You have to buy a pair of glasses. You can buy a pair for $50 or a pair for $500.
What would you do?
How about this, the $500 pair of glasses are purchased from your local optometrist, the one who does your eye test every year. The other pair come from the internet after your local optometrist tests you and gives you your prescription.
Would that influence your decision? Should it?
I have a couple of friends who recently chose to purchase glasses from the internet rather than from the brick and mortar optometrist office where the eye test was performed.
That’s got to be scary for local optometrists.
There’s a lot rolled up in that $500 cost. In addition to paying themselves, they have to give a cut of the profits to the companies that make and ship the frames that hang on the walls and don’t forget the employees who work there, the ones who make your appointment and send you your reminders and your bills.
There’s also advertising, accountants, and the heating and cooling of the brick and the mortar – and what happens to those employees when nobody buys $500 glasses anymore?
Ask anybody who lost their job due to the technological advancements.
You still have to see the eye doctor to get the prescription – so the cost of the test still goes to the brick and mortar establishment. But it’s going to take a lot more than that to keep them in business.
“Those glasses won’t last a year,” you say. Well heck, at $50 a pair, you could buy two pair a year for 5 years before you’ve spent $500. And if you have children who wear glasses, you know how hard it is to keep a pair intact for a year.
My friend loves the $50 glasses, in fact the price was so wallet-friendly that my friend went back and purchased a few more pair, just to have extras on hand. Imagine having a half-dozen frames to pick from every morning.
The optometrist isn’t happy about this and it’s not hard to see why. I’m not sure who is making the $50 glasses, but I know that for a lot of families that cost means a lot to their budget.
The cost of designer frames is rarely covered by vision insurance, and few people these days even have vision insurance.
So what do you do? Do you do your part to keep the brick and mortar businesses in business by paying the $500 or save yourself some dough and pay $50?
I don’t know that the $50 frames are made in the U.S.A. – but I’m also 80% certain that the $500 frames aren’t made in America either.
We bemoan the loss of small business, but we shop at big box stores that are the reason for their disappearance. We argue about the loss of American jobs, but we also want the best bang for our buck.
I’m not sure how I feel about this, I’m determined to save money when possible, but I’m equally determined to support small businesses, I think it’s good for our society and our economy. So, what would you do?
Brenda’s column appears most Mondays at noon.