightly more? Are you always practical or is there an occasional break?

My mother (deceased three decades now) is monitoring this post. I wouldn’t be surprised if she commented.


86 thoughts on “The dilemma — Betwixt and between!

  1. When my son was living in town and a practicing optometrist, I was often known as the “Imeda Marcos of Eyewear.” I had (this of course was pre-Elsa who has now managed to destroy 4 pairs) over 20 pairs of reading and sunglasses. Retirement has certainly complicated my optical budget and all things being equal with that in mind, reality would dictate a go for the practical. Good luck! P.S. loved the featured pic. Have more than a few pair of those rimless, hip-looking glasses. Yes, even at my advanced age. LOL

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  4. I can agonize for years/months/weeks depending on the seriousness of the decision, then one morning I get out of bed and it’s all crystal clear… hope the same happens, or has happened, to you. With one exception I’ve always used Lenscrafters… that one time I didn’t I was not happy. To me price doesn’t matter as much as doing business with a store or company where I have always felt comfortable and can depend on them to do a good job. So whether it’s Walmart or Lenscrafters (or another similar chain) or the little boutique next to your eye doctor, go where you’ve had good service before. I haven’t helped so I will move on….

    Liked by 1 person

    • It happened exactly as you said. I revisited the frames and made the logical decision based on facts rather than emotions. I have used Lenscrafter and I like them but this time it’s another equally well known brand that I have done business with in the past. After discussion my reservations with the manager, he said they would replace them no charge within 30 days if I wanted to go with another frame. Doesn’t get any better than that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hubs and I bought glasses (which we both wear at all times) exactly ONE TIME from the big box store, with thinking exactly the same as yours. Here was the problem: The quality of the LENSES was NOT the same. They were smeary, difficult to clean, scratched up much quicker – and were basically a pain in the arse! We made the decision to buy our next glasses from our eye doctor’s office. There is some truth to “You get what you pay for…”

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  6. I don’t think I can honestly comment here without recognizing that being 1/2 of a couple has a motivating factor for me. I am both practical and frugal, but my wife enjoys buying the good things. To wit, we haggled the other night about store brand vs. national brand aluminum foil. I backed down mainly because she was paying… until we got to the cashier and she realized she never took her billfold out of her gym bag from the morning workout. So I ended up paying for it. But I digress. I think couples need to have that yin/yang thing going on. So my role is to be practical. Get the nicer eyeglasses, Kate. You’ll be my hero for doing so. – Marty

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    • I am usually the practical one but in this case my husband is. After mulling it around I realized that the thing I like best I won’t be able to see. They are rimless so there is not much to see at all. I can’t get over the difference in price. I’ve bought a pair of glasses much more reasonably from the optician in the past. Something changed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My husband has worn glasses since he was 3 years old. I don’t think anyone misses a good old fashioned eye doctor more than him. He recently went to the big box store and spent over 1,000 for his glasses. He has been back 4 times complaining that the RX is not right. On the 4th visit, he was told “you’re over the 30 day period” for adjustments. Let’s just say that did not go over well. For someone who considers his glasses a limb, it’s not the price as much as the quality and care received. He is discouraged that sales seem to be much more important than craftsmanship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had really good service at the big box I use. They have an added guarantee you can buy. It’s inexpensive but I’ve learned to get it. It’s for a year and they will replace or exchange for any or no reason. I’ve used it several times. I had a friend who got her glasses at one of the “marts.” She had a hard time seeing, going back time and time again. Then she went to another store (same chain). The first fitter didn’t know what she was doing. The second place fixed it for her. There are so many variables for people with complex eye issues. My stepkids buy on-line. It’s cheap, very nice and works for their simple corrections. I don’t feel comfortable doing that as the progressive has to be at the right spot to work. I wish your husband luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m practical, too. My mom will splurge, but I got the practicality from my dad, and I think he’s monitoring me from the grave as well! If I liked the more expensive glasses a lot more, I’d get them, I think. But if I only liked them a little bit more, I’d probably talk myself out of them. Do let us know what you decide. You are worth the investment if you want them. Mom will understand!

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  9. Do you actually need the sunglasses? Because it sounds like that’s the only way the optometrist is even coming close?
    Do you value small business over the convenience?

    The difference in how much you like the glasses will be meaningless once they are bought. It will be forgotten.

    The convenience is A HUGE factor for me and I think it’s a factor we tend to underestimate.

    I don’t have a lot money, so I can’t afford to choose to support a small business that can’t meet both my price and my need to be able deal with problems. I like the idea of supporting a small business, but I mostly have to support myself.

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  10. I admire people who say, “Go for it!” I’m a miser, though, and I’m always going for it the wrong way. I’d buy the less expensive ones and use them to focus on polishing my halo. What would bring you more pleasure — the favored glasses or the miser’s pride in cheaper ones? Good luck!

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  11. I’m a pretty self-indulgent kind of person and if I really like something – especially something like glasses that get used A LOT, price wouldn’t necessarily slow me down.
    However, this doesn’t sound quite right that something “similar” would be double the price, but the service that goes with the purchase is so inferior to the big box store. Service is a big button for me; I think I would be leaning heavily towards the big box store.

