The days of the mom-and-pop sport stores are pretty much kaput. There’s still a scattering across the country where those shops cater to local school team uniforms and gear. But in general, the sport specialty shop is big box, even though those national emporiums are being challenged by pricing and selection by online sources.
So there I was, bored to tears by the outdated attention-seeking colors and amoeba-like camo barfing all over sports apparel and in need of an opti-fix. So my son and self started checking out the sport eyewear. Most of it is in locked up counter displays in a random mix of careless brand brews except for a few frame kiosks where the eyewear is secured by a chaining system far from try-on friendly.
I’m usually NOT in the mood to chatter with sales associates in these stores but I decided to strike up some tech and “sport specific” browser chatter.
I did this in two different stores engaging a total of four salespeople. None of them knew what the hell they were talking about when it came to lenses, frames, frame tech and lens coloring for specific sports. There was ample stock of sport eyewear for golfing, fishing, running, cycling and a variety of other sports on hand but not once was I given proper direction or even directed to a source online or in print that would help me in my decision to spend considerable money on the eyewear.
In fact, in two of the exchanges I was literally told, “That’s not my job,” and in an instance where I asked about the safety of the lens and its ability to withstand impact, I was told, “You’re on your own there. I have no idea.”
Well. EXCUSE ME.
And may I just add (Which I didn’t but I damn well wanted to!) that I’m the editor of a magazine for true eyecare professionals, and in our April issue, I’m going to work with my edit and art team on proving a host of dedicated sport eyewear companies so said ECPs can stock up on the eyewear everyone needs in order to indulge in the activities they love and adore in superb eyewear for reasons having to do with lens tech, frame tech, proper sport-specific fit, frame materials and lens materials all dedicated to upping the “game” of their customers.
And… Guess what? That’s their job. And when it comes to sport eyewear they (YOU dear reader) are going to win. Let the games begin.
• James J. Spina