That’s the way I like it. Long odds against … well, impossible odds.
I made my time (sic) and said my goodbyes. “Goodbye, iPod. Goodbye, iMac. Goodbye, iPad. Goodbye, Apple TV.” I’m only human so I brought the iPad with me. I knew we would make a fine Thelma & Louise moment together.
I was going to that McDonalidzed experience at the strip mall where they make eyeglasses. What the hell, you can only die once.
I made sure to bring my blue pen. We were decidedly heading out past the point of no return.
I squinted and turned to face my destiny. I took that warm feeling spreading through my pants as a sign I was doing the right thing.
The last trip to Mt. Hood was the tipping point. We got home and my only pair of eyeglasses were gone.
I briefly considered retracing our steps over hundreds of miles and re-climbing that mountain rather than going to the eyeglasses store. It was too horrible to contemplate. I mean, what would you do?
It turned out the glasses were only in the side pocket of the car door. But still. It made me think. It was time to get some new glasses. Mine were 25 years old, badly deformed, and held together by spit, rubber bands and paper clips. It was time.
In a flash of brilliance, I thought, Hey, how about one of them places that advertises two pairs for only $69.95?
What can I say? I was desperate. But I’m much more than a guy who volunteered with NASA for the one-way mission to Mars. Much more. After consulting with my wife and my priest, I decided to make the attempt. Why climb Mount Everest? Because it’s there.
I knew the struggle would be great. I knew I make not make it home alive and, even if I did, I might irrevocably be changed. Forever. Great reward cannot be achieved without great risk. And I’m nothing if not a risk taker.
I prepared as best I could. Much like my battles with the cable companies and their “bundles” I knew that the eyeglasses store would be about upgrades. They were going to come after me with everything they had. It would be a fight to the death.
Two pairs of eyeglasses for only $69.95? Can you imagine such a thing?
The day finally arrived. My wife, my iPad and myself walked into the store. There were a bunch of hot girls wearing white lab coats like pseudo-scientific librarians. Well played. They knew what the hell they were doing. At least they didn’t have Mumford & Sons playing on the radio. I resolved to stay strong!
Since we were new customers we had to fill out some forms. That experience is documented fully in the previous post entitled My Blue Pen.
The plan was my wife would go first. My appointment was 15 minutes later. But she had a current prescription so they skipped the exam. She was already done while I was on my way in.
“Ingress,” I squawked via my imagination to my wife. “Feet wet. Check six. Check six! You got a bogey on your tail, angels 11 at 3:00pm.” I hoped I had programmed our DVR correctly.
In the little room the technician did her thing. Soon came the first pitch. It turned out that the “eye exam” did not include (at the base price) a procedure that would check my eyeballs for an arcane concept known as “health.” You know, things like tumors, diabetes, etc. After all, when you get your eyes examined, who gives a flying fuck about their actual health? I agree. That should cost extra. Clever bastards.
Say what you will about these retail practitioners of eye care but they really care about their customers. Pay extra or your fucking eyeballs can rot out of your head. Got it!
My wife wasn’t with me but I still made a decision. Yes, I would pay the $15 and get my eye health checked. I’m kinda partial to my eyes. I use them to see and stuff. This entitled me to take a brief extra test which I apparently scored 100 percent (to the amazement of the doctor). My eyes were okay!
Back out to the lobby and I saw they were already working on my wife. They had talked her out of the old deal of two pairs of glasses for $69.95. The new deal was one pair of glasses for about $500.
Five hundred dollars!!!
(My emphasis added.)
Did you want the eyeglasses to exist in the physical universe? There’s a fee for that! Then came the upgrades: Undercarriage coating, anti-reflective glare coating, scratch resistant coating, transitions, polarization, NeverGlare, yada yada yada.
I did consider NeverGlare because I’m trying to be a nicer person.
I helped my wife negotiate them down to about $380 for a single pair. Ah, defeat!
Then it was my turn.
“Do you want…”
“No, thank you.”
“What about the…”
“No. No. No. A thousand times no.”
I did not care to worry about scratches. I did not care to worry about shattering if the glasses got dropped. I did not want the lenses to “transition” to anything. I did not want bifocals, trifocals, quadfocals or any other kind of focals. I did not want protection against glare. I did not want them tinted. I did not want them to go squee. I did not want them in a tree.
The pseudo-scientist librarian was started to become agitated. The pleasant demeanor she had exhibited with my wife was long gone.
“I hope it won’t get you fired,” I said, “if a customer actually takes advantage of the offer exactly as advertised.” I can can be so cute sometimes!
She assured me it wouldn’t.
Finally, in resigned exasperation, she pushed a document over for me to sign. It showed a price of $150.
“That’s not $69.95,” I wisely said.
“That’s the price for your two pairs of glasses,” she replied.
I turned and gestured towards the wall that was plastered millions of times with “$69.95” in a font size larger than the Eiffel Tower. “How do I get that price?” I asked.
“You are getting that price,” she said.
What the fuck? Am in the Twilight Zone? I wondered.
“I’m going to try to be clear. What’s not the same about $150 and $69.95? Think about this. Something is different. What is it?”
I looked around for Abbott and Costello but they were nowhere in sight. My new eyeglasses hadn’t been made yet.
Finally we found out that she had included the anti-glare coating that only seconds before I had expressly said, “Do not want.” Morosely she turned back to her little keyboard and typed a bit.
“There,” she announced finally. “$84.95.”
She must have seen my eyes squint in response.
“You did opt for the eye health check,” she said defensively. “That’s an extra $15. You agreed to it.”
Well played. I gave in. The game was over. “You got yourself a deal.” I signed and paid.
The no-win scenario? I don’t believe in the no-win scenario. Cadet, you are looking at the only man to (almost) beat it and get two pairs of eyeglasses for $69.95.