The Lenscrafters Sales Vortex Will Not Let You Just Buy Frames

Ryun writes that his long search for the perfect eyeglass frames led him to Lenscrafters, but the store’s sales tactics left him confused, embarrassed, and without the frames of his dreams. Was he wrong to walk out on the chain when they pulled out sales tactics he wasn’t comfortable with?

I had a disappointing experience at LensCrafters yesterday that I’d like to share.

I’ve spent the last three months looking for awesome frames that I could wear every day for the next couple of years. After trying on about 300 pairs, I finally found ones that I wanted, but they’re exclusive to LensCrafters, which is outside my insurance network. I was seriously bummed until I checked out the LensCrafters website, and in the ‘insurance’ section, it says:

Out-of-Network Benefits
You don’t have to sacrifice style and selection just to stay in-network. At LensCrafters, we offer a 25% discount, in addition to your plan’s out-of-network benefits. Which means you can get the latest looks in eyewear at a great price.

I did the math, and with the $50 reimbursement I would get from my insurance after purchasing the glasses, I realized that I just might be able to buy my dream frames without my wife killing me for spending too much money. I called 5 stores in the [redacted] area, and one had them! I had them set aside for me, and made sure that the 25% discount applied. The person on the phone said it did, but he added that I “wouldn’t want to use it because of our 50% off lenses sale”

I have great insurance, and I can get 1.70-index lenses with all the bells and whistles for $170 (my insurance gives me a $350 discount); Lenscrafters doesn’t offer lenses at that index, and even with the 50% off, the price isn’t really comparable.

I begged out of work early, and got over to the store at around 4 p.m. The frames were there, and they looked great. I was given the 50% off lenses pitch, but I said that I already had a better deal from my optometrist, and I’d just like to buy the frames with the 25% discount I was quoted. Then it turned weird–like some sort of used car negotiation, which made me very uncomfortable. The associate that was helping me said he had to “talk to his manager”,” they talked, the manager came over and lectured me about how my insurance was out of network and didn’t have any agreement with LensCrafters–but he might be able to do me a favor and give me a 15% discount, without any explanation of why the 25% on the website didn’t apply. I felt hoodwinked and embarrassed, and I left.

What a sad tale of perfect eyewear gone horribly wrong. If I had to guess, I would say that the 25% discount applies only to a complete pair of glasses. Buying frames and taking them elsewhere for lenses messes with their business model, and probably voids the discount.


Edit Your Comment

  1. digital0verdose says:

    Well if you are not happy with a situation like this you are never in the wrong for leaving. Not really sure why that is even in question.

    However, since you had the manager right there, the OP should have put him/her on the spot about this 25% off deal and if the answer isn’t satisfactory and you feel so inclined, escalate it to the regional office or equivalent.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I agree – the OP certainly did the right thing and not purchased (glad to see someone on here finally do the proper first step) but he should also get the advertised discount. He should talk to corporate office.

    • nameless_one says:

      I can say having worked there previously that if you escalate an issue like this to a regional manager you could have got your discount. Most of the time if issues similar to this get escalated to a regional manager they’ll concede just because they are so busy with other crap.

  2. Tim says:

    I guess it all hinges on whether the 25% discount he found applies to complete glasses only or if it can apply to frames. If it was presented as applying to frames, he should get the discount. But I can’t see any indication of that.

    It sucks, yes, but it’s no mystery that businesses like bundling things and sometimes won’t give you the same deal if you don’t let them bundle. Usually, one thing in the bundle is very profitable, while the other isn’t. Although I don’t see why custom-made optical lenses would be the profitable one, while frames that are probably made of plastic are the unprofitable one.

    I say that if the OP wants to pursue it, it might be good to double-check that Lenscrafters doesn’t have the index he needs (well, wants … but basically needs, since super-thick lenses really suck). They might, and if they do, try to negotiate down to the same price you would have gotten through your insurance.