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  12. First things first: Hi Kate’s Mom! If you see my mom, Jean, tell her I said hey and that I’m thinking about her because we are talking money here.

    So, back to your situation Kate – I’m frugal, I don’t care for change, nor am I a follower of fashion trends. I find the bells and whistles in eyeglass technology are more often than not, not worth the aggravation or the price. My eyesight is diminishing, but I have no special needs. Progressive lens irritate me and I won’t even try the magic darkening jobs. My last two new prescriptions were installed in old frames. To answer your question: I always land on the practical side.

    [low] Price is number one.
    Functionality is number two.
    Quality… I wouldn’t know a good brand from a bad one and the name on the case means nothing to me. Actually, it might make me run in the opposite direction because I’ll be danged if I’m paying for branding.

    If you are flush, and feeling that hey, I’d like to treat myself – well, then, go for it. But if it means jumping through hoops to get in to see the eye guy…

    It’s a very tough call.

    Mom? Whaddya think?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think that people who wear or use anything a lot should get what they want, within reason. So normally I would say spend the money and get the ones that are exactly what you’re looking for. The only thing that makes me hesitate is your comment about liking change and not wanting to wear them forever. If the more expensive ones last much longer than you’d like, will you hesitate about buying another pair or will you get what you want whenever you feel it’s time?
    Have fun deciding..:)

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  14. If you wear them every day, get the ones you really like. Not only because it’s something you really use, but because otherwise, you’ll think, “I wish I’d gotten the OTHER ones” daily.

    Thinking “these glasses are awesome” daily seems much more enjoyable.

    As long as they aren’t so expensive you can’t eat or pay your heating bill, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I would not spend that much more on something I only liked slightly more. I’m all for treating myself but I’d rather spend the money on concerts than glasses. I think the markup on frames is ridiculous. What are they made of, gold?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. When it comes to eyeglasses I’ll spend a pirate’s ransom to get exactly what I want and deserve. Sadly I find that there are so few acceptable glasses frames, that I wear the same ones for years… even though I’d spring for new ones.

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  17. Three questions: Do you want them? Do you need them? Will it be the end of the world if you don’t have them? That’s what I always ask myself however:
    How long are you going to have them? If you wear glasses all the time and can afford them, why not have the ones you prefer? Yet again weighing up after care service, guarantees, as well as cost, which is the best deal overall.
    It is a dilemma, but familiarity tends to give you the edge. We went to a new optician and Hubby’s glasses were not only a bad design, but the prescription was wrong….. twice. My varifocals were off centre and I felt dizzy every time I turned my head. We went back to our original people and the service and glasses were terrific, even if they did cost a little more.

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  18. I’m a Warby Parker person. My daughter in law works with them and their prices are really good. My corneal surgeon told me to go there instead of the place in their office. He said, heck I can’t even afford those prices. But my Warby’s have tons of choices and aren’t expensive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have bought two pair through the eye doc. Prices weren’t as heart stopping then. One pair (bi-focal for reading) worked very well. The other was a heavy plastic frame with no eye pads did not work for me. They kept sliding down and I was stuck with them for a year. I ended up getting an inexpensive pair elsewhere. There is a new progressive with a wider viewing area. They are charging almost twice as much for that. I’m hoping that helps with the reading issues I have.


  19. Kate, I can tell you what I did. I just picked up my second new pair of glasses at the eye doc’s. The price for the whole thing was heart stopping. I would/did twice as much because at our age and if you can afford ’em do what makes you happy. I got a spiffy pair of red frames and a tortoise shell frame. Tortoise shell with transition tint and red glasses no tint… both progressives which was a first for me. I love them both! You know you want the ones you like more and you will feel a bit sad if you don’t get them! I quit wearing my contacts and went to glasses so I wanted to have fun with them… I think I mentioned getting new glasses to you last week. I am not always practical… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. My priority was to get glasses that I was happy to wear, and were bought from a place where I had prior experience of good service. In my case the place that sold the glasses, was next door to the place that did the eye examinations. Price became secondary. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Good for you! Tha’s also my policy. My prescription is SO tricky that I don’t trust it to anyone but my doctor’s office. Yes, they are pricey, but they are my only pair of eyes. By Christmas though, I hope to not need them! My doctor gave me orders to have cataract surgery. The surgeon is really sure he can turn my extreme myopia into near-perfect vision, something I’ve not experienced since I was about 4. He says I may need reading glasses for the close stuff. In preparation for this, a technician doing lots of measurements on my eyeballs said, “My, my, you are probably the most nearsighted person I’ve ever seen.” And she was not a young, silly thing, but a kind, efficient tech.

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I had cataract surgery they overcompensated slightly and made me farsighted but not by much. Just enough to need glasses for one eye and of course for reading. I have astigmatism that couldn’t be corrected with inserts at the time I had cataract surgery. I understand they can correct that with the inserts now. My eye doc really wants me to do a scleral contact lens for my dry eye but I would still need reading glasses. Seems like double trouble to me. I wish you the best. They have come so far with eyes. Can’t wait until they figure out a fix for presbyopia (reading glasses).


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