Monday, February 20, 2012

Eye've Had Enough

In this rough economy, I have found a need, a niche for some enterprising young soul out there.

There are kid clothing stores and kid restaurants and kid hair cutting places.  There are kid dentists and kid pediatricians and kid shoe stores.  But there is not a kid's eye glasses place. 

Going to get spectacles for my daughter, I had to bring my youngest seven. It was not ideal but it was necessary.  I'd put it off for a week hoping to find an easier path to take, an easier way to make it happen, but this was one of those chores one would have to will into existence. 

For the record, Bleah.  I hate those. 

Eye glasses stores always try to make it look posh and sophisticated, easy breezy and lovely.  Walking into them always feels like a cross between a jewelry store and a library.  I generally do not take my children to jewelry stores.  As for libraries, I do not take them to the latter place without two or three older children to act as border collies.  One could hear the collective gasp as we walked in, both from clientele and the people who worked there.  Poor folks, this was a horde streaming into the store. My middle son rolled his eyes as I had five of them sit down and handed him his younger brother with the hopeful but not really meaningful instruction, "Be good." so I could sign us in. 

The manager eagerly took my insurance card and told my daughter to look at frames.   I hoped he would see the crowd I'd assembled and take pity and expedite our time.  No such luck. Apparently, we'd hit rush hour and half of the DC area had come in for specs.  My daughter blissfully tried on one after another until I explained she was limited to those that were covered by our insurance.  I also didn't want the clerk to have a nervous breakdown from the pyramid  pile of spectacles she'd stacked up.

Spending the next half hour playing I'll hold you and you and you'll hold him and we'll just pray the other three behave themselves had me churning out the "Hail Mary's" in my head although my lips may have been moving some of the time.  My oldest son there was muttering, "Don't read the contract, just sign the thing so we can go." Privately I agreed but I wasn't about to say so.

When we finally got our turn to be served, I'd successfully been negotiated by my daughter for McDonald's for lunch.  Truthfully, they could have held out for a car, dog and deluxe vacation in Europe. Anything, just give me five more minutes.  I know bribing is frowned upon but every parent who has ever been in the fix of the untenable unknowable waiting period for an errand that is already in progress has succumb to the need to acquiesce to the minority demands. It's reality.

The man sat down. I sat down holding my baby and a toddler who had refused to sit with her sister and wanted to go behind the counter.  She promptly went boneless and I attempted to have a conversation with the man while juggling semi invertebrate children.  "Hello. We just want to order her glasses and go." I said. 

After trying on several pairs and selecting one, he said he had to check the computer. He came back and told me that we couldn't get a frame this year, we'd have to wait until next year.  "Fine. Just pop the lenses from this one and put in the new ones." I answered.

He went to  check his computer again. 
"I'm sorry, we don't have that lens in the shop. We'll have to order. Come back in a week." Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain. I'd bribed my children with McDonald's for what? To come back next week.  My daughter is sad and sulking because she'd found a new pair she'd fallen in love with thanks to the good service of the gentleman who praised her for her fine taste.  I now have seven irritated put upon people who want McDonald's and an unfinished errand.  

Defeated, discouraged and demoralized, I started the long drive home, ever mindful --six people are reminding me, that I PROMISED McDonald's.  Never have I surrendered money for happy meals less willingly.  I felt robbed, jipped.  I'd given up something for nothing.  Then I remembered how desperate I was in the store.  So I'm hoping by sharing my pain, someone will figure out how to create a shop that 1) checks your insurance before making you wait half an hour and 2) services kids only. Maybe having a TV or something to distract those who must sit and wait for drops to take effect or get lenses or whatnot. Maybe selling french fries.  Maybe those glasses with the fake nose and mustasche for non eye impaired siblings.

In the meantime, we will sojourn back there again next week. Here's hoping they don't figure out how to hold out for a trip to Europe. 

1 comment:

Karen said...

I dread any time I need to shop for glasses for my two older girls or take them to get them adjusted. Just finding decent glasses for children is a huge challenge. We used to have a place near us that specialized in kids glasses but they got priced out of their store. The great service and selection made the outrageous prices tolerable.

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