September 16, 2013

An Introvert's Guide to Buying Sunglasses

(This method probably won't work for you unless you hire someone forgetful to mow your lawn.) I don't know anything about fashion, but it's really important to me to have a pair of sunglasses to reduce the glare when I'm driving. It's always devastating to walk out to my car after work on a hot Texas afternoon and discover that my sunglasses aren't in the car.

I don't need anything pricey. In fact, cheaper is better because sunglasses tend to break rather easily the way I'm always shoving them in and out of pockets, etc. So shopping for inexpensive shades  means making the dreaded trip to a big box retail store and standing in front of the sunglasses carousel like a moron looking in the little mirror attempting to figure out which pair is the least uncomfortable and looks the least ridiculous.

A gift on my doorstep?
But not anymore. Several years ago I had a sunglasses epiphany which has forever changed how I buy them. One hot summer day I discovered a pair of sunglasses outside our front door. Seriously! Our lawn service had been there earlier in the day, so we figured that one of the mowers accidentally took off his glasses and left them out front.

No problem. We thought perhaps the lawn guy would realize his sunglasses were missing and he'd come back. So we left them out on the front step, but a couple of days later they were still there. My wife called the lawn company to let them know and told them we'd leave them out there so the rightful owner could come back and grab them.

The sunglasses sat outside our front door for days. And days. And a few more days. I think the lawn service had even come back two weeks later to mow again but didn't pick them up. Eventually we had to do something. Had this been an item of significant value we would have called the police and filed an abandoned property report. But these were just a regular old pair of cheap shades. Or so I thought.

Eventually I brought them inside and thought hey, I wonder if these would fit me. They had been outside for quite a while, so I gave them a thorough washing in the sink, slapped them on my face and voila! They fit perfectly and worked really well for driving in the sun.

I don't know if there's anything in Texas statutes about "Finders keepers, losers weepers," or "Possession is nine-tenths of the law," but we undoubtedly had given the owner plenty of time to claim them. (You'll understand why nobody came back for them in a moment.)

Eventually I started to realize that there was something unusual about these cheap lawn-guy sunglasses. They lasted a long time without breaking. Finally when they broke I feared it was time for the horrid trip to the store. But, wait. I liked this pair so much that I looked at the brand name on the stem (Ztek) and plugged it into the web to see where I could buy another pair.

Suddenly I figured out why the lawn guy never came back for them. These weren't just sunglasses. They were safety glasses! Companies buy them cheaply in bulk. So whoever left them probably just grabbed another pair out of a box when he got to the mowing company's office the next morning.

Fancy packaging
Now I buy them online in a three pack for just a few bucks whenever a pair breaks so there's always one pair in my car, one pair in my wife's car and a third pair floating around for other outdoor activities.

I have no idea what this means, but I can proudly say that the sunglasses I wear every day are made from impact-resistant polycarbonate and meet the ANSI Z87.1 & CAN/CSA Z94.3-07 standard. Can your shades do that?

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