Hong Kong: Eyeglasses & Eye Exam for the same price of an Eye Exam in North America.

Posted: October 30, 2014 in clothing, discovery, shopping
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Egg Optical is a chain of optical stores on the Kowloon side.  They deserve attention as their pricing is fully transparent.  If you google eyeglass frames, you will find the majority of name brands are owned by Luxottica through licensing deals.  Luxottica has monopoly power over the eyeglass industry owning every possible name brand you can imagine from Oakley to Cartier.  I disdain name brands and I loathe people dictating how I chose to spend my dollars.

2014-10-25 19.06.14

Frame pricing without the need to bargain and fight.

Imagine being a non-native English speaker and taking a trip to a first world nation.  You have people with the weirdest labels on the side of their glasses.  Who really wants a Coach sign on their frames?  If you do not know the Coach brand, you would assume the person is insinuating they are normal/coach class.  Do people wear frames with First Class plastered on the side?  Nope.  So why would one buy frames showing they are part of Coach class?  TYFBO.

As a consumer, you come to realize the optical stores in nice areas have sky high rents to pay.  They need you to pay it by buying a branded product so they can reap the big margins.  Time Square CWB is known for the most expensive rents in all of Hong Kong.  In the specific epicentre of high rents, you have one main industry – watch stores and eyeglasses.  Optical stores probably have even better margins than wrist watches but they lack the ability to fleece consumers in one lump sum.  $40k for a wrist watch vs. $4k for a pair of optics.  Consumers can only afford to be stupid for so long.  Optics fix visual impairment, a function to enjoying life yet in third world countries optics can be had for $1 USD.  Granted they won’t say Cartier on the side but having Rolex on the side of your glasses won’t save your life either.  It paints a target on your back.

Egg Optical Boutiques provide a low cost wallet friendly option for one to fix their eyes.  They have 4 different prices for the frames: $380, $580 $780 and $980.  As you go up in price,  you get lighter frames and trendy designs.  I went with a $580 frame.  There are two lens options: Syperhic (no cost) and Asypheric ($200) and 3 different types of lenses: normal (no cost), thin ($200) and ultra thin ($400).  This is the new model.  Gone are the days of having the shop keep punch in everything into a calculator to show your final price, this is the model prevalent in paying tourist pricing while travelling.  Why is it still prevalent in buying a common good?

2014-10-25 19.06.25

lens options

I enjoyed my Egg Optical purchase.  I didn’t have to fight for anything nor did I have to bargain.  Everything was transparent up front.  They did not have to upsell on coatings and lens.  I did not have to ask for a price and wait for them to do the calculator show then ask for a discount and bargain from there.  I know the price I paid is fair and everyone is privy to the same deal.

I bought the frame for $580, paid $200 for Aspheric lens and another $200 for thin lens to bring my final tally to $980.  I failed to mention the price I paid also included the eye exam – the first one with the machine to do the rough estimate and final exam with a trained optometrist to fine tune the machine findings.  They spent close to an hour all said and done and I am fully happy with the purchase.  $980 HKD is $125 USD.  I pay $150 USD for an eye exam back home and another $250 for eyewear so I can have a name plastered on the side of my head.  The days of this are no more.  It was a true waste of parent’s money back in the day for my first pair of POLO frames.  I hope someone will rise up and take on Luxottica.  I would do it for free if I have unlimited access to capital.  I had hoped Google would take on and crush Luxottica but they end up signing on as a client, maintaining the broken status-quo.  Que up the China Government, as they can do this with relative ease.  Please do.

Shopping notes: pay very close attention to the weight of the frame and glasses.  You do not want something that is heavy as it will leave a large indention on your nose.  Another thing to take note, large temple/ear stem will block your peripheral vision so go with something on the thin side.  By blocking out your peripherals, you will operate the same as a horse wearing blinders only being able to look forward.

2014-10-26 21.39.57

old glasses on the left, super heavy. new Egg glasses on the right, the frame alone weighs 14 grams.

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