Two things I remember about fashion when I was growing up: I was crazy about my Aunt Judy’s high-heeled shoes and I loved to try on my mom’s glasses. Both of these women gave me a glimpse of what a confident professional American woman looked like. And though I indulged in my shoe shopping as a teen, I never had a need to wear a pair of glasses.
That was until 2 years ago when I was desperately trying to make sense of the newspaper and books. I tossed it off as a lack of good lighting in Germany; I was certain their lightbulbs just didn’t have the same power as good old US bulbs to light my workspace. Once we moved back to the States, I was still struggling to make out the fine print on my phone as well as the books I was reading. A trip to the local pharmacy did the trick! I bought a pair of Foster Grants–1.5 strength–and words miraculously were crystal clear.
Two weeks ago I had an appointment with a real-life eye doc. I assumed that I’d simply get confirmation that I needed glasses for reading. After the fancy light show, special drops and so many flip charts with letters, numbers and shapes, I heard the shocking news…my eyes are old and they will get worse with time. For someone who adores reading, typing and developing relationships through social media, this was powerful news. A game-changer. I sat in the waiting room trying on dozens of eyeglasses–cat eyes, round, square, funky-colored, Sara Palin-esque–not really knowing what I was doing. “Isn’t someone supposed to tell me what looks good on me?” and then the helpful clerk showed me the total cost of the glasses I was most interested in buying…a staggering $697 for the full package.
Naively I asked her if I could simply take my prescription to an online service, like Warby Parker, or another shop in town. She remained kind and helpful; she must have known how outrageous their prices were.
I left the office, squinting in the bright Carolina sun (darn those dilation drops) and arrived home pondering the next steps. Tim to my rescue! He suggested we go to Costco and order the glasses from them. Since the nearest Costco requires a special date night with my husband, we scheduled a visit for the weekend. Liz, my optical assistant, was equally kind and helpful but she had the added bonus of selling lenses and frames at a deep discount. My new best friend! After trying on a variety of glasses (Costco’s selection includes generic makers as well as high-end frames) I chose a pair that my son says makes me look “like a librarian.” I guess that’s OK because I do spend a lot of time with books.