25 January 2009

Showdown At The Underground

As much as I knew I had to do it, I did not want to fight management at Optical Underground. Yes, it was an OU employee's mistake that cost me an extra $172, but I felt partially responsible. I've been wearing glasses since I was 3, and contacts since I was 15 or so. Shouldn't I have realized the prescriptions are not the same? Maybe. But it was never my job to know that. It was hers. And my money shouldn't be used to make up for that.

I decided to write a letter to the owner once I got my new glasses. I saw no reason to give anyone there reason not to like me while they still had my vision in their hands. Some people don't take criticism well. My glasses were supposed to be ready ten working days after I ordered them.Construction only took three days the first time around, so by day nine, I had convinced myself of a conspiracy to keep my glasses long enough to make me forget my complaint. I went into OU on a Saturday, both to check on my glasses and hopefully lodge my complaint without having to type it up and make copies of my supporting documentation. Neither mission was accomplished.

The OU employee responsible was the only one there. She's friendly and not a manager. I really didn't want to ask her about it at all - because she might have tried to save face. Then I would have had to be that customer, bringing up the same problem more than once. Plus my glasses weren't ready.

I went back Thursday (days after someone called me) with the intention of speaking to a manager. I did not feel like writing a letter. Optical Underground is not a chain or a corporation, there's just one store. I couldn't expect to hide behind words and expect a check in the mail. Aside from that, the idea of a letter was daunting. I wanted to convey my being - that I'm not the type of person who agrees to something then tries to change the terms. I wanted to explain I honestly did not know about the different prescriptions and that (while it may have been an honest mistake on her part) I cannot live with less than perfection for my eyes. I put it upon myself to say a lot in that letter, and as a result couldn't bring myself to write anything at all. So I settled for settling face to face, with someone who had not been directly involved.

I spotted two managers and the OU employee in question when I went into the store. Eventually she was the one who helped me. She got my glasses for me and went on a search for an authentic J.F. Rey case, which I did not have before. She was helpful and efficient. But I was there to potentially get her in trouble. I did not abandon my mission.

It was time to face my foe. I told her I paid for the lenses twice and would like a refund. She looked at the prescriptions and said "I should have caught that." She called a manager over, showed him the two prescriptions, and the decided to issue a refund over what they were calling a "doctor redo." There was no such redo, but I got my $172 back anyway. No hard feelings. No embarrassing moments. And one nifty case.

Proof that everything is linked: someone called me about an Emmy submission. It would fantastic to win another one, and I think those involved deserve to win. Plus -- look how happy it makes my parents. There was just the matter of cost. Yes, it costs money to ask to be considered for a nomination. Specifically $180. I just so happen to have about that much ready to spend. My boots are going to have to wait.