To mend or to buy new?

This post will be about the relative costs and benefits of professionally repairing broken eyeglasses versus just buying a new pair. First, however, I shall digress.

As a somewhat environmentally conscious individual, computer printers have become a huge pet peeve of mine. An average printer for home will cost maybe $100 and include a color and black and white cartridge. Once those print cartridges expire, new cartridges cost about $50-$60, or more than half the cost of the printer. A couple of years later, that old printer gets harder and harder to justify, when you could just spend an extra $40 over the cost of cartridges and get the new state-of-the-art. Or maybe the old printer broke and a repair bill is $50-$60. The old printer gets tossed, discarded like a burrito wrapper from Taco Bell. What happens is that it becomes economically rational create significant waste. After all, who, except for someone living far away from the dollar-and-cents world, would spend the extra money to repair a printer when a new can be had for so much less?

Let’s bring this back to glasses. I have seen many sites around the internet that offer to weld broken glasses or remove the scratches from scratched lenses. Typically this will cost $20-$50 for the service. But how much is a brand new pair? Online, a basic pair can be had for $25 and nice titanium-framed pair is $55-$75, including new lenses. So to whom is it economically rationale to use the online repair service. I see that it would be rational to two groups of individuals: (1) Those who buy their glasses from retail outlets and thereby would be saving substantial money and (2) Those people who wear designer frames (Oakley, etc.) and even at discounted online prices pay $150 for a pair of eyeglasses.

What do I recommend? Well, if you just broke your glasses, I recommend the following course of action:

  1. Temporarily mend the breakage. Someone posted nice instructions at ehow.
  2. Buy a new pair from any of the multitude of online glasses retailers. You can hold out two weeks with that old frame.

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