Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

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CULater
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Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby CULater » Fri May 19, 2017 8:59 am

I just received possession of a new set of prescription sunglasses purchased at Costco. They have progressive lenses with polarization, antireflective coating, and light- adaptive tinting. Cost of the lenses was $160, total cost including frames was $225. In addition, they won't give you any static if you want to return them. When I priced these at a some optical shops, the lenses alone were quoted at $700 - $800. Can these Costco lenses be of the same quality at less that 1/4 the cost? If so, why is there such a huge markup at optical shops?

new2bogle
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby new2bogle » Fri May 19, 2017 9:02 am

I get mine from online sources - usually ~$10 per pair shipped! But I don't need bifocals (yet!). Excellent quality.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby bloom2708 » Fri May 19, 2017 9:11 am

I'm wearing a $12.95 pair of Zenni Optical glasses right now. I do not have Progressive/bifocals (yet).

Costco demands low prices and quality from the suppliers. Their eye exam (at the location I go to) doesn't have the latest/greatest technology. Eye mapping and all that stuff. But, you can get an exam anywhere and get your prescription filled at Costco or other discount online glasses providers.

Getting glasses from the typical retail stores kind of reminds me of the big cell phone places. Most still go to Verizon, AT&T, etc. and pay full retail. There are many good options where you pay less. Many just won't take the time to look at options or switch.
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dm200
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby dm200 » Fri May 19, 2017 9:32 am

My most recent glasses (progressive) were from lenscrafters. I bought the middle lens quality and they were about the price you quote. My wife watches specials and the lenses were 50% off.

Fox
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby Fox » Fri May 19, 2017 10:59 am

Progressive lenses are like cars....there are many different brands and models of progressive lenses. Some people are happy with lower quality and some people need the higher end models. Generally, the more expensive progressives will perform better (less distortion, wide zones for intermediate/near add power, etc). You can easily spend a grand on the best digital progressives when you add some extra lens options too.

If you compared a specific progressive lens brand and design from Costco/Walmart,etc to a private optical, the big store would still likely be cheaper because that is their model.

Private opticals and practices basically need higher markup to stay in business. Vision insurance plans pay sooo poorly for a general eye exam, that many practices wouldn't survive without the optical sales..I am an optometrist but my practice does not have an optical. Private offices can decide their own prices, but other corporate settings usually don't have that option.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby kramer » Fri May 19, 2017 11:28 am

I had to get progressives for the first time last year. With the same prescription, I got a pair shipped from Zenni (maybe $70 all in) and a pair from Costco (maybe $185 including lens and frame). I really can't even wear the pair from Zenni, I don't think they even qualify as a backup pair. The Costco pair is perfect.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby lightheir » Fri May 19, 2017 11:41 am

CULater wrote:I just received possession of a new set of prescription sunglasses purchased at Costco. They have progressive lenses with polarization, antireflective coating, and light- adaptive tinting. Cost of the lenses was $160, total cost including frames was $225. In addition, they won't give you any static if you want to return them. When I priced these at a some optical shops, the lenses alone were quoted at $700 - $800. Can these Costco lenses be of the same quality at less that 1/4 the cost? If so, why is there such a huge markup at optical shops?



The answer to the bold above is simple and very documented in the popular news media, although it seems very, very few people seem to utilize this knowledge when shopping for glasses.

Retail optical is almost all owned by ONE conglomerate behemoth company - Luxxotica. Sunglass Hut, Ray-ban, and almost all the mall-retail optical stores are outright owned by this company, and thus they can set monopoly pricing and you wouldn't know it by comparing mall to mall optical stores. I believe 60 minutes has a segment on them where they actually visit the factory, ask a guide why Gucci (or some fancy brand) costs $400 for a frame compared to the $<2 cost of the plastic, and they just say something like "branding."