    • Dover says:

      I disagree, the wording on the website suggests that the discount applies to anything that is covered as out-of-network by the insurance company. The frames are covered, the discount should apply. Plus, he double-checked and the person on the phone said it did. He should call corporate and/or the district manager.

  3. MDSasquatch says:

    Who in the world has time to try on 300 pairs of frames? I use a local optometrist, while I am getting the exam, my wife picks out a few frames.

    When it comes time to deal, I simply tell them that they can add whatever they want to the deal as long as the insurance covers it. No more haggling involved.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I tried on, at the most, 20 pairs the last time I needed glasses. I know there are only a few styles that would actually work for my face shape, so everything else need not apply. It seems that the OP has never had glasses before and wouldn’t know what type worked well for his face.

      • RayanneGraff says:

        I have the same problem. When I got my latest set of glasses, I spent several hours across several stores trying on frames. I have a wierd face- oval with a pointy chin and high cheekbones, and very few styles flatter it. To add insult to injury, when I finally found a pair I liked, I was told that they wouldn’t work with my coke-bottle lenses(I’m a -9). I finally had to settle for some black horn-rimmed 50’s cat-eye style frames. But I’m still pissed about the frames that could have been, sigh…

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I tried on, at the most, 20 pairs the last time I needed glasses. I know there are only a few styles that would actually work for my face shape, so everything else need not apply. It seems that the OP has never had glasses before and wouldn’t know what type worked well for his face.

    • tbax929 says:

      Maybe he’s pickier about his frames than you are?

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      I’m guessing that was a colorful exaggeration

    • alaron says:

      You’re lucky in that you either have great insurance, or minimal needs. I require Trivex lenses, which are normally not covered, and high quality antiglare coating, which is normally not covered. I usually have to do a good bit of haggling… my lenses come out to cost $200-400.

      • MDSasquatch says:

        I have very good insurance for all of my families medical needs. 21 years in the USAF and a job with Uncle Sam have made things comfortable for my family

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        My prescription is over -9 in both eyes so unless I want Coke bottle lenses, I have to order my glasses from Europe. Last pair was $210 just to have new lenses put in my old frames, and that was a good deal.

        The highest index lenses available on Earth are unfortunately not available in this country. And my vision insurance picked up exactly $0 of the cost of my glasses because I bought a product that’s not “legal” in the US. Ugh.

        • Audiyoda28 says:

          Sorry man, but that’s simply not correct. So you’re a -9 (or higher) – not the end of the world. And the highest index available in the United States is 1.74 – that’s also the highest index you’ll find in Europe (in plastic). Some labs in Europe can offer 1.8 and 1.9 index glass – but you’re plain stupid to wear that.

          I ran some calculations through a optical analysis program I have (I’m a master optician with 19 years experience) and the difference in thickness from the 1.74 index lens and a more commonly available 1.67 index lens is .3mm. The difference between 1.67 and 1.90 glass? 1.90 glass is .7mm thinner – 7 tenths of a millimeter thinner.

          So using a -9.50 spherical lens as my base line, here are some numbers for you to think about:
          -Assuming a standard vertex distance, thinnest center allowable, and a 49mm lens size (round):
          1.67 plastic (MR10): Edge Thickness is 5.5mm, weight is 8.3g
          1.74 plastic (MR174): Edge Thickness is 5.0mm, weight is 8.3g
          1.80 glass: Edge Thickness is 5.1mm, weight is 21.0g
          1.90 glass: Edge Thickness is 4.8mm, weight is 23.8g

          So…you’re paying way too much for such a little gain. At my shop I’d sell you a 1.67 index aspheric lens all day long (even a bit thinner than 5.5mm) for around $110. And they wouldn’t come close to looking like coke bottles.

  4. raycarroll70 says:

    Laura, I would have suggested asking for the store’s DM phone #/email and why the SM at that particular store why they were not going to honor the Lenscrafters website’s offer.

  5. ralenn says:

    “If I had to guess, I would say that the 25% discount applies only to a complete pair of glasses. Buying frames and taking them elsewhere for lenses messes with their business model, and probably voids the discount.”

