So I had such a great customer service experience today that I have to share. And as is my bad habit, I will certainly be longwinded in telling the story, but I really do want to rave about this business, because they totally made my day.
I’ve worn glasses since I was a young child, and the simplest way to explain the state of my vision throughout most of my life is to tell you that I’m blind as a bat. I can’t make out the details of people’s faces from even 6-8 feet away. Before the advent of modern optometry, I would have basically been functionally blind. It’s that bad, which means that I never, ever go anywhere, any time without my glasses. I take them off just before I close my eyes each night, and I put them on each morning before getting out of bed. They are a permanent fixture on my face. I certainly couldn’t ever drive without them, and really, even walking down the street sans spectacles would be a bad idea. Someone could get hurt.
I am Magoo.
But as bad as my eyesight is, it really hadn’t changed much over the years until about nine months ago when I suddenly – and I mean very suddenly – realized I could no longer read small print up close, like on a medicine bottle. This was a radically new development, and it alarmed me to the point that I decided I needed to immediately get my eyes checked/new glasses made for the first time in a really long time.
The last time I got new glasses (after sitting on the last pair and breaking them), several years ago, I didn’t know any eye doctors, so I just picked a place that looked convenient: Dr. Bizer’s Vision World at East Town Mall. This worked out fine, so this time, when I realized I needed a new prescription, I headed back to Dr. B’s. I went in on a Saturday, had my eyes examined by a very nice optometrist, and was informed that indeed, I needed new glasses. In fact, I was told that I needed bifocals that would allow me to see the things I’d always needed glasses to see, along with the tiny, up-close things I had only recently become unable to see.
They also talked me into some reading glasses, which I was supposed to wear when I knew I’d be focused on small, up-close print for a long enough period of time that I didn’t want to deal with looking through the right spot in the bottom half of the bifocals. The people were all very friendly and nice at Dr. Bizer’s, and by the next day, they had my two new pairs of glasses ready, both made up in the exact same frames as my old pair (after 33 years of wearing glasses, I’ve discovered what I like.)
Unfortunately, the snazzy new bifocals never seemed to work right. I still couldn’t see tiny things very well, and I definitely couldn’t see anything else as well because the magnifying part of the lenses seemed to get in the way. As far as the reading glasses went, well, I just never used them; Since I already rely on prescription sunglasses whenever I am outside, that third pair of glasses was just more than I could keep up with. The whole new glasses initiative had clearly been a big waste.
So after a few months, I stopped wearing the new bifocals altogether, and just went back to my old pair of glasses. When I needed to read teensy things, close up, I just lowered my glasses and squinted. I found that this worked fine – far better than the bifocals, which I left sitting on my dresser in my bedroom. Last week, my one year old niece NC found the bifocals and proceeded to destroy them. No biggie, since I never wore them, right? Well, then today at about 6:30 pm, as I was walking out of my office building and switching from my regular Mr Magoo eyeglasses into my Magoo-strength sunglasses, I dropped the former onto the pavement, and they shattered. Suddenly, I was left with no eyeglasses at all, except the sunglasses.
For most people, going without eyeglasses for a day or so would be no big deal. For me, it’s a really untenable proposition. I would be completely homebound, and really uncomfortable even in that setting. Yes, I really am that blind. And to make matters worse, this problem arose at 6:30 pm today, and I need to leave at 6 am tomorrow morning to drive three hours to Nashville and get J on her flight to California. When and how would I get new glasses made in the next 12 hours?
So I called Dr. Bizer’s Vision World, and explained that I had broken my glasses and needed to get new ones made. I also explained that I wanted to have them made up from my previous prescription, which they should have on file, rather than the more recent bifocal one. I explained that I’d never been happy with the bifocals, and that I had reverted to my old, pre-bifocal glasses. So any new lenses needed to match the older ones.
The employee with whom I spoke was very nice, but she told me that they were quite backed up at 6:30 pm on a Friday evening, and that there was no way they could promise me new glasses before closing time at 9pm. After looking up my records, she also explained that since my old prescription was more than 3 years old, they couldn’t create glasses with it; it was “dead.” And since my newer prescription was more than 90 days old, and I’d never complained about it during that three month period, the warranty was void. So basically, she was telling me that not only could I not get glasses made that evening, I would also need to get a new eye exam if I wanted to change my most recent, unsatisfactory prescription.
At this point, I got a little cranky. The idea of not having any eyeglasses other than my sunglasses until I could get this all straightened out was very unsettling to me. Yes, unsettling is a strong word, but seriously, for people who are as blind as I am, you know what I am talking about. Not having glasses when you can’t see an arm’s length past your face is pretty debilitating. This level of blindness makes you feel totally vulnerable. And practically speaking, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to manage this 8 hour round trip getting-child-sent-away-on-first-unaccompanied-plane-trip-trip early tomorrow morning with nothing but my very dark prescription sunglasses – so dark that I can’t really see indoors with them on.
So I explained this to the woman on the other end of the phone – all about how I couldn’t see, and how the bifocals didn’t work and how the sunglasses were all I had, and how I had to safely get my child onto an airplane halfway across the state in only 12 hours, etc, etc, etc… I was really just sort of venting; she had already told me that there was nothing they could do, so I was expecting her to politely hear me out and then say goodbye. But instead she listened attentively and then responded with genuine concern.
“Well honey,” she said. “I am looking at your prescription, and with your bad eyes, there is no way we are gonna let you drive to Nashville tomorrow morning without your glasses! And you sure can’t go all weekend without glasses. We have just got to figure something out!”
She asked me to hold while she talked to her manager. So I did, but I could hear the whole conversation, as the two of them tried to figure out how they could shuffle things around that evening to make sure I had glasses by the time they closed in 2.5 hours. They seemed genuinely concerned as they brainstormed on my behalf. Then she came back on the phone and told me that I should bring my unused reading glasses in, and they would just pop the lenses out and use those frames in order to prevent me from having to spend money on brand new frames. And she told me they would just whip up some new lenses based on the non-magnifying part of my current bifocal prescription, so these glasses could essentially be changed back to my old, “dead” prescription without me having to get a new eye exam.
“Now you hurry over here as fast as you can,” she urged in her friendly way. “We’ll be waiting for you.”
And they were. When I got there, the woman at the front desk immediately recognized my name, and asked me if I was the “woman who needed glasses right away so she could take her little girl to Nashville in the morning.”
Why yes, yes I am, I replied happily.
Each person in the store who helped me over the next hour seemed genuinely eager to play a part in solving my problem, with which they all seemed familiar, and they all appeared to be as happy as I was when the nicely finished product was perched on my nose within 60 minutes. Yep, I was wearing my snappy new glasses before the sun went down outside the mall, meaning I didn’t have to do any nighttime driving in sunglasses, which – despite what Corey Hart would have you believe – isn’t really very safe.
So that’s my amazing customer service story. Dr. Bizer’s Vision World rocks. I can’t recommend them highly enough. Please share my tale with friends and neighbors, and send some more business their way. Because they deserve it.