Zenni and other online optical outfits take the opposite to the extreme. Zero branding, zero middleman, all product. With the non-premium offerings at Zenni, you can get excellent functional glasses for <$35 WITH lenses (!) I've been wearing a more upgraded $70 pair of Zenni titanium frameless with photochromatic lenses for the last 5 years without incident. The same pair at the mall would have likely costed nearly $1000, and you'd barely be able to tell any cosmetic difference.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby Easy Rhino » Fri May 19, 2017 12:04 pm

I have a big head, and I must have weird eyes. I need help from a good optician.

A couple of times I've tried the online glasses and they've hurt my eyes terribly when I've worn them. And also looked dumb when I tried them on.

So getting the right frame selected and fitted for my head is important. And then I got some prescription sungglasses, but they had a semi wraparound style and made my eyes swim when I wore them. I had to go back to the optometrist and optician and they did a redo, tweaking some more minor settings that aren't even typically recorded on a normal eye prescription.

And I don't even have bifocals, just farsighted.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby BogleFanGal » Fri May 19, 2017 12:16 pm

I've tried single vision (computer glasses) from zenni twice and had no real problems. I'd love to save on progressives too, since they're so expensive at retail, but feel like those are a little trickier in terms of the right fit, given the 3 diff fields of vision. Still buy those from a shop with in-person fitting, but with my eyes weakening every year (darn age! :annoyed ) this is getting really pricey.

Has anyone bought progressives online without issues?

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Pajamas
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby Pajamas » Fri May 19, 2017 12:26 pm

The primary reason eyeglasses cost so much in the U.S. is because one company dominates the entire industry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxottica

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby mrc » Fri May 19, 2017 12:34 pm

Pajamas wrote:The primary reason eyeglasses cost so much in the U.S. is because one company dominates the entire industry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxottica


Yep. Posts like this are why I wish there were a like button. :-)

After I got a pair of progressives at Lens Crafters for $500 AFTER insurance, and I saw the 60 minutes special on Luxottica — which makes the frames, owns LensCrafters, and EyeMed (insurance), I got it.

I like Costco because they charge a reasonable price for a quality product and a human fits you. I don't use the optometrist at the local Costco. I don't use a optometrist for eye health either, just for evaluating my Rx. I have a pair of Sunglasses from an online place using the Rx from my optometrist. The segment height isn't as critical for sunglasses. But I appreciate the measurement for that at Costco.

I will never buy another pair at LensCrafters. The mark up and vertical integration is obscene.
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby Teague » Fri May 19, 2017 12:45 pm

FYI, Costco manufactures their "digital, high-definition" lenses at their own 160,000 sq. ft. plant in San Diego.

http://www.costcoconnection.com/connect ... pg=85#pg85

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby Rupert » Fri May 19, 2017 12:53 pm

For what it's worth, Consumer Reports rates Costco the best eyeglass retailer in the country (based on consumer satisfaction).

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby jeffyscott » Fri May 19, 2017 12:59 pm

I think Costco's "HD", "digital", or whatever they are calling them, progressives are at least one notch down from the most customizable progressives. Based on the optician mentioning minimum fitting height of 18 mm, I think Costco has a fixed corridor, while top of the line freeform/digital/HD progressives will have a variable corridor. Besides a variable corridor there are lenses that supposedly can be customized based on how they sit on your face, but I have yet to have anyone take the measurements to actually apply that feature when buying such lenses, so don't see the point.

in addition to offering just one lens design, Costco also does not have the full selection of lens materials that other sources may have. You can only get their HD progressive lenses in low def materials: Poly or 1.67 index plastic. The best optics in plastic would be CR-39 (the old standard) or Trivex. But most people have no clue regarding this, are oblivious to chromatic aberration, and think higher index means higher quality.