    Hmm. It shouldn’t have… I know at my store we would have probably given the same pitch but probably went ahead and sold the frame with the 25% discount.

    All stores tend to be different though, in terms of how the managers run things.

    Sorry he had a bad experience… We definitely try to take care of our customers, even those who are “out of network” or just buying frames.

  6. ConsumerPop says:

    What about just getting the frames with “plain” lenses in them? Sorry, I don’t wear glasses, so I don’t know the right lingo. But if you got the cheapest lenses they offered you’d still be getting a good deal, no?

    • eiberri says:

      They’re called Planos :)

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Do you mean ‘plain’ as in ‘no prescription’? Cause that’s not something Lenscrafters would do, AFAIK.

      • Dover says:

        I bought glasses with non-corrective lenses a few years ago (needed them for a play). I think these sorts of promotions are limited to prescriptions, though.

      • ConsumerPop says:

        Right, that’s what I mean, but then I realized they probably wouldn’t do it–hence just get whatever the cheapest prescription lenses you could get. I guess I would have been flat out “Look can you help me? What is the cheapest lens I can get so I can get the frames I really want?” But obviously they don’t seem like they were the kind of people willing to be so helpful.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Depending on the OP’s prescription, that could completely mitigate the entire reason to buy just the frames and take them to get superior lenses through his insurance company. Lenses really aren’t cheap. Even bargain basement type lenses aren’t cheap.

      • cautionmouse says:

        I don’t know if things have changed in the last year but selling the frames without a prescription is definately something lenscrafters can do. i’ve purchased three pairs of frames this way from them w/o prescription w/o problem, they just sell them to you with the plain plastic lens already in the frame.

      • erinpac says:

        Sure they will. I’ve bought non-prescription ones from there; sunglasses, props, etc.

        However, if he had they’dve wanted to give him 50% off lenses, and that wouldn’t be of much help on the cheap lenses.

    • alaron says:

      Lenses at LensCrafters are absurdly overpriced. I don’t recall exact numbers, but they are 2-3 times more expensive than a standard shop. Which is why they can give huge discounts.

  7. tweeder82o says:

    tweeter about it and get them fired a la lady from the live nation concert

  8. fjordtjie says:

    i had a weird glasses-shopping experience last weekend. this place, stanton optical, just opened up here and advertises everywhere 2 frames with lenses for $20, so my mom and i took the bait. inside, it was lined with hundreds of pairs of glasses. we asked the sales person about the 2 for 20 deal, and she walked us past all of the decent looking ones all the way to the back corner, to the ugliest, most out-dated section of about 40 pairs, of which only half were part of the deal–i’m talking halloween joke costume territory (i am not an idiot, i expected this). the other half were quadruple that, and just as ugly. i had noted a pair as we walked in that were almost $300 (and plastic) so the scheme was apparent and we walked out. now this is where their business model becomes really clear–a salesperson runs after us out the door and says ‘i have something for you’. at first you’re like, did i drop something, so you walk back. and she gives you a business card for 2 pairs for $100 (friends and family discount my ass!), similar to the other discount-glasses store in town. i will never trust a company with such smarmy tactics, so we took our business elsewhere–at least the price advertised by the other company is the price you’ll pay.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Not saying your experience didn’t suck, but plastic frames don’t mean they’re “cheap” – I have worn plastic frames for the past six years or so and they’ve held up extremely well. My doctor told me that the best way to minimize the thickness of my lenses (I have really horrible vision) was to basically cover them up with plastic frames, which are designed to be thicker than metal frames anyway.

      • fjordtjie says:

        i’ve worn plasic frames for years, but mine cost way, way less than $300 for the frames alone–these also weren’t name-brand, just cheap-looking plastic frames…for $300.

        • Vermifuge says:

          you over spent. if you know your sizes you could order a frame much cheaper on line. If you’re not concerned with specifics you could get away with $10

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        I get super-cheap sunglasses with plastic frames; I lose or break sunglasses often, and never saw the point of spending more than $10 on them. I have a pair of darks and a pair of ambers, and spent maybe $15 total for both.

