Melissa Kite Melissa Kite

Real Life | 1 August 2009

In the eye of a storm

When I arrive on my deathbed the thing that will torment me most is the amount of time I’ve spent on the phone to Vision Express arguing about when my eye test is due. It reduces me to tears when I think of the wasted hours spent trying to reason with twenty-somethings puffed up into merciless autocrats by an optometrist-assistant training course. Hours when I could have been doing something more life-affirming, such as rearranging my socks.

The thing about optometristic autocrats is that they worship the computer more than anyone else on the planet. If the computer at Vision Express pronounced that you were to be boiled in oil, the people who serve behind the counter there would happily put you in a vat and stir you with a big spoon.

The routine by which they torture me is always the same. Whenever I come to the end of a box of contact lenses, the automatic system that is supposed to dispatch another one defaults and I am left myopic. So I ring up and ask where they are and the assistant always tells me that they have been ‘held in the store because you have not had your annual eye test’.

At which point my blood begins to boil as if I am in that vat. ‘I think you will find I am NOT due an eye test,’ I told her the other day, as I commenced the usual argument. She insisted I was due, and that my lenses could not be dispatched because they had a legal requirement to examine my eyes first.

‘Please don’t do this,’ I pleaded. ‘Look, I know it’s not a year since I had an eye test because the last one I had was in the winter.

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