I still switched to Costco despite this, since all progressives provide relatively crappy vision anyway, and I am learning to ignore the chromatic aberration. What I think is a similar type of progressive lens to Costco was about $320 in Trivex, after a 30% AARP discount at the place I had been using (SolaOne HD from Shopko).
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby marc515 » Fri May 19, 2017 1:39 pm

I wear Varilux "S-Design" Progressive Lenses, which Varilux claims are the best progressives on the market, and I am not sure how Costco lenses would compare. If I was wearing lower model lenses, I would think Costco would be OK. That said, I love the ultra clear vision I am getting with the S-Design, and until I can find out how Costco lenses compare to Varilux "S Series", I will continue to go to a private Optician.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby dm200 » Fri May 19, 2017 4:05 pm

marc515 wrote:I wear Varilux "S-Design" Progressive Lenses, which Varilux claims are the best progressives on the market, and I am not sure how Costco lenses would compare. If I was wearing lower model lenses, I would think Costco would be OK. That said, I love the ultra clear vision I am getting with the S-Design, and until I can find out how Costco lenses compare to Varilux "S Series", I will continue to go to a private Optician.


I bought the "middle" price lenses at Lenscrafters. I think "Varilux" were the most expensive. Opinions on "value" of Varilux??

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby samtex » Fri May 19, 2017 4:12 pm

kramer wrote:I had to get progressives for the first time last year. With the same prescription, I got a pair shipped from Zenni (maybe $70 all in) and a pair from Costco (maybe $185 including lens and frame). I really can't even wear the pair from Zenni, I don't think they even qualify as a backup pair. The Costco pair is perfect.


Did you return them?

Samtex

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby MichaelRpdx » Fri May 19, 2017 4:19 pm

:thumbsup
mrc wrote:
Pajamas wrote:The primary reason eyeglasses cost so much in the U.S. is because one company dominates the entire industry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxottica


Yep. Posts like this are why I wish there were a like button. :-)


Me too :-)
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby protagonist » Fri May 19, 2017 4:22 pm

I always get my glasses at Zenni. Titanium readers....I think they cost about $50/pair.

When I last saw my ophthalmologist he was impressed with the quality and accuracy of the prescription.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby mrc » Fri May 19, 2017 4:23 pm

samtex wrote:
kramer wrote:I had to get progressives for the first time last year. With the same prescription, I got a pair shipped from Zenni (maybe $70 all in) and a pair from Costco (maybe $185 including lens and frame). I really can't even wear the pair from Zenni, I don't think they even qualify as a backup pair. The Costco pair is perfect.


Did you return them?

Samtex


Pretty sure that's the result of wrong IPD or SH (interpupillary distance, or segment height). Not something you can fine tune buying online. I've had it done wrong with in person fittings too.

I believe those still allowed to live in the single vision world have it made for mail order.

Edit: IPD not PID (UNIX muscle memory)
Last edited by mrc on Fri May 19, 2017 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BogleFanGal
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby BogleFanGal » Fri May 19, 2017 6:30 pm

Anyone have experience with Sam's Club for those of us without costco memberships?

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby kramer » Sat May 20, 2017 12:48 am

mrc wrote:
samtex wrote:
kramer wrote:I had to get progressives for the first time last year. With the same prescription, I got a pair shipped from Zenni (maybe $70 all in) and a pair from Costco (maybe $185 including lens and frame). I really can't even wear the pair from Zenni, I don't think they even qualify as a backup pair. The Costco pair is perfect.


Did you return them?

Samtex


Pretty sure that's the result of wrong IPD or SH (interpupillary distance, or segment height). Not something you can fine tune buying online. I've had it done wrong with in person fittings too.

I believe those still allowed to live in the single vision world have it made for mail order.

Edit: IPD not PID (UNIX muscle memory)

I did not return them to Zenni (bought them during a short trip to the US) ... The IPD was exactly the same as the Costco lenses, in fact I used the Costco IPD measurement from a previous visit for the Zenni prescription ... there was no Segment Height requested or on my prescription, same for my Costco lenses. I had my prescription done elsewhere but at Costco the person behind the counter had me put the frames on when I bought them and seemed to use a pen to mark something on them. Anyway, they turned out great. Thanks for the replies.