        But I’m so glad I don’t need glasses for seeing. Yet…

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          I paid nearly $400 for a pair of prescription sunglasses. And I’ve never lost them. Trust me, when you’re aware you have that much on your face, you’re careful. Probably doesn’t hurt that I can’t see without them, so when I’m taking them off, I’m putting on regular glasses and already have a case in my hand.

      • Vermifuge says:

        Some people confuse Acetate with standard plastic frames too. I still think most frames are cheap pieces of junk stamped out of a factory in China.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        Agreed. I have an awesome pair of Oliver People’s eyeglasses that are basically flawless. I’ve been so happy with them I also bought plastic (resin) sunglasses by the same brand. They were both a pretty penny though.

        • Ziggie says:

          I have a pair of Oliver Peoples metal frames. They are awesome and have already lasted 2 times longer than other brands of frames usually last.

          • Entchen says:

            I’d never heard of Oliver Peoples until I purchased a pair of their sunglasses recently. They’re far and away my favourite pair of sunglasses to date.

      • Firethorn says:

        My choices are either metal or cheap plastic – and my prescription, even with high index, is such that it weighs enough that when you add a bit of sweat to the cheap plastic and they won’t stay on my face. So I go with metal.

    • dolemite says:

      I think this is the standard deal. I recall a local place doing “Buy a pair, get a pair free.” Well, the first pair was their normal $150 frames, then lenses, etc. The free pair was a box of old crap that no one would wear.

  9. tamaracks says:

    Considering that it’s insurance for a medical purpose, would insurance even cover buying a pair of frames alone? And if insurance doesn’t cover it, I could easily see LensCrafter’s policy not applying, since it’s to help people with out of network insurance. Just guessing. They should definitely spell it out better, though, if that is the case.

    • Dover says:

      I agree with your interpretation of the store’s policy. I don’t know how vision insurance works, but I got the impression that Ryun checked with the insurance company first and that they’d give him $50 towards the frames, though it isn’t clear and I could be wrong.

    • alaron says:

      Yes, most insurance plans will cover frame and lens separately. The kicker is that the frame warranty comes from the vendor that sold it, so if you buy it there and have your lenses done elsewhere you’re SOL on the warranty.

  10. Dover says:

    “Was he wrong to walk out on the chain when they pulled out sales tactics he wasn’t comfortable with?”

    Is this a consumer blog?

  11. slim150 says:

    why would you want to cheap out on something you use everyday.. and can almost define you appearance wise? if this was the one pair to rule them all i would still get them.

  12. mommiest says:

    I just checked their site, and I couldn’t find anything that said you had to buy their lenses if you wanted their frames. One special offer was for 50% off lenses IF you purchase frames, so I would assume they sell each separately. I can see why the OP thought he could buy the frames only.

    I would have walked, too.

  13. Robofish says:

    Lenscrafters also gives out a AAA discount. They don’t take my insurance but I typically go there just because it is so quick in that I can get an eye exam and new glasses pretty fast. The doctor at the one I go to is really nice, but not actually affiliated with lenscrafters the company.

    That stinks they did that though. Most likely my next pair will be from someone who takes VSP. Though I hope they carry my sweet Oakley frames. These things are super durable.

  14. crazydavythe1st says:

    I’ve walked away over stuff that this much more minor than this. I’d be livid over this. There is no indication that the particular store he went to would ever have actually honored the 25% discount. The whole thing could just be a way to get customers in the door, as it is easier to pull the “I’ll give you 15% as A FAVOR” crap in person than on the telephone.

  15. hypodermicart says:

    My husband buys his glasses online. There’s a crazy huge selection at some of the sites, and you can get single vision lenses and frames for like $8. They have the anti-scratch and glare coatings too. Usually the frames he’s gotten are around $20, but that’s still cheap enough that he doesn’t feel bad for getting several pairs.

