Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stein Optical's Ads and Prices are Quite Misleading

My glasses stink. They're scratched up, chipped in spots, six or seven years removed from my current prescription, held together with a paper clip on one side (c/o damage from somebody's exuberant birthday party) and just plain silly-looking. I need a new pair, but I likely won't be going to Stein Optical (Shorewood location) for them, because I just visited them and came away rather put out. 

Stein Optical, a glasses store, has a poster on their window that says you can get two pairs of glasses for a total of $99 apiece. This is technically true, but in practice it's extremely misleading. Most of the frames cost over $100 on their own, and thus aren't included in the deal. Only their absolute shittiest frames, which cost a mere $60 and up, qualify for that deal. Also, you have to get their absolute shittiest lenses (described as "Coke-bottles" by the guy who helped me) to go along with it, so basically, what you have to do to qualify is buy the absolute lowest-end thing in the store. I wouldn't say that Stein Optical is lying in their ad, but it seems like the ad in the window is just something to sucker you in that hardly ever applies in practice. (Save the comments about how this is true for all adverts for someone who hasn't heard them before.)

The second thing I took issue with is the price tags on the frames themselves. They are only prices for the frames, and don't include the cost of the lenses themselves. This means that every frame on the shelf costs you $30-40 more than you see on the price tag. I know that the cost of a pair of lenses is variable depending on the prescription, but it's still not the most customer-friendly thing to do; nobody told me, and there were no signs that I saw, that the prices were separate until I actually went up to pay for them. 

It's counterintuitive because you see a pair of glasses with lenses on the shelf, and there's no reason to think that the price quoted isn't the total price of the whole package (and because the frames themselves are so damn expensive, the inclination is to see them as one entity). I could also see it being a psychological tool, because you don't see the entire price at once; you see a $100 frame and a $40 pair of lenses, not a $140 lump sum, which sounds worse. (I'm sure you are quoted a price when you get your eye exam there, but that costs you another $42! I brought in my eye doctor's prescription instead, which I got a few months ago at the last appointment.)

So to summarize, I will be looking for my glasses somewhere else, and if there's a better alternative to SO in the Milwaukee area, I encourage you folks to do the same. (It may of course turn out that this is standard business practice in the optics industry and there's nothing for me to do but shut up and buy the glasses; however, if this is the case, I will at least have the satisfaction of having shopped around for bargains. Jew-blood +10.)


Anonymous said...

What does "Jew-blood" at the end of your posting mean?

Andy said...

An instinctive appetite for bargain-hunting, in this case. (I'm Jewish, so I get to crack jokes about it.)

Post a Comment