I also wanted to mention that when I was "only" nearsighted, the Zenni glasses were fine. Unfortunately, starting at age 50, I have needed reading assistance.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby jeffyscott » Sat May 20, 2017 7:39 am

kramer wrote:...there was no Segment Height requested or on my prescription, same for my Costco lenses. I had my prescription done elsewhere but at Costco the person behind the counter had me put the frames on when I bought them and seemed to use a pen to mark something on them.


Yes, that's how they measure the seg height, that determines where the corridor and reading area of the progressive lens is. It has to be measured for the specific frames and person wearing them. This is why buying progressives or bifocals online is not likely to get good results.

Image

Zenni must just assume something and so you are not likely to get the mid and reading area in the optimal place. I'd guess they probably pick something low as having a too low reading area is less problematic that having it too high.
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby desiderium » Sat May 20, 2017 1:54 pm

There is a significant difference in optical quality. I have a favorite optical shop. Lenses are Pentax, but now they use another high end lens of equivalent quality. The shop is very stylish and expensive but it is a major appearance and vision spend and an infrequent purchase. So I went to Costco for prescription sunglassses. The difference in clarity was striking, particularly when not looking straight ahead. I just couldn't wear the Costco glasses after wearing my regular pair.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby samtex » Mon May 22, 2017 9:31 am

desiderium wrote:There is a significant difference in optical quality. I have a favorite optical shop. Lenses are Pentax, but now they use another high end lens of equivalent quality. The shop is very stylish and expensive but it is a major appearance and vision spend and an infrequent purchase. So I went to Costco for prescription sunglassses. The difference in clarity was striking, particularly when not looking straight ahead. I just couldn't wear the Costco glasses after wearing my regular pair.


Just curious if that was before 2014?

Samtex

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby samjuno » Mon May 22, 2017 2:49 pm

I have a newer pair of Costco progressives w/ newer prescription, but prefer to wear my old progressives with Zeiss lens even if it means tolerating a bit more astigmatism in one eye. The Zeiss just feels more comfortable (visually). Will eventually go back to my local optical shop & get new Zeiss lens.

BTW- nothing beats getting my glasses adjusted by my local optician. Adjustments are critical for progressive lens & most big optical places don't spend time to really do a careful adjustment.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby desiderium » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:41 am

samtex wrote:
desiderium wrote:There is a significant difference in optical quality. I have a favorite optical shop. Lenses are Pentax, but now they use another high end lens of equivalent quality. The shop is very stylish and expensive but it is a major appearance and vision spend and an infrequent purchase. So I went to Costco for prescription sunglassses. The difference in clarity was striking, particularly when not looking straight ahead. I just couldn't wear the Costco glasses after wearing my regular pair.


Just curious if that was before 2014?

Samtex


Yes it was. Given the rapid changes in lens markets, I have no idea if the best quality lens materials are percolating into the lower cost providers. Let's hope so.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby PAW » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:57 am

Not an optician, but I wear progressives and recently had consultations with two big-name Manhattan cornea specialists. As part of the evaluation, both tested my vision with the glasses on and off and carefully examined the lenses with their lens-examining apparatus. Both spontaneously praised the accuracy of the prescription and the quality of the lenses. Neither doctor knew that I get my exams, frames and lenses at Costco. 8-)
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby samtex » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:07 pm

desiderium wrote:
samtex wrote:
desiderium wrote:There is a significant difference in optical quality. I have a favorite optical shop. Lenses are Pentax, but now they use another high end lens of equivalent quality. The shop is very stylish and expensive but it is a major appearance and vision spend and an infrequent purchase. So I went to Costco for prescription sunglassses. The difference in clarity was striking, particularly when not looking straight ahead. I just couldn't wear the Costco glasses after wearing my regular pair.


Just curious if that was before 2014?

