Choice or illusion?

My glasses snapped last week. I went straight to my optometrist at Rawlings. After thorough examinations and photos taken of my eyes, and a new frame and lenses, the total bill was over £400. I chose a non-designer frame.

Do I have a choice? No. Because I needed the service and my new glasses.

The alternative was to pay into an 18 month plan (at £8.50 per month). This covered free eye care, and the cost of my glasses and lenses will be cut by 25%.

Image by Will Montague via Flickr

Image by Will Montague via Flickr

I took out this plan. After doing some basic arithmetic at home, however, I worked out that the plan didn’t actually save money, but it made me feel that it was a better option. The plan did come with an accidental damage cover. However, I have worn glasses all my life and they were never accidentally damaged. I never needed this protection before. Now somehow I bought this protection with this insurance plan.

From this example, I feel that we often like to think that we have choices, but sometimes perhaps what we get is not a choice, but an illusion of choice. Ultimately I would still pay the same amount of money for my eye care.

My glasses are the most essential items in my life. Wherever I go, I always have a mini screwdriver in my wallet, to be used to secure my frame.

Some people may think that of course I have other options, like changing opticians and buying new glasses from another company. I tried these many years before, but in the end, I still returned to my local optician and received my more personal eye care.

6 thoughts on “Choice or illusion?

  1. Ruby

    It’s what I (and possibly others) call the Bogeyman principle of marketing. the company invents a “bogeyman” that you can be “afraid” of – in this case the accidental damage to glasses. They can then sell you protection against the bogeyman, before you realise that he either doesn’t exist at all, or is very very rare.
    The principle could also apply to some government policy – though this could be slightly cynical and simplistic view.

    I must go and get my eyes tested again; it is about two years overdue. Your report of the costs involved have put me off even more.

    Incidentally, last time I had my eyes tested I had this illogical and irrational thought that the optician could see my thoughts when she looked into my eyes, so I tried to clear my mind of everything.

  2. anexactinglife

    Sometimes it’s not worth it to change providers, either because of travel time or just not knowing their reputation. It’s good you can support a local business. Too bad about the extra insurance cost though!

  3. Hazel Bateman

    I have been to Specsavers for years, but I am thinking of trying out Hamptons, the new opticians in Chandler’s Ford at the bottom of Hursley Road. They are indepenent, so may not be much cheaper than the chains, but may provide a good personal service.

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  5. ShimonZ

    In my experience, it’s really worth while to work with someone you trust. I am willing to pay a little more for that. How wonderful that with the help of aids, like the glasses, we can see well. I have worn glasses all my life.

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