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May 14, 2013

Scientific Due Diligence

by @ 5:18 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

There is a funny thing going on in nutritional sciences that I find difficult to explain, but not completely unheard of. As opticians we are subscribers to the Wave Theory of light as developed by Christian Huygens. This wasn’t always the case. Early in optics history, Newton’s Corpuscular Theory of light was favored even though it wasn’t quite correct. It couldn’t fully explain certain experimental phenomena like diffraction and interference. The current theory of light is encompassed in Quantum Mechanics.  Einstein, in describing the photoelectric effect, essentially combined both Newton’s (particle) and Huygen’s (wave) paradigms. As opticians, we stick to (more…)

January 24, 2013

Nutrition – (part II )

by @ 7:57 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

As some of you may know, I’ve taken on a lifestyle change that has altered my outlook on a few things. Food is medicine and medicine is food, in a way. How dietary recommendations have changed has confounded many and with each study a new piece of the puzzle seems to invalidate a previous study and make the puzzle harder to piece together. After reading several books on the subject I’m convinced that (more…)

Financial Advisors Dilemma

by @ 3:16 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

I get a lot of spam from online publications. One I got that had this headline caught my eye “Altruism: The real ethical dilemma faced by financial planners.” This seemed a little odd to me. I would have responded directly, but didn’t want to sign up for another account. So, where to begin. The article makes a philosophical argument against altruism (as defined by Auguste Comte) in the finance sector. I honestly didn’t know (more…)

November 20, 2012

Why I Stand in Solidarity with the Walmart Black Friday Strike

by @ 6:08 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

Walmart is one of those companies that’s easy to hate. They almost make it too easy. As someone who has worked for them, I can’t help but agree with many assessments made by others.  Walmart seems to engage in all sorts of crappy behavior; whether they get tax breaks from townships against the wishes of its citizens, their abysmal percentage of healthcare enrollment, healthcare premiums rising, a great percentage of employees on government assistance due in part to their low wages, “dead peasant” insurance policies, and that’s not even touching its alleged predatory pricing, supposed supplier issues and labor relation problems (i.e. claims of union busting, purportedly not paying employees for time workedallegations of worker discrimination, and supposed poor working conditions)  it has as well as overseas allegations of bribery. One has to wonder what their mission statement is. Is it “Walmart: Creating Hell on Earth?” Makes one wonder. “Family Guy” has even parodied this in their episode “Hell Comes to Quahog.” While a general boycott that works would be welcome, boycotts also hurt the workers which Walmart seems so eager to punitively react to. So, Walmart workers will be on strike for “Black Friday.” I like this idea. It’s a “vote with your feet” endeavor that isn’t protracted as some boycotts get. Also, please remember that Black Friday isn’t the safest day to go out shopping. People have been  pepper sprayed, gotten hurt  because of a riot over a 2 dollar waffle maker, shot at in the parking lot and trampled to death at Walmart.

You can follow the protest on twitter at #walmartstrikers and at Making Change at Walmart which is a website dedicated to unionizing Walmart or at the very least, improving working conditions.

 

October 16, 2012

Getting a loan

by @ 6:46 pm. Filed under Optician's Friend Blog, Personal Opinions

While it is no secret that banks aren’t lending to small businesses, I was quite shocked to find that local credit unions are equally as absent from lending. This post goes out to the very wonderful people at Group Financial and Jodi Goldfarb-Sullivan in particular whose help has been valuable in securing capital and financing for equipment. She’s also a teacher of sorts and has a love for things vintage. If you to are in the industry and need financing, I would give Group Financial a try which will be at the Next Vision Expo East.

October 9, 2012

60 Minutes Luxottica Segment

by @ 6:08 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

For the sake of full disclosure I own my own optical, but my opinion has been the same despite this fact.

60 Minutes Luxottica Video Segment

After reading many of the comments about the video I felt it was my duty… nay, my moral obligation to give my two cents on the topic. Luxottica is affectionately known as the evil empire in some optical circles. I feel that an Independent Practitioner point of view would shed some light on some of the shenanigans that pervade the optical industry. I feel that the video segment fell a little flat on the point of consumer costs. While Lux owns many chains like Lens Crafters, Pearle, Target Optical, Sears Optical, Ilori and I’m sure I’m missing one or two, the argument made in the video is that their prices are exorbitant. While this may be the case, you have the option of buying glasses anywhere you wish. No one is forced to buy anything from them. What obligation do they have to charge less than they do? Are they doing anything illegal regarding pricing? As was mentioned by the CEO, eye glasses cost whatever the consumer is willing to pay for it. As far as I know, they don’t collude so they aren’t breaking the law….sort of. They don’t have to think about collusion because they own so much of the market. With whom to collude?…And this is where the problem lies.

