Two months ago, I finally went to the optician to make a new pair of glasses.
My old pair was due for a change for some time. But I’ve been quite reluctant to change it because of the cost and the effort of having to find a good optician. I made my old pair about 6 years ago, but the optician closed down his shop a few years back.
And so, I’ve been tolerating blurry vision for some time. I had to squint just to see the text clearly from a distance.
The last straw came when, about 2-3 months back, I accidentally flagged the wrong bus. I mistook bus 98 for bus 30. It was so embarrassing, especially when I was the only person at the bus stop. I waved and bowed apologetically to the bus driver who kept staring at me. How on earth did I mistake bus 98 for bus 30 remains a mystery to me. But the fact that my blurry vision led me to see the wrong numbers was a sign that it’s finally time to change my glasses. No more delays!
Also, as a philosopher, I really should take better care of my eyes, especially since I read a lot. I know of two philosophers who have strained their eyes so much that they suffered from detached retinas. Yes, that’s right. The wiring, which connects their eyeballs to their brains, had been under so much strain that it broke and detached itself from the eyeball! Eeew… I squirm every time I think about it.
Indeed, no more delays.
Part of the reason for my reluctance to change the old spectacles was that I couldn’t find a good optician. I’ve heard of some horror stories of friends who paid a lot only to get a pair that was so uncomfortable to wear, that they gave up and returned to their old pair. A big waste of money.
Moreover, it really doesn’t help that these days, I find it difficult to find an optician who’s sincerely motivated to help, or one with a decent set of technical knowledge. I’ve been to several shops but many are just bad or meh.
To my annoyance, those who appear passionate/enthusiastic about helping often gave me the vibes that they are more passionate about making a quick buck from you. I don’t trust them or their recommendations. And then there are those who lack the passion to help because they hate their jobs. I’d rather avoid paying for their service because they won’t be motivated to go the extra mile to help in case anything goes wrong.
It’s been such a turnoff, and so, for some time, I’ve had much difficulties finding a shop I could trust.
In the end, I decided to try my friends’ shop (they’re a couple). I knew that they’re involved in their family’s optical shop, but I usually try to separate friends from business because it can make the friendship rather complicated. But due to the urgent need for a new pair, I figured it might be worthwhile to give it a shot. And so I did!
(At this point, I should state that this blog post is done out of my own free will, written because I was genuinely very impressed by the service and experience I had while I was there. I think good businesses should be praised and promoted. It’s hard to find good service these days.)
Their shop is called “Sincere Optics,” and it is located on the 3rd floor of Beauty World Shopping Centre (144 Upper Bukit Timah Road), a very quaint and sleepy shopping centre that still retains its original 70s look and feel. Initially, I thought that no one comes to this shopping centre because it looks so old and run down. But I was wrong. On weekends, it’s filled with lots of people, especially parents who drop their kids off for tuition or dance classes, as they sit outside to read the newspapers.
Sincere Optics is a family business that has been around for about three generations. In fact, they’ve been around for so long, that they continue to serve loyal customers and their families, up to three generations! Talk about personalised service! Imagine that! Up to three generations have come and gone to their shop for spectacles and contact lenses. Wow!
As this business is their life, the people running the place are very friendly, passionate, and sincere in what they do. They have their family reputation and brand to uphold, but above and beyond that, they take pride in their family tradition, and hold true to their values, especially that of being sincere (hence the name of their shop).
The impression I got is that they’ve developed quite a friendship with their customers. Not only do they remember the names of their regular customers, but they also remember the prescription of their disposable contact lenses as well. It takes a lot of care, concern and effort to be able to remember these things very well.
Looking back at my experience with them, this is a truly wonderful service which you don’t get with modern “corporate” businesses. They’re usually so cold and impersonal. This, however, was a truly personalised service made a lot better with the extra care and concern that they have.
These were all that I witnessed when I first walked in to visit their shop. I haven’t even been served by them yet!
When my friends, Hanes and Melissa, were done serving their customers, they came to me. Though we are friends, they nonetheless delivered a very professional service. You could see the teamwork in their family operation. After using the machine to check my eye, they handed me over to their colleague, a long-time family friend and staff, who then tested my eyesight. He was fast yet very meticulous. Within minutes, they’ve determined the new power of my eyes. Turns out the power remained the same, but my astigmatism doubled.
Then came the fun part of choosing a new frame. This time, I was open to the idea of change. After all, I had been wearing this old frame design for 10 years. As I mentioned earlier, I wore the previous pair for 6 years. Before that, I had another pair of the same design for 4 years. I was supposed to wear it for much longer, but I lost that pair while I was out at sea. It was my first time seeing huge waves at the beach in Australia, and so I wanted to see the waves up close in person. My friends advised me to remove my glasses before going into the sea, but I stubbornly refuse. My desire was fulfilled when I got hit in the face by a huge wave, only to discover that my glasses had fallen out, never to be found again. Oops!
So I picked out a new design and paid for the glasses. In less than a week, I got a call that my new glasses was ready. I was excited and rushed down to their shop to collect. I’ve wore this pair for two months, and I can definitely say that it has given me absolutely no problems at all.
Here’s my new glasses and my new look:
And here I am with the lovely couple who helped made this possible:
Anyway, if you are looking for opticians whom you can really trust, I strongly recommend them. It’s their life and their life’s work. These are people, craftsmen and craftswomen, who take their work seriously, and are truly passionate and sincere in what they do – qualities I find lacking in many optical shops today.
It’s been such a great experience. I am sure to come back here again, and even bring my future children here to make their specs, thus following other loyal customers who have been here faithfully for generations.
Here’s their address if you wish to visit them: