Back in mid-December during a visit to Bath I popped into Boots to see if they could repair my reading glasses (the screw had popped out in the street) and they very kindly popped another one in free of charge. Alas (and I say this with hindsight) whilst I was there I stumbled upon a pair of frames I really loved.
I’d actually spent the best part of four months trying to find new ones, going from designer pair to designer pair and finding nothing I really liked. To my astonishment the ones I loved (a translucent pale grey pair) were a mere £79. For two pairs! With lenses! An absolute bargain, even with the additional cost of reflective, scratchproof lenses. I couldn’t believe my luck. As a person I’m not remotely snobby about such things – if I like something then I don’t care whether it comes from Prada or Poundland – so I was thrilled.
So when I returned to London I popped into Boots, found the frames, handed over my prescription and duly waited my five days for them to be ready for collection. Oh they were ready alright. Ready and dark brown. Since I was desperate for new specs (my old ones were falling apart at this point) you can imagine my disappointment.
And so after kicking up a fuss (and being told the code on the display specs was the same as the ones that arrived and that it must be a supplier problem or “perhaps the ones I wanted were discontinued”) I was told they’d sort it. Five days later my new specs were ready collection. “Sorry about the mix up – your glasses are back and they’re grey!” said the man at the store gleefully.
Today I picked them up. The good news: he was correct, they are grey. The bad news: they’re a grey about three shades darker the ones I actually chose. When I pointed this out (by grabbing the display ones off the shelf) I was given that old get out clause ‘colours may vary’. Given the fact that grey initially came back as brown I should, perhaps, have expected this from the beginning.
It’s a shame nobody actually pointed this out at the time of purchase, however, because if they had I certainly would have had second thoughts. I mean, if you order a pillarbox red Mini and when you pick it up it’s vermillion you’d be pissed off right? Subtleties do matter. They matter even more when the item in question is something you plonk on your face every day.
So, did I kick up a fuss again? Well, no, partly because I desperately need the glasses and party because I honestly haven’t got the time or energy to keep on going back until they provide me with the frames I saw on the display rack.
You might be thinking “well, what do you expect from such cheap frames?” but I don’t buy that for a minute. Whether something is £79 or £279 a customer has the right to get exactly what they paid for, not some variation thereof. Some of my followers on Twitter (bless them) have had to live this sorry saga in real time and I’ve lost count of how many times people have written “should have gone to….” And do you know what? I think they’re probably right.