    • Geekmom says:

      When he gets them online how does he get them adjusted to fit him properly? I’m thinking of trying that myself.

      • Vermifuge says:

        Your better off with a metal frame and a nice set of needle nose pliers. You can easily adjust any metal frame. It’s not so easy to adjust a plastic / acetate frame. You need a hot sand bath to soften the plastic.

        Before ordering on line, be sure you know your face dimensions and pupil distance. Don’t order rimless glasses without an actual optician.

      • hypodermicart says:

        His first frame was a bit too tight (he says he has a fat head, lol). But subsequent ones have worked out pretty well. You definitely need to know your head dimensions, but if you currently wear glasses the dimensions should be printed on the inside of the frame.

        As for adjustments, you can do them yourself. But he took some to Sears and they adjusted them for free with no questions asked.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        I’ve heard about microwaving plastic frames. I am sure the internet can provide specifics on how to do it and not totally screw up.

    • Christopher Wilson says:

      I was considering getting mine online, but I decided I needed to be able to try them first, so I went to BJs instead. Even at $230 (I got pretty much all the addons, transition makes them expensive), it was a way better deal than I’ve ever gotten at lens crafters or pearle vision. They do a huge markup because of the lenses in one hour, but when I got transitions at pearle I still had to wait a week or so because they were ‘special’.

      BTW to anyone who has a BJs near, the person in the optical department told me that you do not need to be a member to buy glasses/contacts there.

      • vastrightwing says:

        Yes, I tried that route at Costco, but they told me my prescription was too hard for them to make and they wouldn’t make them. I suspect BJs has a similar limitation. However, I prefer their honesty as opposed to Lenscrafters who told me my prescription was “no problem.” After 3 attempts, I got my back & left.

  16. pantheonoutcast says:

    What exactly was the OP “embarrassed” about? What part of this whole “ordeal” was degrading and soul-crushing?

    You took the time and energy to try on 300 pairs of glasses, and then when you find the “perfect” ones, you not only didn’t buy them because you didn’t understand the discount, but you then forlornly slink out of the store like a wounded bunny? Man up and buy the damn things.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t think that he misunderstood the discount, though. I think the store either misunderstood its own discount, misunderstood the OP, or was just plain scammy.

      However, I have to say that however much he’s paying for the frames and the lenses together is probably not an outrageous price, depending on his prescription. My glasses (frames and lenses) were $375. It seems to me that this is the first experience the OP has with buying glasses (since he tried on 300 pairs of frames) – he should get a baseline for what he should expect to pay for glasses.

    • Marshmelly says:

      The point is that they weren’t honoring the discount (or the discount was worded in a deceiving manner that excluded important information) – hence why it is on consumerist, not that he didn’t “understand” the discount.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        I think it’s clear that he thought he could buy the frames from Lenscrafters without lens for 25% off using the “out of network” insurance angle. However, he wasn’t having any prescription work done by Lenscrafters. I could just wonder in off the street and say, “hey, I’d like to buy these frames here, give me a 25% discount because you don’t take my insurance, but I’m not going to be using your optometry services.”? Unlikely.

        Since he’s not buying glasses, but merely buying frames, there’s no out of network insurance to consider at all. Lenscrafters also sells sunglasses. Should he be entitled to 25% off the purchase of sunglasses as well? No.

    • coren says:

      Not when they’re not at the price he wants he shouldn’t.

    • Vermifuge says:

      OP is probably young, fashion conscious, worried about his/ her reputation and new to the whole glasses experience. I have seen high school children act as though the wrong brand could be “the end of their social life.” OP probably does not have a lo of money and is trying to meet his / her peers approval on a strict budget. Mom and Dad probably set the ground rules on how they are to use the insurance too.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        Doubtful. From the article:

        “I realized that I just might be able to buy my dream frames without my wife killing me for spending too much money.”

        • Vermifuge says:

          In that case…

          “OP is probably young, fashion conscious, worried about his/ her reputation and new to the whole glasses experience. I have seen high school children act as though the wrong brand could be “the end of their social life.” OP probably does not have a lo of money and is trying to meet his / her peers approval on a strict budget.”

          just loose the last bit and add “OP is probably a tool.” at the end.

