Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Specs

Yesterday my husband took the afternoon off, mostly because it was rainy, cold and windy.

We went to Roanoke so I could purchase new glasses. I saw the eye doctor two weeks ago and he gave me a new prescription. Things in the distance had developed a distinct air of fuzziness about them.

We visited the "glasses in about an hour" place. I have generally had good luck with them. However, they are expensive.

They also do something that I think is wrong.

If I have a coupon for $100 off a pair of prescription glasses, then I should get the $100 off right? Well, they give it to you - unless you have insurance. Then you get the option of whichever is cheaper for you.

Don't you think it should go like this?
Glasses cost: $400
Less Coupon: $100
Total: $300
Submission to insurance: $300
Less insurance payment: $100
Equal a $200 cost to you.

But no. They say you either get the $100 coupon or the $100 insurance payment, and you pay $300 either way.

I know some business person will say, oh, the company can't lose their profit. But they are obviously already making a profit with the $100 coupon off, or they would not be offering it. And if the insurance is making up the difference, they are still getting their profit, even if I only pay $200 instead of $300 for the glasses. So essentially they are getting double profit.

I think it is a rip off for both me AND my insurance company. The eye glass company obviously isn't out of anything. Some discount.


  1. I remember when you used to be able to get the $99 deal from the one-hour place. No more. I've found getting specs at Sam's is a good bargain. You have to wait about a week but I saved at least $200 as I have no insurance. We also get my daughter's contacts there. BTW, you should have gotten both discounts!

  2. I have a prescription I haven't filled because of the cost. All the wonderful prices in ads refer to single focus lenses, not bi-focals or heavens, progressives!

  3. Crazy - and just plain wrong.

    I've been wearing contacts for the past 20 years, so I really haven't had to deal with those guys very much. I get a scrip from my doctor, and go online to get my lenses.

  4. You got ripped off, but I can kinda see where their poor coupon policy comes from.

    I worked for 17 years either in the health insurance industry or as a medical practice manager.

    In the health insurance world, a provider is not allowed to discount a patient's bill unless you also pass along that discount to the insurance company. Nor are you allowed to discount a copay amount (unless you are writing it off completely as bad debt).

    Doesn't apply here, though, because eye care coverage usually pays a specific $X for Y product. The only way they should have disallowed (or reduced) the coupon is if the insurance payment plus the coupon exceeded the cost.

    Isn't the whole point of a coupon to entice customers? That's why I hate when a cashier gets lost in the details of a coupon without seeing the big picture. (e.g, I bought the Crest Sparkling toothpaste for $3 instead of the Crest Total toothpaste for $2 and you won't give me the 30 cents off because I grabbed the wrong tube.)

  5. Jeff - if they took the $100 off and then sent the remainder amount to the insurance company, doesn't that give the insurance company the break, also? That is what I think they should have done. I argued the point but was told "it doesn't work that way."

    RRR - I have not had very good luck with other optical places, which is why I went back to this one.

    It really shouldn't cost so much to be able to see.

  6. Right. I think that is exactly what they should have done.

  7. My husband ends up buying his contact lenses on line just to save a few dollars. It's sad that even in health care, people have to try to rip you off.

  8. I've given up on expensive eye glasses. My professor introduced me to glasses sold at the drug store - they work just as well, and I didn't have to spend $300.

  9. Amy - unfortunately I have to have prescription glasses for my astigmatism, plus different numbers for each eye. Drug store glasses don't work for me.

  10. I've worn glasses since the 5th grade, so that's about 23 years. I've always thought eye glasses were a rip off. I mean who really knows if they are exactly what you need? If for instance they are slightly off you will get used to it and adjust so are you really getting what you pay for? I need to go and get new glasses, but I cringe at the thought of glasses for everyday use, sunglasses plus a pair for bike riding. I guess I need to just bite the bullet. Maybe insurance will pick up some of the cost. Or maybe this was the year to do a flexible spending account. Who knows... Being an adult stinks sometimes!

  11. I’ve been fortunate with my eyesight. I’m the only child of seven (smack in the middle) who did not need glasses by adolescence, and still do not need them for every day use. However, it was revealed in an eye exam two years ago that I would benefit from reading glasses. He arrogantly, at least I thought he was arrogant, I think I was more in denial, that if I did not accept his opinion at the time then I would be forced to accept it by the next year. Needless to say, I have a hard time now reading the small print on some things. Anyway, I broke down and bought my reading glasses. I would never buy them from the drugstore, something my father used to do. I want a good prescription because a bad one makes headaches. I also went to the place that you did and between my husband and I, we have learned that the AAA (is it 2 or 3 A’s), the auto, roadside thing gives the absolute best discount, and the eye glass place is not picky about whose name is on the AAA card and who is buying the glasses (if AAA reads this that may change). But you are right, to get the best deal one has to lay out all the options and examine them closely or you can be cheated. My thoughts have always been, if they can afford to sell them at a descent price and make a reasonable profit then why not. Why introduce all the necessity of printing and using more paper and more aggravation when they could just sell to everyone at a reasonable price.


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!