In middle school, despite a raging astigmatism, I decided glasses were for dorks and begged my mom to get me contact lenses – for my birthday. Seriously. This was just a year or so after I asked for (and received) a full motion waterbed for Christmas, which my parents probably bought me knowing darned well and good that it would serve as an auditory alarm (swoosh!) and nauseating (Dramamine!) deterrent from the celebrated high school past time of climbing in bed with girls. I realize now that this is all evidence that something was off from the get go with me. Freaking waterbed.
Maybe glasses weren’t as cool then as they are now. But that can’t be true – half of the glasses from then are in style again now, and they’re completely amazing. So really, I just wasn’t as cool then as I am now, right? Because I love glasses, from the very surface of my cornea all the way into the deep dark depths of my macula and optic nerve.
Gimme five (pair)
So yes, WarbyParker.com, I do believe I will get all up in your free trial and wiggle around a bit, by which I mean I mean to say I would be most pleased to try 5 pairs of your fine sorta-designer frames on my mug in the comfort of my skivvies. And then crowdsource the decision making process to 300 of my closest friends.
So I do. My five pair show up in a beautiful black box and an online fashion show ensues. I reach out to my modest network of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ followers who are more than eager to dress me up like a doll and weigh in with comments like “Pair #1 makes your eyes look too squinty” (from my own father).
The votes pour in. Really, the votes slow trickle in, like the water faucet in elementary school when you were really thirsty but your thumb wasn’t strong enough to hold the button all the way down, or like peeing when there is no divider between urinals and the dude next to you has a case of the stares. My favorite aren’t even actual votes, they are scenes that my friend / coworker / native resident of the future @ChrisDancy dreams up from a fjord somewhere in the Nordics (these are his actual tweets):
Pair number 1: Your mouth says no but your eyes say yes.
Pair number 2: I can’t stop looking into the sun.
Pair number 3: I’m here to talk to you about the church. (This one comes across while I am on the phone with our CTO and I guffaw.)
Pair number 4: Burnt over easy with a side of OJ.
Pair number 5: I understand your warranty states end of February, but lady it’s April now.
I hatch my own highly scientific scoring system
Some people voted for two pair, and some people just for one, which led me to hatch my own proprietary scoring system in which each person gets two votes. If they only vote for one pair, I apply both of their votes to that pair (2 points total). If they vote for two pair, each pair gets one vote (1 point per pair). Anyone who votes for 3 pair is an indecisive ninny and gets un-friended on those grounds alone.
Here’s where we stand today, on Day 2 of my allotted 5 day at-home trial:
Pair number 1: 5 points
Pair number 2: 2 points
Pair number 3: 3 points
Pair number 4: 30 points
Pair number 5: 40 points
So everyone has voted. Now what?
Quite honestly, I have no idea. At an overpriced optical place, I have the luxury of making my decisions with a committee formed exclusively of me, myself, and the proudly pansexual dude with the full sleeve tattoos wearing what can only be described as an early pair of schwood prototypes and a bowtie. 600 dollars and two weeks later I pick up my new frames and try them on for my wife, who laughs and says I am cute, and I yell at her like a teenager would his mom, and she laughs more. These glasses suck, I think.
“If you get (pair number) 2, you’re automatically giving me permission to call you Sally Joshua Raphael.” -Eric Tung (@EricTTung)
But with WarbyParker, I can afford to scoop up all five pair and still have a few hundred dollars left to bribe my wife into not looking at me for a spell while I grow a pair. Nevermind that I have to figure out what it means that my favorite pair is one of the least liked by all of my friends, or that @ChrisDancy is suggesting that my “online identity” needs pair number two. (Do I just wear them when I am online? When am I not? Will being Sally Joshua Raphael as my online identity get me more Twitter followers? I am confused. I miss my waterbed.)
All votes are not equal
My final word is that I have a couple friends who are graphic designers, you know, the real artists who get paid real money to design amazing things. They aren’t fake or faux or tofurkey like writers are. And I think each of their votes get double triple points, particularly since they like pair number 1 and so do I.
Also, the beauty of social media is that even the manufacturer can chime in if they are paying a social media monkey in a fez (with monocle, of course) to keep up with the tweets and convo’s, like Warby Parker does. And Warby Parker said they are loving the Bensen on me (pair number 1, yo’.) You’d listen if Juicy told you which pair of hot pants you looked juiciest in, wouldn’t you? Or if Target Dog told you which color of Mossimo deep v-neck tee made your abs look the most pronounced. This is Warby Freakin’ Parker talking – two fictitious characters torn from the pages of Kerouac and glued together to do a little bit of good and mostly profit a bunch for the man. I simply MUST listen!
So thanks for voting, suckas, but I’m still me and you’re still you which means I’m gonna do it like I always done it no matter what you say, you know what I am saying?
Author’s note: Joshua Merritt is entering Day Three of his Warby Parker at-home eye wear trial. He will buy at least one pair, if not two or three, and then collapse in a hybrid panic attack / identify crisis. You can’t fence him in.