  17. cryptique says:

    I used to work in the optical field, and I got an occasional glimpse of wholesale price lists for frames. The markup on frames is where these places make their money — profit margins on lenses are very low/practically nonexistent.

    At the chain where I worked, you basically just had to have a pulse to get a 30% discount on the frame — because the markup was so high (think 1000% or more … yes, that’s a thousand, not a hundred) that taking 30% off the retail price still left plenty of profit and made the customer feel like he or she was getting a great deal (30% off? All the time? Wow!).

    Given all this, I’m not sure what Lenscrafters’ problem was. If they sell Ryun the frame at a 25% discount, they’re still making a killing on it.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      Huh?? It’s the exact opposite actually. Lenses are not branded. They get them for pennies. That is where they make their money. Frames can only be discounted so much. They get a sweet bulk discount and whatever deals they have with the manufacturer, but it’s much less of a profit margin due to money invested.

      • Vermifuge says:

        You confusing smal operations that have to order lenses outside there practice from large companies like “LensCrafters / Eye Examine 2000 who all the equipment to make lenses themselves.

        Typically a frame is about 250% markup. Yes more margin can be made especially on some of the cheap no name crap you get from a place like LensCrafters, Costco, or Walmart. Things get crazy when you buy a trendy label like Gucci, Prada, Etc. Often these frames are made in the same factories using the same process but they profit on the egos of people like OP who think image is everything.

        LensCrafters makes WAY more money off the lenses and can get away with selling cheap frames at little profit. That’s probably what happened in this case.

    • Tim says:

      So if the loss leaders are the lenses and the profit is in the frames, why would Lenscrafters demand that someone buying frames must also buy lenses?

  18. ExtraCelestial says:

    I had a similar scammy used car experience at a My Eye Doctor. I loved the glasses, and the price I went in for was a great deal but I did not appreciate all of the shady upselling. I bought elsewhere and will never go back.

  19. banndndc says:

    Haven’t gone back to lenscrafters since they claimed they couldnt sell me glasses without an eye exam.

    • thewildboo says:

      wow, that’s a shitty LC. I’ve gone to several and never had any problems bringing in an RX from my own doctor, or with anything else for that matter. They’ve actually gone out of the way to find extra discounts for me on occasion.

    • mrscoach says:

      They are correct in one repsect, you have to have a valid RX from a doctor that is less than 1 year old if you want to buy prescription eye glasses. If you had a prescription then they were legally bound to fill that ‘script.

      We won’t go back because they screwed up my son’s prescription, which he knew al most right away. He got a headache but they said he was just adjusting to the new prescription. The eye doctor’s office even said it was wrong when they checked it. LC kept saying it was correct. Ended up getting the money back and going elsewhere.

  20. thewildboo says:

    OP, you if you don’t already have it I recomment getting yourself a AAA membership. It costs something like $70/year, and among the many discounts you are entitled to is 30% off EVERYTHING at Lens Crafters. It easily pays for itself with that one purchase.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Or better yet, go somewhere else where the lenses and frames are marked up less and save more without a AAA membership.

      • JMILLER says:

        Seems that was NOT an option here, since the frames were EXCLUSIVE to Lenscrafters. Reading is fundemental

  21. schlmeil says:

    This exact same situation happened to me where I felt like I was in some mattress store trying to get upsold and downsold and sidesold all items at once. I found a pair of awesome frames, wrote down the style number and I ended up buying on where the prices were very reasonable without the haggle. Thank goodness of e-tailers.

    • Vermifuge says:

      Many of the frames at lLensCrafters are “exclusive” to the store. This is just a fancy way of saying cheap pice of crap. OP would probably not be able to find the same frame on line. OP could do much better to pick a nice brand and bid on eBay or order the same frame from another store like you recommended.

      This is basically what I have done in the past.

