As previous posts have shown, I have a psychologically tortured relationship with Costco. I loathe the conceit that everything there is a bargain, but for the exact same commercial goods found elsewhere, they are often cheaper than Amazon. Their dairy prices compete with those at Smart & Final, so I will buy milk and eggs there, but be thoroughly chagrined when I discover that in one particular weeks, say, the eggs were actually cheaper at Smart & Final where I didn’t have to suffer the indignity of door nazis. Peter and I will insouciantly stroll around, sneering at the punters navigating their giant douchebag carts (or, more subtly said, GDCs), trying to ignore the fact that we’re at Costco, too, and, ooo, isn’t that a great deal on some entertainment DVDs….
Well, it was time to get Neil an eye exam (after 3 years) and new glasses. I had booked an eye exam at a respectable discount optometrist, Site for Sore Eyes, when Peter reminded me that Costco sold glasses, too, and they were highly rated by Consumer Reports. I dragged Neil to the Costco optometrist, who could easily provide the exam for a little bit less than it would cost at Site for Sore Eyes. So Neil got his eye exam while I gawped at the super packs of whole trout and avoided the GDCs rushing into the sample food tables.
The exam was fine, as far as these things go. The optometrist was crammed in a tiny, stuffy room, but we got Neil’s eye prescription, which we could take anywhere. I foolishly and naively took it to the eyeglasses section in Costco. Neil, who shares our family disdain for Costco, begged me not to make him wear Costco glasses. Besides, he liked the frames he had already, so all we needed were new lenses. I had run out of my cash because unlike the typical Costco customer, I don’t carry huge wads of cash with me, and I leave my checks at home where I use them to pay off my bills. But since we wouldn’t be getting the lenses right now, I could pay when I picked them up, right?
Trying to get Costco glasses was the Costco experience I remember. The checkout lines have actually not been too bad lately, though I do notice that if there’s any chance of getting through in less than 5 minutes, a manager will run up and close down lines. But to get glasses, I had to take a number, and stand around with the many other fools who thought this was a good idea for some reason. We waited and waited and waited, until finally, 45 minutes later, we sat down and asked what it would cost to get new lenses for Neil’s glasses. It’s hard for any American to be as snotty as a Soviet shopgirl (and no, not even the DMV gets close), but this clerk made an effort. It would take 2 weeks to get the new lenses; it would be $49 plus $18 for our temerity not to get Costco frames, and if I didn’t pony up the cash right now, it was a no go. It was a no go. We left.
I found out I could get new lenses for Neil’s glasses for as little as $30 online, but that became moot when Neil lost (or misplaced) the glasses, no doubt partially due to the trauma of the full-on Costco experience. Peter’s a big believer in just getting things done, so on Sunday night we headed over to Site for Sore Eyes to get Neil new glasses with lenses. Unfortunately, Site for Sore Eyes was closed, but Lenscrafters, in the mall across the street was still open, and with current specials was reasonably enough priced for us to shop there. Neil found some great Ralph Lauren glasses, and by the next morning, they had lenses cut and set in for him. I don’t know why people were raving about Costco glasses–they weren’t considerably less expensive, and the 45 minute wait (which would be undoubtedly be repeated for pick up) plus having to wait another 2 weeks for lenses which other stores can make in an hour or less is odious.
So Neil didn’t get Costco glasses (and the optometrist is officially Costco-independent). I believe we all have more dignity as a result.