Stellar Chariot

By Arun Neelakandan

Getting Played by a Specsavers Retail Saleswoman

Following my return to recreational indoor soccer, I wanted to procure some contact lenses. So, I dropped into my local Specsavers outlet (Specsavers Australia is a chain of optometrists, who are in the business of selling eyeglasses, contact lenses and eyecare paraphernalia) last Saturday. I told the not uncomely lady at the front counter, with the thickish, horn-rimmed glasses which are currently in vogue, that I was after some contact lenses. After fielding a few questions from this lady, I booked an appointment for an eye test at 7:30pm Thursday (today, 26th April) and was handed an appointment card with the particulars. During the week, Specsavers also called my home phone to remind me of the appointment (which they now said was at 7:40pm).

On the day of the appointment (today, Thursday 26th of April), I left work early (about 5:30pm, which is quite early compared to my usual leaving times) and I made my way into the store. After a brief wait, I informed the lady at the counter (a different lady to the one I’d dealt with previously; a shortish young woman with blonde hair and an Irish-sounding accent) that I was there for my 7:30pm appointment as I presented the appointment card. She tapped away at the computer terminal for a while and then, somewhat strangely, asked me for my date of birth, to which I promptly answered subsequent to a brief instant of surprise. Some more tapping followed and she declared that she couldn’t find my booking in the system and escorted me to a seat around the corner, out-of-sight of the front-counter, while she figured out a solution. After a moment, she brought me back to the counter and explained that the booking system suffers from data loss when there are several changes made to bookings and that they’ve been in touch with the IT department to have the issue resolved. Later, I was told to retake my seat until she returns, hopefully with someone who can have my eye test done.

The blonde lady rejoined me after a moment and quizzed me about my previous visit back in 2010 and experience with contact lenses (I was given a sample pair which I didn’t use because I found them to be inconvenient and uncomfortable). She laid out two options: purchase the same type of contact lenses as the sample pair provided with the prescription on file (dating back to 2010) or trying another type of contact lens which may be more comfortable. But, of course, the catch was that the alternative type of contact lens were not in stock and thus will have to be ordered in, fitted on me and an eye test conducted. In any case, the eye test could not be done because no optometrist was available at that moment (the lady herself was not qualified).

At this point my father, who had accompanied me to the store, was quick to anger and began to vent about the unfairness of the situation, as we had given up our time and effort for a futile exercise. The lady arranged to have someone from Specsavers call me soon when stock of the different kind of contact lenses arrive and then book an appointment for an eye test and contact lens fitting sesion.

Anyway, as we made our way out to the car, my father claimed the whole “sit down please while I resolve this” was simply a machination. A clever ruse intended to provide the illusion that the store was trying to produce a solution — despite the fact it had no way to provide the services it had claimed to provide. Now, I don’t know this claim to be true, but it certainly stirred me up. Was I just easily deceived? Am I poor judge of a sincerity? Why could I not have sensed the possibility of this plot taking place? I could not help but wonder the number of times I have been lied to, as I nodded in stupor, blind to the fabrications being weaved around me.

Also, upon further reflection, it does not make much sense to me why she would provide the option of buying contact lenses with an old prescription, which is likely to have changed over the 2 years that have since passed. Otherwise, couldn’t I just have purchased some contact lenses when I had made the booking on Saturday?

It seems that we should be sharper about our wits and actively question the actions being taken.