On Making Recommendations

Since May, I’ve been working as an optician in a large retail store’s vision center. The information overload while in training was huge, and I still have “cranial flatulence” moments, but for the most part, I can do most of the basic job functions except one. Unfortunately, it’s not one I can be trained in because it’s highly opinion-based.

When people come in to try on glasses, they often can’t see themselves, especially if they’re nearsighted. Some people anticipate this problem and bring a friend or relative along. Others turn to the optician for help, and this is where I run into trouble.

You see, unless you have a bifocal prescription, choosing a frame for your glasses is completely subjective. Whether or not I think you’re attractive in those is irrelevant. What do you like? I can’t tell you what you like, and in my way of thinking function is more important than appearance anyway. Do they work? Great!  Do they look good? I’m often at a loss for how to answer the question honestly.

So, I resort to giving objective descriptions. Is it too wide? Too narrow? Very bold? Too big for your face? Too small for your face? Clashes with your hair? All but disappears?

That seems to work out okay.

bedroom eyes flicker creative commons 2009

Photo (c) 2009 “bedroom eyes”/Retrieved from Flickr under Creative Commons

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