Sunday, December 9, 2012

Recession's Over Folks, Move Along!

The recession is over, and one way you can tell is that prices are going up.

The recession is over now, and I can tell this as the screaming bargains of the last two years have evaporated like ether.  Huge rebates on cars are no longer talked about - sales are up, so the manufacturers don't have to offer incentives anymore.  And the cost of a lot of goods has skyrocketed.

I bought new glasses two years ago, for $140 the pair, for transitions bi-focals.  I thought I should get a new pair as the nose-piece on this pair was getting funky (turning green) and the plating on the frame was starting to go.  The optometrist at Wal-Mart said my eyes were fine and that my prescription had changed only slightly (typical for a person on their mid-50's).  I looked at glasses there and they wanted $15 to $150 for frames, and another $150 to $250 for lenses. 

No thanks.

I went back to BJ's wholesale, this time in Florida, and was told that the frames would be $135 minimum and the lenses $250 to $350.


What happened to the cost of glasses since 2010?  Has the ITC issued an anti-dumping tariff?  Not that I can find online. 

It just seems that sales are up, and a lot of people "went without" new glasses from 2008 to 2011, and as a result there is pent-up demand, just as there is now for cars.  So when demand goes up, what happens to prices?  All you Adam Smith types can chant in unison, "Prices go up as well!"

And up they have went.  A simple pair of glasses that cost $140 in 2010 is now over $300, a markup of over 100%.   In an era of "low inflation" this is, frankly, scandalous.

So what to do?

Well, option A is always "not to consume" and after being shown prices like that, I thought that maybe my old pair of glasses could soldier on for a few more years.

I found a new nose piece for the glasses for about $12 including shipping by searching online.  They arrived yesterday and are gold plated, instead of silver, so they shouldn't turn green over time.  I also bought some extras for future use.

The lenses are a little scratched, but years ago a Chinese lady was selling a lens polishing compound at a sunglasses stand at the airport.  I dug it out of my bottom desk drawer and tried it.  It took out most of the scratches in the lenses.

As for the plating, well, it isn't peeling that bad just yet.

So, for about $12 we are back in business for now.

No, I am not spending $300 on a pair of new glasses that aren't even really what I want, but are rather what they have in stock.  I would rather have $300 more in my 401(k), thank you.  And yes, I am that cheap.

Every year I can use these glasses is a year of wear on a new pair that is delayed.  A cost deferred is a cost denied.

And who knows?  In a year or two, this buying orgy will subside and prices will come back down again.  And maybe by then, they will be offering glasses at BJ's for $140.

I doubt it, though.

Who knows?  Maybe I can try one of those eyeglasses places online and see how that works out.  For the prices quoted, one can afford to risk getting a bad pair...

Stay Tuned....

UPDATE 2022: You can buy glasses for about $100 from Zenni or EyeBuyDirect.  Of course, at those prices, you buy three pairs, negating any savings!