Get Prescription for new glasses: check!
Get new glasses: check also!
Get the actual glasses in your hot little hands on your hot little face: Will do, cap’n!
The process so far has been kind of, bordering on extremely, painful, I think we can all agree, but now there’s a finish line; a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will. This gives me ridiculous hope, which is a mistake you’d think I’d have stopped making in these kinds of cursed scenarios! But no, hope actually does spring eternal.
Anyway, after 5-10 days (which actually was 11, but who’s counting? ME! I’M COUNTING!) I get the call from New Guy, letting me know my glasses are there. I show up with a good hour before closing, figuring all I have to do is three little things: 1) give plastic money card, 2) sign receipt saying “here, have a big wad of not-real money, on the promise that eventually I’ll give you real money, in exchange for my hard-fought-for glasses”, 3) take new glasses. That should take all of 5 minutes, right? 10 minutes if I forget how to spell my own name. No problem!!
The only person working the store when I get there is New Guy. But me, I’m optimistic. “He’s had almost 2 weeks by now, surely he’s feeling more confident? Surely he’s less panicky? Surely he’s going to be able to help me with this very simple task?” Plus we get off to a good start. He finds the glasses (good start #1) AND they’re the right ones (good start #2). And I’m thinking that we’re almost scott free – give that man your Department Store card and flee! And right then New Guy asks me to try them on to make sure they fit right.
See, I’d forgotten that another mutant aspect of me is that my ears are not level. Or my eyes aren’t. Or my head is crooked, something, all I know is that when I put nice, normal glasses of any kind onto my face they are NOT STRAIGHT. There is an extremely visible and unsettling difference between where the right and left lens hits my face. It looks a lot like I’m near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in one cheekbone. But it had been such a long time since I last had to adjust any glasses, so I’d really forgotten. And as these new glasses slid down the left side of my face I had that feeling of impending doom, because there was nobody to help New Guy adjust them. We were on our own.
I must say this: his heart was in the right place all the way. He didn’t shy away from the task at hand, and he said with all the sincerity in the WORLD: “you spent a lot of money on these glasses and you should be 100% happy with them.” These are good words. These are the kinds of words that lift your spirit and make you feel really good about the customer experience that you’re about to have! They give you hope, dare I say even confidence! I knew he could do it, and he knew it too! This was going to be the magnificent pay-off for the interminable process of picking out the glasses almost 2 weeks ago! This ugly duckling was about to become a glasses-adjusting swan!
New Guy took a long look at my face and the crooked way my new glasses hung on my miss-shaped head, and then he took them from me and began to manipulate things. With a big, confident smile he handed me back the glasses and I placed them back on the face… and they slid even faster down toward my left shoulder, evaporating both of our confident grins.
What followed was an endless series of attempts to find the sweet spot between my ears and my face. He’d bend and twist and hand them back and they’d be closer, and then he’d bend and twist more, and they’d be much further away. Each time the goal got farther from us he’d put the glasses down on the counter and stare, and stare, and stare, as though this were one of those optical puzzles where if you could just focus your eyes 3 feet past the glasses you’ll see a dolphin jumping out of the water. Every once in a while he’d try to argue with me about whether or not we’d gone in the wrong direction, as though there was anything that he could tell me about what he did that would carry more weight than the fact that the glasses were now practically parallel with my neck! And each time he’d hand them back to me they were more and more hot.
Did you know that when they want to adjust glasses there is this box of hot salt that they put the frames into? Apparently the idea is that they heat things up to make them more willing to bend. At first I thought that was cool new information, but after a while I started to worry about the effect of so much hot sand on my poor plastic frames. Finally I had to ask him if he’d ever broken a pair of glasses while adjusting them.
“Yah, earlier this week. The first pair that I ever adjusted. They just snapped -- it was not good.”
Two new pieces of information there: it is possible to break the glasses in this process, and he’s been adjusting glasses for less than a week.
Somewhere along the line I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked New Guy to explain to me the theory he was operating with, and it was obvious that he had it backwards. I walked him through how this had to work, using my poor, hot, salty glasses as the visual aid, and sent him off to try it again. He decided to bend them back to square one and start fresh from there, which seemed like a solid idea, and he got it almost right the first time around! Second time and they were practically perfect! At least for as broken as they were!
Between the heat and the 30 minutes of vicious manhandling both stems were only partially attached to the frame front. They weeble-wobbled ever so sadly, as if to say “no mas, no mas, we will tell you whatever you want to know!” I pointed out the tragically loose stems to New Guy, and without skipping a beat he replied “You want me to send them in? I’ll send them in.” and grabbed a repair form.
At this point I knew I was done, but there was no point in being done to New Guy. He was without any power, without the tools to do anything with my fury, and without the stamina to stand up under the hurricane of frustration that I felt rising up within me. If I let loose on him he’d crumple like a condo of so many playing cards and what fun would that be? So I took my wobbly glasses and my hand-written itemized receipt (don’t get me started) and left.
Three days later I returned to the scene of the crime and met Not New Lady Who Knew What Was Going On (NNLWKWWG – don’t try to pronounce it, you’ll dislocate your tongue). She took my complaints in stride, and explained that a series of health problems and spontaneous quittings had left the local BFD Optical Shoppe tragically under-staffed, which is why she was there, some 4 hours away from the city in which she normally lived and worked. “That’s too bad,” I replied, along with “gimme my money back.” She did.
On Friday I picked out a new pair from the Optical Shop right here where I work. They’re fancy and stylish and DEEP CRANBERRY RED and I already know that I will love them, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM. And the lovely lady who helped me with them seemed all knowledgeable and experienced and not at all panicky or terrified! I’ll get them in a couple of weeks (seems there’s some kind of holiday this week that is delaying everything good in the world, but comes with pie, so we’re putting that in the “win” column) and then everything will be so much better. I can’t wait. (knock on wood.)