Next Time, Engage Filter

slice-of-life_individualTired of doing the cobra dance from behind students, trying to see their writing in that elusive middle distance through my bifocals, I’d finally decided to opt for progressive lens. After helping me pick out my new frames, the woman at the eye doctor’s outlined my options, detailing what my insurance would pay and what it wouldn’t. She managed to convince me pretty easily that I should go with the newest technology. (Yes, of course, the one with the skimpy insurance coverage. Ouch!)

“Do you want transitionals?” she asked, then elaborated at my blank look, “You know, the ones that change into sunglasses when you go outside?”

“Oh,” I said. “Oh, no, I don’t want those.”

“Well,” she said, “if you do choose those, there’s a package deal available. If you have three options selected –and you already have two–and add transitionals for only $25, you can get a free set of lenses and pay only 75% of the frame price. It’s a great deal!”

“But I really don’t want transitionals,” I said.

“So,” she confided, leaning closer over the table, “here’s what you do. You just say you want transitionals now. Then, when they come in, you tell me that you don’t like them, and I send them back and they’ll make you a new pair!”

“Oh,” I said. “I don’t know about that.”

“It’s no big deal,” she said, “I do it all the time!”

She looked at me  expectantly, hand poised over the mouse. I sat there feeling uncomfortable. Squirmy.  Should I? Shouldn’t I?

“You’ll save hundreds of dollars,” she reminded me as I hesitated, trying to organize my thinking and my response. I really did need a new pair of sunglasses, and that was a huge savings, but it just didn’t feel right.

“No,” I said, “I’m sorry, but there’s something about that that just hitches up against something ethical inside me. I just don’t like playing games or playing the system and am really not comfortable doing that.”

Then I heard my words in my head again. And cringed.


Silently, I rebuked myself, Oh, Molly, why did you say that? You could just have said, “No, thanks!” Did you have to use the word ethical? Didn’t you just essentially tell her that she was being unethical? Ugh.

“I appreciate your telling me about the option, though,” I said aloud, quickly, smiling, hoping to make amends.

“Oh, that’s fine,” she said, coolly. “I just wanted to let you know.”

I bobbed my head up and down, vigorously. “Yes,” I said, “and I really appreciate it! It really sounds like a way to save a lot of money! Quite a deal! ” Stop babbling now, Molly…

After another year or two   fifteen minutes or so, we’d finally finished ordering my glasses (sans transitionals!), and I left the store, still inwardly shaking my head about my ill-advised comments. Why, oh, why did I say that?

Two weeks later, I’m still waiting to hear that my glasses are in. I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps the order was sabotaged…