Editors Note

Jun
2013

Wobbly Parker

Last month’s column was devoted to the beginning of my experience purchasing eyewear from the new Warby Parker store in Soho just a few blocks from the 20/20 edit office. I also had an eye exam at the store, turning down their offer to fulfill a provided Rx from my own OD. The thorough and careful exam was $50 as detailed by a Dr. Esther Kim at the terrific exam room in the store. At that time I was also presented with my personal Rx for use anywhere I’d like in or beyond the WP store.

So far so good. I picked out frames with the help of an attentive sales associate, and my PD was taken by an eyecare professional who informed me my eyewear would be ready for pickup at the Warby Parker distribution center in the Puck Building a few blocks from the store in eight to 10 days, and that I would be notified by e-mail when the eyewear was ready for an in-person fitting. I called twice after the allotted time and was informed that because this was a progressive diagnosis, it was taking slightly longer. I already knew that the cost would be $225 as compared to the widely signaged price of $95 in the store. The lower price was explained as being for single-vision glasses.

It is now over a month since this experience started, and I just made the call to cancel noting that it was taking far too long. Very pleasantly I was told the order would be cancelled, and there would be a refund on the charge.

Somewhere down the road and in some other part of 20/20, the Warby Parker story will certainly continue but space on this experience in my editor’s column is at an end. From my experience it would seem that WP’s attempt at brick-and-mortar has become brick and mortally wounded. It’s looking like they might be custom-made for online ordering by younger single-vision hipsters but when it comes to (potential candidate for) hip-replacement baby boomers, the story radically changes. The customer service treatment when I did actually cancel was superb, although I’ll feel even better when the refund is noted on my credit card account.

I sure hope they haven’t written me off as over-the-hill and not worth stepping up to the challenge. I looked forward to asking some key questions about my new lenses. I was equally curious about the actual frame fitting and adjustments that might take place. But with a turnaround of over a month, nothing at this point can compensate for the breakdown of THIS particular experience.

I want the world and I want it now. AND… I want to see that world perfectly in frames that fit my face with a custom-made look and feel. And since I’m devoted to the art of communicating and engagement, I await comments and feedback from the readers of 20/20 AND Warby Parker.

James J. Spina
Editor-in-Chief
jspina@jobson.com

 

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