Optical Retail Success 98


Tasty, weekly nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your optical retail business/career.


“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
—Theodore Roosevelt


They Were The Best of Tribes. They Were The Worst of Tribes.

Even in the 21st century, we have an enormous tendency as humans to separate ourselves into tribes, obviously not in the nomadic sense, but in terms of politics, occupations, geography, religion, race, fandom, socio-economic classes... we are masters at it largely because our brains can’t tell the difference.


Tribes can be an incredibly positive force in our lives giving us a sense of belonging, a social outlet, a means of doing good, and a support system. In fact, evidence suggests that tribes may even play a significant role in improving our lifespan.


But all is not roses in the garden. Tribes can also have a profoundly negative effect on our lives and society as a whole, particularly when we don’t recognize the innate biases that go hand-in-hand with being a member of a tribe.  


What do tribes have to do with optical retail success?


When we understand tribes, we have a better understanding of people and their motivations, including ourselves. Having that understanding not only allows us to have a greater capacity to deal with the people we serve but also allows us to empathize, which is essential for long-term optical retail success.


The human brain is a pattern-matching machine. Pattern-matching is how we learn. We turn shapes into letters, letters into words, words into phrases, and phrases into meaning. We can instantly recognize a dog from a cat, even though there are probably more differences within each species than there are between them. If our brains had to analyze every piece of data received from every sensory input, it would quickly be overwhelmed and we would be reduced to bags of meat. Our ability to pattern-match is a survival mechanism and an incredibly powerful tool, but it’s not without its faults. We often find patterns that aren’t there as well as disregard important exceptions to them (because of another bug in our software called confirmation bias).


Tribalism is a form of pattern-matching. From an evolutionary standpoint, tribes equal safety. People in the same tribe; generally people that look alike, talk alike, and share the same culture (i.e. share a similar pattern) view each other as safe. They help one another because cooperation gives them a better chance of survival.


On the other hand, people outside the tribe represent a threat, a danger. They are different, they don’t match the pattern, therefore their motives are unclear. In all likelihood, they are vying for the same scarce resources.


Obviously, we no longer depend on tribes for survival. Yet even today, these tendencies, are deeply ingrained in our primitive brain—the amygdala—and shape our daily actions and decisions. Our brain sees little difference between our political affiliation and our nomadic ancestors on the savannah.


We still believe on a deep level, that people in other tribes (even the most superficial and inconsequential) are wrong, or bad, or incomprehensibly stupid for no other reason than they do not belong to our own. Think about fans of a rival sports team, followers of an “out there” religion, or members of the opposing political party. I’m willing to bet, when you think of these groups, not many kind words jump to mind. I can certainly attest to its truth in my own brain. Well, this is actually your primitive brain telling you these groups are a threat to your survival. Crazy right?


Now, if you are thinking to yourself,“That’s not crazy, those people are a threat to my survival.”, you might just want to skip the rest of this and move onto the next section. Otherwise, I have a pair of glasses I’d like you to try on. These are, of course, figurative glasses. But, glasses that can give you a new view of the world. Try them on, look around, see if anything seems different. Then maybe stick them in the drawer and pull them out another day to see if you notice any difference.


Here’s what you do: For a while, stop viewing people through a lens of “good and bad” or “us and them.” I know it sounds ridiculous, if not impossible. But, instead, try to see people as simply not knowing the same things you know…view them as ignorant. That’s easy, right?


Customers are a great place to start. Especially the ones that do things you consider to be “stupid.” But you can apply it to anyone you encounter. Anytime you catch yourself viewing someone in a negative light, consider for a minute the possibility that they don’t know what you know, they haven’t had the same experiences you’ve had, and as a result don’t (or maybe even can’t) believe the same things you believe.


Conversely, anytime you find yourself liking or agreeing with someone, ask yourself if they simply aren’t echoing what you already believe. In other words, maybe you like them, for no other reason than they are a member of your tribe.


Seeing the world this way can be freeing and life-changing in itself, but the real power is in what comes next.


Once you get good at recognizing that most people who act “badly”, don’t actually act out of malice, they simply act out of ignorance—the way their limited experience and pattern matching brains tell them to act—you can flip the lens around on yourself.  


You can start to see that you also act out of ignorance. That you do not know the same things that other people know (particularly those in different tribes) and you do not have the same experiences. Your pattern-matching machine has the same flaws that everyone else’s has.


Given enough of a chance, you might discover a startling truth:


That nearly everyone is right. Because, if you only knew the same things they know and if you only believed the same things they believe...  you would do the same things they do...


...even if that means buying glasses online. 😉



You may be wrong, but all I know…

...it’s good to consider the possibility. I’m not sure that’s exactly how the Billy Joel song goes but, it turns out we all might be a bit better off by learning to say “I disagree with myself” every now and then. 



Fare Game

How would Laramy-K (IOT/Younger) freeform lenses fare in a side-by-side comparison with big brand freeform? Huffman Family Eyecare decided to find out.  They made this cool video of a wearer comparison between our Integrity Rebel Camber and the Hoya ID Lifestyle 2 Harmony on a customer with a -6.00 Rx. Here’s what they found out.

Maybe Camber isn’t just for hyperopes after all.



You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out 

We apparently now have the technology that would allow us to fire laser beams from contact lenses. Why, exactly, would anyone other than a comic book hero (or villain) want to do that? I’m glad you asked. Here are some good answers.



It’s Not The Fall That Kills You

Just in case you still thought it might be a good idea to compete on price, here you can get two pairs of glasses with free shipping for less than twenty bucks. As Seth Godin says, “The problem with engaging in the race to the bottom is that you might win.”



Standing Under The Feet of Giants

In a world of online giants, amidst the “retail apocalypse”, mom and pop are finding a way to thrive.


“They can beat us when it comes to price… and they can beat us at delivery times… but they can’t touch us on human interaction.”


“Shopping for a book is an emotional experience. The future of bookstores are small and mixed concept stores. [They will be] social spaces where you develop that emotional connection by books that are curated by literature nerds.” YES!


“You need to create something unique. Otherwise, what’s the point when you can just click.”


I’ve always thought an eyeglass store would be a perfect pairing for a small niche bookstore… with good coffee, of course.



Jailhouse Rock

Music can be an important part of building a remarkable customer experience. However, before spinning that next tune, you may want to know a few details that can help you avoid legal trouble and hefty fines.



Finish Them!

By now, you surely know that in-office finishing in one of the best ways to give yourself an edge over online retail. Well, if you’ve been thinking about adding it to your mix or have staff you’d like to train. We’re here to help!

In addition to our wildly popular, incredibly entertaining, and highly informative YouTube and Facebook videos, Laramy-K OpticianWorks is now offering a free in-office finishing course. Just visit OpticianWorks.com/edge to enroll.  



Video of The Week:  Lee Makes His Own Glasses 

This week John help’s a friend make his own single vision, intermediate glasses. Modern edging equipment is so easy to use, we let Lee come over and make his own glasses. With help on setup and some guidance, anyone can learn to edge basic single vision jobs. If Lee can do it, so can you. 


Although, we may already have more video content to create than we can finish before we die, send me an email and let me know if there is anything you’d like to see us cover in the next Video of The Week.


Through the OpticianWorks free video lessons, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.


You can help keep it going in two ways:

Become a paid-member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).

Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent uncut work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!


I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Retail Success.  

Here’s to your success in this year and beyond.

Thanks for reading and sharing!