Samtex


Yes it was. Given the rapid changes in lens markets, I have no idea if the best quality lens materials are percolating into the lower cost providers. Let's hope so.



Thank you, it's good to know that your experience was before COSTCO upgraded their new facility in San Diego in 2014. I was concerned because I had decided to try COSTCO with my current prescription. I find it difficult to spend $600+tax locally when COSTCO's price is $180+tax. Even though we don't have a COSTCO locally, we do regularly make day trips to where there is one. The $55 membership fee seems well justified if my wife and I just purchase 2 pair. Plus I was impressed by the store on a recent scouting trip just to check out the store.

Samtex

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby rbslos36 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:39 pm

I have had three pairs made at Costco the past five months. Two of the remakes were do to prescription changes (an eye disease healed). No charge. The third pair was due to a recall of the frame which I learned has a small crack in it. No charge!
The staff cheerfully reordered the glasses with the new prescriptions and/or frame.
They sure stand by their products!

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby jeffyscott » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:51 am

desiderium wrote:Yes it was. Given the rapid changes in lens markets, I have no idea if the best quality lens materials are percolating into the lower cost providers. Let's hope so.


It's not really about the "materials" it is the lens design. The best quality, in terms of optics, would be crown glass or CR-39 (standard plastic), the newest of these materials has been around since the 1940s.

What changed is they went to a better lens design. They also deleted CR-39 as an option (assuming their old progressive lens had that option :?: ).
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby lostdog » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:20 am

My wife just got her new glasses from Zenni and she loves them.
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby lthenderson » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:40 am

I got tired of paying $300 to $400 for glasses years ago so went to buying them online for the last decade never paying more than about $80 a pair with all the options that I wanted. Three weeks ago, I went to the local optometrist (private non-chain store) to get an updated prescription with full intention of buying them online again later. Just for kicks, I priced out a pair through them with my insurance (EyeMed) and ended up walking out with a new pair for only $15. I am probably going to rethink buying them online in the future.

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Just sayin...
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby Just sayin... » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:40 am

I've been wearing Costco glasses for ~20 years, and won't go anywhere else. Well, unless I go for contacts, then it's Costco again. I am 100% satisfied with their quality, service, and pricing.

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby BogleFanGal » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:51 am

Just bumping a question from earlier in thread to see if anyone since has heard or knows someone who bought from Sam's club? :?:
We don't have a costco near us...really would love to hear experiences with Sam's or walmart, since probably same source. 8-)

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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby afan » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:59 pm

I recently did my first online eyeglass purchase. Replacementlensexpress. I sent them an old set of frames with an outdated prescription. Uploaded a pdf of my current prescription with PD but without segment height. Two weeks later the new glasses were dropped at my door. They are perfect and much cheaper than they would have been at the optician.

I got Trivex progressives, so they would have been quite expensive from the local place. They were "HD" lenses, but I cannot tell any difference vs my prior non-HD lenses. I have a large collection of frames since in the past it was always cheaper to get frames and lenses, which included a discount. This was cheaper than having them replace the lenses in a frame I already own. Does not make sense to me, but it had been like that for a very long time. Now that I have a place that will do lenses only, hard to know what would bring me back to buying at a local shop. I would consider it if they decided to compete on price, but right now they are nowhere close.

I looked briefly at Costco, but they did not have trivex, so I did not pursue further.
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby BogleMelon » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:08 pm

I am pretty sure you will like this:

Adam Ruins Everything - The Conspiracy Behind Your Glasses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAeHuDcy_bY
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Re: Opticians: is there any difference in quality of Costco glasses?

Postby mrc » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:17 pm

BogleMelon wrote:I am pretty sure you will like this:

Adam Ruins Everything - The Conspiracy Behind Your Glasses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAeHuDcy_bY


Much shorter and easier to find than the 60 minutes spot. Thanks for sharing. This is just nuts. I like the Luxottica CEO's Russian accent — nice touch.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson


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