Lux is a force of nature in this industry and they let the Independents know it. It is something akin to the “dark side” in the Star Wars mythos. They own so many designer frame lines. If one wants to get Lux product, one has to comply with purchase orders of pieces well above the norm. In other words, if I open an account and want to get, say….Chanel, the minimum purchase orders are through the roof, which can impose a real burden on a small business. Now, Crystal Eyecare can’t get Chanel because we are considered too medical and not boutique enough, which is fine by me. Name brands aren’t as important as they would be in a boutique. My concerns are for reliable and consistent vision which I provide through a warranty (1 or 2 years depending on the frame vendor – 2 year warranty on any Crizal or comparable Anti-Reflective coated lens).

Eyemed is by far the most damning part of the segment in my opinion. Lux owns a vision insurance company. While we (@ Crystal Eyecare) do take this insurance, it is somewhat difficult to administer benefits. They don’t provide valid ID numbers for their members which would help us tremendously. Eyemed has way too many plans, each with their own twist, but not significantly so to warrant another plan. Many are discount plans that seem to be peddled as funded insurance plans which generates copious amounts of confusion. Their reimbursement is fairly low, especially for doctor services.

The 60 Minutes segment should have been called the” illusion of choice.” That’s the real problem. Lux flies under the radar because they have too many names, kinda like…Satan…you know…having too many names.

While the video mentions Walmart and Costco as options, they aren’t by any means the only option. In the case of Walmart, you would be trading one monolithic company for another. I would choose Independent Practitioners over a chain. You can get better service and better lens choice which could be the difference between being a non-adapt or a happy progressive lens wearer. Some Indie’s may offer specialty repairs, soldering/welding of broken frames and can do some pretty amazing things. Find a local optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist that is involved in the community, that you are comfortable with and within your budget. Too many often under estimate the quality of a good doctor-patient relationship to your overall health. In the scheme of things it should be about vision and health and less about “designer eye wear.” One can be fashionable and see great without having to have a D&G plastered on the side of your head.

August 15, 2012

Nutrition

by @ 2:31 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

I’ve been reading quite a bit about many different types of diets; The Standard American Diet (USDA approved), The Vegan/Vegetarian Diet (ie China Study), AtkinsPaleo Diet/Primal Blueprint, Smarter Science of Slim (SSoS), and a few others like the Abs Diet which isn’t as comprehensive as the others. I’ve been given the talk. You know the one… Your blood pressure is a bit high, your overweight, it’s time to go on a diet etc… As some of you may know, I started a business and time is a premium, always. It’s hard to find time to exercise, to go shopping, to prepare food and eat healthy in general. Since June was a relatively slow month, I decided itwould be a good time to start a diet

(more…)

May 29, 2012

Internet Defamation

by @ 7:58 pm. Filed under Optician's Friend Blog, Personal Opinions

At some point in our internet browsing, we are becoming familiar with ratings and reviews from a variety of sites like yelp, patch, Google and many others. If one has a business, one will have to confront negative reviews by vandals and others who do not care to smear one’s good name for their desire to let off steam. The worst of these offenders are anonymous posters and sites that encourage bad behavior.  Many sites disclaim the content authored by its members. While I agree with this in theory, in reality it turns out to be a very different experience. This website gets all manner of comments whose links go to some magical pill that cures all ills, pornography, and advertisements. I filter these out. To a certain degree it makes the site a little more boring, but it makes it much more reliable. In other words, I monitor the site, and while I’m not responsible for what people comment I try to make sure that people stay on topic and not go overboard with their comments. This is not the case with sites like yelp and patch. While it may seem like claiming one’s online business listing  is important, one must beware the cost. For example, editing one’s business information should be readily given to you (if you are the owner) as well as the ability to delete the listing. Not so with yelp and patch. These sites allow vandalism with little or no recourse for the business owner. Worse, businesses like yelp, may offer you a fee to “help” the negative reviews go away through some “proprietary” algorithm. Many claim that yelp extorts money from business owners by manipulating the reviews. If you don’t pay, the negative reviews will gain priority over positive reviews, and many positive reviews will suddenly disappear.  A blogger I wish I had been able to credit put it succinctly; ”Nice business you got here…shame if something happened to it…” So where does this leave us as business owners?  These sites aren’t going away just yet, but they can still leave a lot of damage. I would recommend some type of reputation building service to help with vandalism. There is some advice I got which may be of some help. It’s such a good source of information that I’m going to link to the site.

http://www.defamationlawblog.com/

While the lawyer seems to focus on California some of the information is applicable to anyone anywhere.

December 1, 2011

A contrarian view on tax cuts

by @ 2:29 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

What little experience I have regarding owning a business, I have learned that tax cuts for businesses do not make jobs. I’ll take my business as an example. We may be hiring in the next six months or so, because as the business grows, I become less capable of performing the ever growing list of tasks that must be (more…)

Optician n. One who is extensively trained in the interpreting of ophthalmic prescriptions and applies that knowledge to obtain the optimum visual and safety performance for the patient in a pair of spectacles or contact lenses.

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