06 January 2009

The $172 Oversight

I'm not proud to admit it, but I got caught in the underbelly of "flex" spending. When I got to San Francisco, I thought I was due for immediate surgery. So when the HR representative asked me if I wanted to set aside money for medical expenses, I thought it was a perfect opportunity. I also thought I had a year to spend it. I was wrong. I did not have a year. I had the year. It wasn't until the payroll deductions did I realize I was committed to spending $1000 on medical supplies in three months. Fortunately, I was born to spend. I filled a sweater box with all sorts of medical supplies, and then some. I also bought two pairs of glasses.

The first pair is multi-colored and has what Jesse calls "racing stripes." They were designed by J.F. Rey and I got them at Optical Underground. I like them because they compliment my face. They're also bold and remarkable. Jesse thinks they're too much. Personally, I think he suffers from 20/20 vision. He thinks glasses have to be all business and can be only a little fun, but not cool. He wants me to look like a professional, so people stop treating me like a child. I say professionals can be fun, and that those with the lowest expectations of me have only themselves to blame.

The second pair is a basic black, with a clear outline. They were designed by Ralph Lauren and I got them at For Eyes. Jesse didn't comment on them at all upon first glance (mostly because I was screaming about spinach) but he says he loves them. I picked up the second pair today, then had to return the first pair because a prescription is not a prescription.

Let's go back (quickly) to when I left Vegas. I had a year's worth of contact lenses, and a typed out prescription signed by my optometrist. That's the same prescription I handed to the woman at Optical Underground when I decided on the fun frames. A week later, I was seeing in style. A week after that, I handed the same prescription to Eillen at For Eyes and she said: "This is not right. This is a prescription for contact lenses." I told her it was the only prescription I had. She informed me every optometrist must give an exam for glasses while they give one for contacts. All she had to do was call, get a consent form for me to sign, and they would fax my prescription for eyeglasses - which I now know is not the same as it is for contacts. Today I picked up the new glasses and the difference was... well it was as plain as the glasses on my face. The fun glasses had the wrong prescription, etched on custom lenses.

Back to Optical Underground I went, with the proper prescription. I explained the issue to Woman B, who I have seen there but who did not take my initial order. Woman A (who did take my order) was there and on a personal phone call. I showed the dueling prescriptions to Woman B and she was confused, because my contact prescription was weaker than my eyeglass prescription. She thought it should be the other way around and asked Woman A. Woman A said no, the eyeglasses are stronger than the glasses. She then pointed to the eyeglass prescription and said: "This is for glasses, the other one is for contacts." She was so authoritative about it, I became angry.

The difference is easy to find. A contact lens prescription has a measurement for your cornea. An eyeglass prescription doesn't. Woman A knows this. Still, she failed to notice it when I first ordered. Woman B felt bad for me, I could see it on her face. I had to buy new lenses. Not only are they shaped specifically for my frames, but one eye is legally blind, the other is twice as strong. I can't get lenses off any imaginary shelf. Woman wrote out my order and gave me the web site coupon discount. Still, the lenses were $172. And just like that I was out of a pair of knee-high, square-toed, wedge-heeled boots.

I'm not satisfied with the resolution. Typically the person at fault should be the person who pays. Woman A should have noticed just as soon as Eillen did. But shouldn't I also take responsibility for not knowing the ins and outs of my eyeballs? I should have realized there was a different prescription for different lenses. But thinking back, I don't know how I could have. Someone wasted time making custom frames no one will be able to use. I paid for those lenses, and they will never serve me. Woman A made a mistake and she had no repercussions. No sir. I don't like it. It put me in a bad mood. And things (on the first day of my 2009) got worse from there.