All you have left is the Joker!

There is no budget to quantify the cost of fairness, professionalism, and passion, and if you are unable to appreciate them, you have no choice but to play the joker

Sometimes to describe what is happening one must take refuge in the early hours of the morning, in that warm, quiet coolness in which the first rays of sunshine, harbingers of a hot new day, help one see things from a different perspective, at least in terms of how much one is willing to come to terms with the diplomacy required to be understood.

It happens that all situations can be dealt with especially when one is convinced of one’s means and the value of one’s choices, but sometimes confronting live with the dynamics that are put in place without shame, without the slightest sense of fairness, of professionalism by those who describe themselves as an established reality in the optical industry is really debasing and requires the space of a few nights to open up to confrontation.

Let’s say a customer of yours decides to avail himself of the services of the German chain that has been colonizing the boot for the past few years; he orders progressive lenses like the ones you supplied him with by showing the product warranty certificate that you correctly delivered to him. Let’s say that after attempting to sell lenses of the historic German brand on display in the window on which the said chain boasts of having “the fast track” (their words) the lenses do not work and the customer asks for “a refund DIECIDECIMI®-Glasstylist®-01.jpg total” as a policy and commercial leverage recites on the site, social, posts, and everything to tell the customer that that is an attempt “…then if we fail at best we give you your money back.” But it happens that a moment before opening the drawer to physically return the money (it happened just like that) the employee on duty pulls out the joker who recites the fateful “last resort” to close the drawer again: “Go to your optician, get the quote and we guarantee you the lowest price.”….

I think there are few words, even in the coolness of the morning and with the harbinger rays of a new day, that describe the sense of discomfort I feel in thinking that these gentlemen believe they are doing the same job that I do and so many colleagues who really do this job and, above all, really respect and love it. This lowly world, nurtured in every corner of the industry, where everything is related to price and transfers to the end customer “nothingness” that you just have to try to pay less for, do we really want to just look at it and debase ourselves by turning the other way?

Like many independent opticians I repeat I am well aware that I am in a different trade and that you cannot fight the commercial overpower of chains any more than you can fight ignorance. But as the intelligent person I repute myself to be, along with my colleagues, I wonder how it is possible that the industry accepts these methods and somehow supports them by talking to us in the daily rotogravures about the successes of these entrepreneurs and meticulously counting openings along the boot attributing entrepreneurial skills that should never be apart from values such as fairness to the market and even more so to the end customer. How is it possible that schools of optics and optometry open their doors to these gentlemen allowing them to go and mold valuable human material ready to launch themselves into a world that they describe to them as a great opportunity, but which then conceals a work philosophy that reads “go to your optician and we’ll give you the lowest price anyway”? Where are the teachings that still echo in their young heads about ethics, professionalism, fairness in work, passion and competence to solve problems and give visual wellness solutions to a customer, when one is dragged from within those same schools into realities where “corporate policy” is about not value but price and lower regardless of what the customer needs?

But why do you spend money to plant trees and wash your face with green trends and exotic business levers instead of investing in a few quintals of fairness that you are also forced to divide between the outlets currently open in our beautiful country and those that the business plan tells you to open? Think about that you may be in danger of remotely resembling the idea of an optical store that deserves an Italian customer.

By now the sun’s rays sweeping over me on the terrace are warm….and the time I wanted to devote to this reflection has expired. But so much could be said and done if only the fine words that are spent on the discussion tables of congresses of all kinds would even find their way to consistency in daily action. Just to close in frankness…these initiatives are the preserve not only of the German chain, but also of all others and alas even of small entities that have lost their compass in pursuit of the so-called “free market.”

Gentlemen, fairness costs, professionalism costs, passion in one’s work costs. There is no estimate you can make to quantify them, and if you are unable to appreciate them, it is only fair that you play the wild card.


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