  22. AllanG54 says:

    Man up and if your wife gives you a little grief for spending what she thinks is too much on frames tell her she probably spends a lot more on make up over the time you’ll be wearing these glasses. Don’t be pussy whipped.

  23. Buckus says:

    So…selling the frames at probably $50 – $100 when they probably cost $5 to make, is a money-loser?

  24. imonroe says:

    Zenni Optical, people. Zenni Optical. My pair of bargain-basement lenscrafters glasses ran me almost $150 all told, and they broke permanently after 3 months.

    I bought two pair from Zenni Optical online, sunglasses which ran me $12 (with prescription lenses included) and my everyday pair, which I got for $35 (with prescription lenses included.)

    That’s less than $50 for two complete pairs of prescription glasses, including shipping. That’s a mere 1/3 the cost of a single cheap lenscrafters pair. The quality of these two pair exceeds lenscrafters in every way I can think of.

    The only reason to go to lenscrafters is to get a prescription, and a measurement of your pupilary distance. Other than that, you’re better off online.

    • Vermifuge says:

      This is probably the best advice in the thread. I would star this post if I had that ability!

  25. paul says:

    The entire eyewear & vision insurance industries are a big scam.

  26. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I hate Lenscrafters. I don’t care if they can get me lenses and frames in an hour. I hate them because I was tricked into getting some sort of photo of the inside of my eyes (which I found out later was useless and a way for them to get more money) and spent the next 20 minutes nearly blind because of the flash. When I tried to explain this to the doctor, she just threw up her hands in frustration and walked out of the exam room. I needed glasses desparately since mine had broken and they were the only place open on a Sunday.

    I managed to get the next day off and get my glasses semi repaired while I waited for a new pair to be made at a competitors store. I also had to fight my insurance because I never got a full eye exam from Lenscrafters. In the end I won, but it took nearly six months of back and forth between my eye insurance and Lenscrafters corporate.

  27. TheWraithL98 says:

    you don’t go to a car dealership to buy a set of seats for a car, this is no different.

  28. JGB says:

    I am having a little trouble reconciling “tried on 300 pairs” with “my wife”. Heterosexual males buy the second…maybe the third pair they try on. Any more than that and you lose your man card.

    The whole process, from breaking the old pair (the only acceptable reason to change) to swiping your credit card should take no more than an hour.

    • Vermifuge says:

      Although I agree 300 is a bit excessive, I disagree with your reasoning. There are a lot of shapes styles and trends to contend with. Many people like large lenses (before it became the trend) and it’s often hard to find good aviators when they style is not trendy. There are many reasons to try on more then 3 pairs.

  29. vastrightwing says:

    I had a bad experience with LC. The short story is that after 6 months and 3 tries, they just couldn’t make my lenses properly and I ended up getting my money back. If your prescription has too much correction or prism in them, don’t go near the place. Sure, they say they can make any lens for you, but I can tell you that they can’t. Their lens makers make mass produced lenses and anything out of the ordinary they can not handle. Costco told me they wouldn’t even attempt to order my lenses because they had the integrity to tell me upfront they couldn’t make them. The sad part is that the people making the lens for Lens Crafters had to know they were wrong, yet they shipped the lenses to the store as if they were right (three times). What business does that?

  30. El_Red says:

    Don’t bother writing to them, they just don’t care. I filed a complaint for very rude service, and never even got a response from corporate.

  31. thekevinmonster says:

    I’ve had varying success with Lenscrafters. My previous glasses came from them and when I actually bought the lenses and frames, it was no big deal. They were nice, helpful, and fast. The glasses were fine, although the lenses ended up losing their AR coating by the end. At that point, I needed new glasses anyway. My partner’s recent experiences have been very nice and easy to handle as well. It is a big alarming that they will give you 50% off lenses if you don’t have your insurance billed. That sounds like part of the reason why insurance is so expensive..

