Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Right Partner: A Vital Element

Ever see the movie "Schindler's List?" The movie by Steven Spielberg is about a businessman named Oscar Schindler who saves a thousands Jews or so from extermination. There is one line I remember spoken by Liam Neeson who played Schindler. He said "My father told me you need three people in your life: a shrewd accountant, a smart doctor and a forgiving priest." LeDandy would like to add a fourth one to the list for pince-nez wearers: a competent and motivated optician.

Last Thursday I went to my optician for a consultation about lenses for my pince-nez. My partner and I have been going to an optical store in the Castro district of San Francisco for many, many years. It is a small, independent shop shop with two optometrists and a staff that has been there forever. They will be happy to put in new lenses for me.

Sounds simple and it is for me. I consider myself very fortunate. But finding the right optician can be a big challenge. Don't assume it will be easy to get lenses installed. In some cases, it may not be possible because of the mounting and your lens prescription.

I've heard from a friend with much pince-nez experience that the major optical chains refuse to work with pince-nez. Nor will many small, independent shops. I can speculate as to the reasons why many stores will not make lenses for this eyewear:
  1. Liability for damaging antique eyewear;
  2. No frames to sell to the customer;
  3. Complexity of fitting lenses to pince-nez;
  4. Extremely limited demand;
  5. Special training for staff.
From a businessman's point of view, it is sensible not to work with pince-nez.

So how does one find an optician to put lenses in your pince-nez? Pound the pavement, as they say. You may have to visit several optical stores before finding a place which is competent and motivated. The motivation factor is telling. If a store is willing to put in lenses, will they do it grudgingly or eagerly? As for competency, ask if they have ever worked successfully with pince-nez before. You do not want to be their first pince-nez client!

If you have a good experience at an optical store with pince-nez, please write to me. I'm building a worldwide list of "pince-nez friendly" optical stores. Good luck.


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