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I Walked Out of Hakim Optical – Here’s Why

June 17, 2012 5 comments

I’ve been looking for new eyeglasses. Being a smart shopper, I educated myself on how to read frame size measurements, and learned from CBC Marketplace about how Luxottica is so dominant in our Ontario market.

Trying to avoid stores owned by Luxottica, I paid a visit to my local Hakim Optical store. I tried on a few frames along the sidewall display, and then moved up to the counter of the store, where the designer frames like Prada were stored in the plexiglass showcase. I tried to look into the showcase to see the sizing information on the arms of the glasses to identify one that might fit me, but on each frame, a sticker was placed right on top of where the sizing information should be. I asked the employee about this:

Me: So why do they have a sticker on top of the sizing information? I can’t see if the frame is the right size for me.

Him: Well they have to put the sticker somewhere.

Me: Well they could put it anywhere on the arm and not block the sizing information!

Him:

He offered to pick out a pair of Prada frames for me, and he actually did pick out a very nice pair. No complaints about his skill. Total price with lenses: About $500.

I pulled out my phone, planning to take a picture of myself wearing the frames so I could use it for future reference in comparison shopping.

Me: You don’t mind if I take a picture of myself wearing the glasses, do you?

Him: Sorry, that’s not allowed.

Me: Really, I can’t just take a photo of myself?

Him: You can’t take a photos, but I can take a photo for you.

Me: What’s the difference between you taking a picture and me taking a picture?

Him: It’s because your photo leaves with you; My photo stays here.

Me: Sorry, that’s not acceptable. I’m leaving.

Him: OK, have a good day!

This doesn’t make sense to me. I have asked for permission to take multiple self-photos at at least four other optical shops, and never had a single complaint. The only place where I’ve had a problem is at Hakim Optical.

Why is Hakim Optical so secretive? Why don’t they want people seeing the sizing numbers on the frames? Why don’t they want people taking photos of themselves wearing sample frames? This kind of secrecy turns me off. If one retailer is being secritive when their competitors are quite open, I think it means there’s something the secretive retailer doesn’t want you to find out about their products or business. While the employee was completely polite during the entire encounter, I don’t like doing business under such conditions. I was happy to leave.