Government Regulation At Work: Why Don’t Eyeglasses Cost a Dollar

Something occurred to me at the Dollar Store this week. The prescription to correct my near-sightedness has finally gotten high enough (but still not THAT high) that it affects my ability to read things close up. So, if I’m wearing my contacts it is difficult, uncomfortable or impossible sometimes to make out the text in a book or examine something close up.So, I finally broke down and bought a pair of reading glasses so I don’t have to keep borrowing Lisa’s pink ones to read at night. The glasses were a moderate +1.5 power, they were easily available at the Dollar Tree* for, yep, a whole dollar. Now, interestingly enough, I cannot purchase -1.5 (or the -2.5 I need) glasses for $1.00. I must pay for an optometrist visit, get a prescription, pick out frames, pick out lens or contact options and ultimately I’m out the door for usually between $100 and $200.Think about this for a minute. In one case I can go to the dollar store, select what works to improve my vision to my satisfaction and it costs me a dollar. In the other, because of government regulations, I have to spend 100 to 200 times that amount to get the others.I think I might even go back and get a few extra pairs so I always have some handy (keep a pair in my desk, in the bedroom in my laptop bag … why not?) Think about this massive cost difference when you consider government’s role in health care, insurance or any other industry. *note: I wanted to look at Dollar General since they support Indy Car driver Sarah Fisher; but, the nearest Dollar General store to me appears to have closed down (even thought it’s still listed on their web site). Also, cheap reading glasses at CVS right in front of where the Dollar General used to be were around $16.00 – I didn’t buy those.

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