    However, when I first went to get glasses several years ago (the abovementioned pair), the first Lenscrafters I went to refused to help my mother and I (I was in college on break) since we weren’t looking at designer frames. Someone in a mink coat (no lie) came in after us and the sales lady actually excused herself to go help the lady looking at 500 dollar Christian Dior frames. This was in a very ritzy mall, but come on. A sale’s a sale.

  32. brilang says:

    Why am I shocked that anyone still visits bricks and mortar glasses stores? They’re all out to ding your wallet as hard as they can.

    Shop online (good roundup of help with online shopping, and links to various web stores here:

    I’ve been doing this for about 3 years now. I have 6 pairs of glasses, and I didn’t spend more than about $40 per pair including photochromatic lenses, and prescription sunglasses.

    There should be no problems with any prescription in this day and age. Lenses are no longer ground to the right prescription in the store – they simply select the right box and cut the lens to fit the glasses.

    The only trick to buying online is to get your Pupillary Distance (distance between your pupils). As long as you visit an optometrist that is not affiliated with a glasses store, you should be able to get this with no problem. Otherwise, they have a conflict of interest in that by not giving you your PD, they think they can get you to buy in a bricks-and-mortar store – and since you’re already here, why not buy from us! Ya. Conflict of interest all right.

    It’s not hard to buy online, just takes a bit of homework on your part.

    • Vermifuge says:

      I would like to add if you have Kaiser you can get an eye exam for around $25 even if you don’t have the vision package. They even offer frames and lenses for about $100 without the extra coverage (I think they are fully covered if you have the vision package) This is a great deal thats hard to beat even at Costco or Walmart.

      I had my eyes checked and a pupil distance measurement in all of about 15 min.

    • hypodermicart says:

      Glassyeyes is great! It even offers discounts on online places, and has a lot of info. My husband is practically an evangelist about that site!

  33. calchip says:

    I second the post about Zenni Optical. Bought 3 pairs of glasses, two of them progressive bifocals, and one set of frames was the flexible titanium (nearly impossible to break). Total bill for all 3 pairs (lenses and frames)? $70! It took about 2-1/2 weeks to get my glasses, but it was worth the wait. I had them checked by my local optometrist, and the prescriptions were fine.

    Prior to bifocals, I used to shop at Four Eyes exclusively. MUCH less expensive than LensCrafters and the other chains, plenty of inexpensive-but-nice frames, great service. If you’re going to go bricks-and-mortar, they are the people to use, but honestly, Zenni has won me over with great prices, simple ordering, and a decent selection of frames and lenses.

  34. Retired Again says:

    I was a loyal Lenscrafters customer. THEN we bought Titanium frames and 3 years later they refuse to give us (Two) new lens. They sold us on idea that the Titaniums last a LOOONG time and they have. Great shape still.
    Went to a competitor and THEY happily fit new lens for us.

  35. Tedsallis says:

    Nothing will come of this, Lenscrafters does not care. After my last experience with them I’ve decided to go elsewhere.

  36. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    If they have a price on the frames, he should be able to buy the frames. I know that the price on the frame doesn’t cover lenses, so if they make you buy frames with lenses, the complete price should be listed on the glasses.

  37. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Okay, I just really looked at the details. I think Ryun is trying to take advantage of a policy. Insurance normally helps pay for glasses (with lenses) so people can actually see correctly. I’m guessing that if you went out and just decided to buy new frames only so you could be fashionable and didn’t actually need the lenses, the purchase would be disallowed. I would think you would have to buy the lenses and the glasses at the same time in order for insurance to cover it. So, I think that Lens Crafters is being fair on this issue. Frames and glasses are two different things.

  38. Jaws_Victim says:

    I work at a Jcpenney optical, policy is that if you want to buy a frame off the board with no R/X lenses you get 25% off. We’ll try to upsell you, (Who doesn’t?) Because we are also having a 50% off sale, but if you say no I’ll just sell you the damn glasses because a sale is a sale.

  39. rcp says:

    This is the guy who had the problem to begin with, and the manager has since called me and told me that my frames are waiting for me, with the 25% discount included. That’s all I wanted.