October 6, 2008 — I’m angry today, because I’ve just wasted two trips to LensCrafters, and now must start over from scratch looking for new eyeglasses.
I wanted to buy new glasses. I knew what I wanted, and I had my prescription (written by the nice lady at the EyeExam office inside LensCrafters, for the bargain price of just $59.95). However, the salespeople I spoke with (and the general manager) kept trying to pitch me on “upgrades” — featherweight lenses, anti-reflective coating, and the “new thing” called AVP (for “Advanced View Progressive,” not “Alien Vs. Predator”).
I had to ask four times before the salesperson finally went into the back and brought out samples of lenses with and without the “anti-reflective” (AR) coating. I was suitably impressed, so we moved forward to the AVP issue. The salesperson could not explain it to me, and I became so frustrated and angry that I simply left the store, promising to return later when I was in a better mood.
But when I returned six hours later, in a better mood and absolutely expecting to spend $300 to $400 on a new pair of eyeglasses, nothing really changed. I asked at least ten different ways for the salesperson and manager to explain what AVP actually is, other than some marketing hype. Each time they explained it, it sounded just a little bit different from the time before.
But one thing was clear: glasses without AVP are crap, and I really needed to buy AVP. No, they couldn’t “show me” anything. No, there was no sales literature. No, AVP is not explained technically.
I finally took a break and tried to research the issue online, using my iPhone. (Of course, this was hard to do since I didn’t have the right eyeglasses.) Eventually, I determined that there simply didn’t seem to be any reference to AVP (“Advanced View Progressive”) anywhere other than at LensCrafters’ own web site. When I pointed this out, the general manager told me that AVP is the same technology as “Accolade,” so I tried to research that. I found that there are no web pages ther mention both AVP and Accolade — clearly, they are not the same technology.
I asked, again and again, to be shown anything that would actually describe or show the difference between AVP and non-AVP progressive lenses. The staff was unanimous: there was nothing. I even called another LensCrafters store, and got the exact same explanation and agreement that there was nothing that either explained or demonstrated the difference.
So what’s the deal? Is AVP just another made-up buzzword like they use to sell toothpaste and gasoline at inflated prices? It certainly seems to be. I walked out of LensCrafters twice today, because I won’t do business with bait-and-switch scam artists. I expect to pay more money tomorrow at another optician to get the glasses that LensCrafters persuaded me that I should not buy from them.
Added 10-7-2008: Some form of “better progressive lenses” are apparently offered by a number of companies under different trademarks. None of these web sites actually explain the technology or provide a credible demonstration. This all appears to be “marketing hype” with no actual benefit for your money.
- Advanced View Progressive (AVP) – LensCrafters
- Verilux Physio – WAVE (Wavefront Advanced Vision Enhancement)
- Accolade & Accolade Freedom With FrameOptimization Technology
- Harmonix (Accolade’s “Technology”)
- EasyView (PearleVision)
— Mark J. Welch