I am lucky to have been blessed with 20-20 vision thus far in my life. Since that’s the case, my familiarity with the eye industry has never extended beyond seeing an optometrist — and I hope it stays that way.
It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I peeked a bit further behind the curtain, when my girlfriend found herself needing new glasses. As her partner in life, I was tasked with providing my “professional” opinion on which frames she should pick, a simple enough duty that become a pretty eye-opening adventure (pun only partially intended).
I had always known that glasses were not a particularly cheap item to buy, but I had no idea how expensive even the simplest, generic pair could be. Even more shocking was the vast range in price for frames that seemed identical to one another in so many ways.
Are these glasses worth more than a minuscule fraction of the final price that we pay as consumers? Or is corporate America flexing its power once again to take advantage of us?
Knowing that they were a necessity for my girlfriend, I swallowed my shock and provided the best opinion I could. It wasn’t until now, several months later, that a video from the hilarious people at College Humor reinstated my disbelief and my frustration about this seeming thievery.
The video is called “The Conspiracy Behind Your Glasses,” and is part of the popular series Adam Ruins Everything.
The Monopoly Game We Don’t Want to Play
Prior to this video I had not heard of Luxottica, and now, after having done some research, I see why. Despite being the controlling entity behind 80% of the eyeglass and sunglass brands on the market, they remain hidden from our view.
When we find ourselves at our local optical store we think that we are choosing between Oakley, Armani, and Prada, when in reality we are very likely deciding between Luxottica, Luxottica, and Luxottica.
They Can Charge Virtually Anything
Given that glasses are a necessity to most who wear them, and Luxottica controls the majority of both “cheap” and expensive brands out there, they have effectively put themselves in a position to charge whatever they like.
As consumers, the best we can do is research the few remaining brands and stores not owned by Luxottica and choose to support them. If limited to Luxottica brands, we can elect to go with the most affordable choices out there, knowing that they ultimately come from the same line of production.
The less willing we as a collective are willing to pay top dollar for the “best” brands out there, the more inclined this corporate mega-giant will be to lower its prices.
It’s a Monopoly That Runs Deep
Luxottica’s power over this industry is simply terrifying. Beyond eyeglasses, the company also holds the top spot in sunglasses, optical stores, and eye insurance, making them nearly unavoidable.
Let this video educate you to no longer buy into the illusion of choice and to make as informed a decision as possible when it comes to your eyewear.
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