A letter I sent to SEE – a “Hip Without the Rip” eyewear company.
To the Powers that SEE:
It’s unfortunate that I am writing this email. I’ve walked past your shop window for the past couple years, always admiring your unique offerings. So when I felt I needed to have my eyes checked, after suffering for the past year with headaches, I knew I’d visit your cool little eyeglass shop in Nashville.
Nervous for my first visit, I must say, the Doctor on staff at this location was wonderful. She made me feel very comfortable and took the time to explain to me, thoroughly, what was going with my eyes: astigmatism.
When my appointment was over, she walked me into the shop where I waited patiently for one of the salespeople to help me. I choose to use the word “salespeople” because this is what my experience has rendered my perception about the people within your shops.
Prior to my eye exam, I excitedly picked 6 different frames while waiting – I loved each of them. When the salesperson was ready for me, she looked at my “shopping cart”, grimaced and said, “well let’s go ahead and look at what you have then I’ll go pick some frames for you.” With each passing show of what I had chosen, the salesperson made it abundantly clear that she was less than impressed with my selection. She squinted her face with disapproval, looked at me with pity and said, “Well, that’s why I’m here… to make sure you don’t make a mistake.”
Now I have to say, having worked in the beauty and fashion industry, and now the Marketing Director for a multimillion dollar training organization, I consider myself to be keenly aware of aesthetics – in particular, those that relate to my own sense of style.
She went on to say that the styles I’d chosen would not work for “my kind of face and nose” because of how flat it was. I can only assume she was referring to my Asian ethnicity.
Her solution to this was to offer me only 3 styles – so far from the picks I was excited about that I felt I might not leave the shop with anything. I tried them on to humor her, but ultimately let her know that I just didn’t think what she was showing me was what I wanted. She insisted I continue to try on the same styles, within your metal frame collection.
After trying 6 pairs of her choice, I finally settled on a pair I felt I could work with. She assured me I wasn’t going to regret her well-informed suggestion.
At the point of transaction, she let me know that it would be a waste of my time to purchase the glasses without anti-glare. And, in fact, that I needn’t bother purchase them unless I added anti-glare, because I would never wear them otherwise. Um… sure?
She quickly rang me up and I left the Nashville SEE location somewhat dazed. The entire start to finish experience with the clerk lasted no more than 12-15 minutes. Hardly enough time to make a person feel comfortable about a first-time purchase of eyeglasses.
When I returned to my car to examine my receipt, I was alarmed to find that the anti-glare I needed to add, lest I should never wear my glasses, was an additional $95. This was NEVER mentioned to me.
I write all of this to make you aware of one person’s experience at SEE. To be honest, I’ll probably seek a refund on the glasses once they arrive because I was never really comfortable with them in the first place. But worse, I don’t like that I was made to feel guilty about wanting anything other than what would work for my limiting facial features. Surely she could have worked with me to find something I could have been truly happy with. And, if she couldn’t find that pair – maybe she could have done the morally upright thing and suggested another brand?
I pray this finds its way to the right people so that you might improve upon your customer experience.
You may be Hip… not quite sure about the Rip part, though. I don’t think I’ll be shopping at SEE again.
You can visit the SEE website here: http://seeeyewear.com/index.aspx