Sunglasses Shopping Rant
About 6 years ago I decided to purchase a decent pair of sunglasses from a local Sunglass Hut. I spent an hour or so checking out what was available and settled on a nice set of Ray Ban glasses (which looked nice and also happened to be on sale). Those glasses finally met their match the other day when they fell between the driver's seat and center console in my car. This wouldn't be an issue for most people, but my seat automatically moves back to let the driver in or out, so the lenses were a bit scuffed up by the time I determined that that is where they were.
Knowing that I wouldn't be able to get replacement lenses before I went out of town for the holiday, I decided that I should probably just go out shopping a but a new set of glasses. I figured that if I really liked the new set then I'd have the others repaired and would keep them as spares. If I didn't like them, they'd go back for a refund after I got new lenses. I really didn't expect much of a problem. I guess I was wrong...
About 6 months ago I saw a pair of Maui Jim Horizons that looked great but I didn't buy them because I had sunglasses that I liked. I checked out the Maui Jim web site to make sure that they still made them (they do) so I assumed that I'd just go out and buy a set of those. They are a bit expensive at $310 but they really looked nice so I figured I'd splurge (after all, the last time I bought sunglasses was 6 years ago).
That said, after visiting more than a dozen eyewear retailers over a two-day stretch (on the weekend before Christmas), I was shocked to find that no one had a pair of Horizons and that all of the other sunglasses sold in retail right now are ugly. I checked out Ray Ban, Revo, and Maui Jim, to name a few, and none looked particularly good on me, at least not good enough to justify the $200-300 price tags. After talking to a manager at a Sunglass Hut, I was told, "yes, they still make those", "yes, they sold so well that we had problems keeping them in stock", and "no, we'll never have them again".
The only conclusion that I could come to is that the margin on that model was so slim that it wasn't worthwhile to actually stock them. After checking online and only finding them $10 cheaper (at some pretty shady-sounding stores), that's almost certainly the case. What I don't understand though is why a manufacturer would set the MSRP only slightly higher than the resale invoice cost. While I'm sure that most consumers appreciate a slightly lower price (that is, after all, why many people shop on the internet), there are some of us that would gladly kick in an extra couple percent to ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO BUY THE ITEM WE'RE LOOKING FOR.
In any case, I've resigned myself to not getting a pair of glasses that looked great on me. I guess I'll be going back out tonight to pick out something else...
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