Negotiation, Negotiation, Negotiation

UK Property Investment news and comments from Mark Harrison of

Do you wear glasses? If so, how about this?

Posted by markharrison on March 27, 2007

If you live in South London, Surrey, or Sussex, you may have noticed the big “back of tractor” banner ad for on the side of the M25.

This is one of these things that has caused loads of people (at least 2, anyway) to phone into the radio complaining about the “countyside being ruined”. I don’t know how to explain this any more clearly than:


While the radio feature was on, I counted over 70 lorries, all showing adverts, driving along the motorway, so what the problem with the tractor in the field is, I have no idea 🙂 Frankly, if I were a struggling British farmer, I’d love to receive a bit of revenue for the ability to park a trailer with a banner on the back on my field.

However, it did remind me that I needed to blog about this…

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I needed to get new glasses. I’ve had mine for (mea cupla), probably 4 years now, so time to get at least a check.

Like the rest of the UK population, I went along to SpecSavers. Booked an appointment on-line. Charming young man who went through the test in great detail, asking questions, explaining a bit about how the musculature within the eyes actually works, and why this had changed my prescription compared to the glasses I’d worn on my way in. Good service, good manners, and so on…

… then I figured, “OK, I know that I could shop around to buy the glasses, but I feel good about SpecSavers, so let’s buy here”. Slightly annoying saleswoman who kept trying to upsell me to some more expensive frames, despite the fact that my wife was standing there say “I prefer THOSE” (at the cheaper ones.)

Specsavers – £120 (including eye-test)

Then I went home, and remembered that I’d had a glassesdirect catalogue, and thought I’d look on their website.

I ended up buying a “spare pair” of glasses, similar frame (slightly different), identical lenses.

GlassesDirect – £17.50 (including delivery, but not including eye-test)

OK, Mary prefers the Specsavers ones (just), but in hindsite, not ten times as much.

GlassesDirect are, therefore, offering a similar product at 1/10th of the price. However, the downside is that I have to go elsewhere for an eye-test. I’ve honestly no idea what (if anything) SpecSavers would have charged for said test, if I’d walked out at the end of it, and not purchased the glasses, however, GlassesDirect have a big thumbs up.

Good points:

  • The price – 90% discount!
  • The delivery (claimed it would be 14 days on average, mine were there in eight)

A couple of minor “could do betters” (in case the GlassesDirect people read this)

  • When ordering, the frames have names like “Marion” and “Chloe”. When delivered the invoice said “Model RC-32″ (or something.) When I then went back to order another pair (tinted), I couldn’t work out what frame I’d bought last time other than looking at the file name of the images, and noticing that one said RC-32.jpg or whatever.” I would have been nicer for the invoice to say “Chloe” (or whatever the name was.)
  • When I tried to call them, on Saturday morning, to ask what frame I had for another order, I got a recorded message saying that they were shut, but would be open again at 9am… I don’t believe that they WERE open at 9am, given that the next 9am was a Sunday. Likewise, I find it odd that a business whose customers are individuals (as opposed to other businesses) chooses not to operate a Saturday service. [Yes, I know domia isn’t open on a Saturday either, but in our defence, over 2/3 of our sales are to trade customers, not the general public, so yes, I know it’s a hard business decision.]

The key questions, then:

  • Would I buy from glassesdirect again? Yes, I already have. I just ordered some sunglasses from them.
  • Would I recommend them to others. Very much so.

And, to help you find them, click here.


3 Responses to “Do you wear glasses? If so, how about this?”

  1. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the supportive blog post. Also thank you for youf useful feedback. We’re redesigning the way the invoice works as a result, so that in a few weeks frames will appear seamlessly accross the service with their real names. WRT the out of hours message we are looking at this right now – thanks for the heads up. I’m also putting in a Saturday service so you can expect the phone lines to be open from this weekend onwards.

    All the best,

    Jamie Murray Wells
    Glasses Direct

  2. OK – glassesdirect just moved up from a 9/10 to a firm 10/10…

    … not particularly because they’re agreeing to open on Saturday (though, hurrah!), but because the founder took time to read the comments, act on the ones he agreed with (OK, in this case, all of them), and thank me for posting.

    Jamie Murray Wells was a name that rang a bell – sure enough, in the front page of the catalogue there’s a photo of him with the word “founder” next to it.

  3. Tony Jones said

    Hi Mark,

    Just to let you know our helplines at are open seven day a week from 8am till 8pm. We try to offer our customers a very high level of service as well as a wide choice of frames, lenses and coating options.

    You might find it interesting to have a quick look.

    With kind regards

    Tony Jones

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