What's the deal with Warby Parker?

As many of the dozens of you who read my blog know, I wear glasses pretty much daily. On a rare occasion, I might break out the contact lenses, but like I said, it is rare. I find that contact lenses put a huge strain on my eyes during the course of a normal work day where I generally sit in front of a computer screen most of the time. And I'm still very scared of laser surgery where they slice open your eye (!) so, yeah, I wear glasses.

I've been wearing the same frames for years now. I originally found them for sale on ebay and purchased them something like 5 years ago. After years of wear, they started to get old so I decided to do a search for new frames again. I looked around and didn't see much I liked. I ended up buying the same frames again but in a different color. These are the frames that I'm wearing now. I really like them, but they are starting to age and it might be that time where I decide to get new glasses (especially with insurance…score!).

My first thought this time was to try a different sort of online purchasing experience. Warby Parker (warbyparker.com) has revolutionized the purchase of glasses by taking the whole experience, with the exception of the eye exam, online. You send them your prescription, pick glasses, and BEHOLD, you have new glasses shipped to your door. Also, they are a company committed to good. For every pair of glasses you buy, they send a pair of glasses to someone in need. I'm a sucker for a good cause.

I'm also a sucker for stalking apparently. After visiting the Warby Parker website once, I kept seeing Warby Parker ads on various websites I visited afterwards (this is not coincidental, by the way…). While I understood they were virtually stalking me (and targeting their ads at me), I did think their frames looked kinda cool. So I decided to consider the idea of buying my glasses online. I could easily get my prescription as my previous year's eye exam would suffice (last year I got prescription sunglasses — again, this is why it is awesome to have eye insurance).

But perhaps the biggest reason why I decided to try Warby Parker was the home try-on service. For no charge, Warby Parker will send you 5 pairs of glasses for you to try on. You keep the glasses for at most 5 days and then return them using the same box you received them in with a pre-paid shipping label also provided in your package. I thought that was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I hate the ordeal of going to the eye place and trying on glasses. I can't really see myself because I'm not wearing glasses. At least if I'm at home, I could put my contacts on and get a truer vision of what I would look like in a certain pair of frames.

I went to their website and picked five frames and I'm fairly certain that either the next day or the day after I received them. They say they put a hold on your credit card (in the event you decide not to return their glasses) but I didn't notice it. The box the frames came in was actually pretty nice as it was felted and neatly separated each plastic-wrapped pair of glasses. I could list the styles I tried on, but at he end of the day, I just wasn't digging them. They were either too small or too big or too narrow. I will keep checking their website to see if they add other styles, but for now, the styles they do offer just aren't a good fit.

That said, the return process was super pleasant. After dropping the package in the mail, I received an email from Warby Parker stating they were processing the return. They also suggested I contact them with any questions I have about their products or if I need help making a selection and getting to the next step. I'm happy to report that this is the only post-try-on solicitation I've received. No crazy sales pressure. No "hey, we are going to add you to our annoying email list." Just really straightforward and direct — which I dearly appreciate!

So, while Warby Parker didn't get my business today. I probably wouldn't hesitate in considering them at another time and definitely recommend them. With the option to try on from the comfort of your home, it's just silly not to try them!

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