“I don’t think I knew what I was missing”

Last week, we were visited by a secret shopper who sent us this blog. If you are thinking of coming to us for your eye test, and you’re unsure what sets independent practice apart from the rest, read on…

“I have been a specs wearer since I was 12. I have always gone to large chain opticians, and more recently to a large supermarket with opticians in store. The former was my parents’ choice as it was handy to take me straight after school; and the latter was my choice for convenience and price.

I have a few memories of sight tests and new glasses and none of them are particularly great. I recall my last one feeling like I was on a conveyor belt where everything felt rushed. I ended up choosing a pair of glasses that probably weren’t right for me, after being told I ‘probably didn’t need them’ because my prescription was so slight. I had two or three further visits when the glasses just didn’t fit right, and again I felt rushed to say they felt ok when they probably didn’t.

Fast forward a few years to now. I spend a lot of time looking at a screen and I knew I was in dire need of new specs. Preferably, ones that fit.

I chose Croft and Graves for a few reasons. I have seen a few of their posts online and fell in love with the Tiffany range of frames, and as a self-employed person myself I like to support independent businesses. Their premises are cool, light, airy and stylish and I love the village of Corbridge where they are situated.

I was met with a smile when I arrived and I had the options of eye tests available clearly explained to me. I opted for what sounded like the full works including the OCT scan, as I wanted to have everything done properly. I was impressed with the price and I had expected to pay more. The benefits were clearly outlined without making me feel under pressure. I was really impressed that the principal optometrist Nick took me for this procedure and again explained each step of the scan as it was done. Nick was really clear on what each image in the scan would be used for without bamboozling me with language I didn’t understand.

Following an in depth sight test, Nick gave me my OCT results as well as explaining my prescription. I felt at ease to ask any questions but I felt he had covered everything.

Frame selecting was the opposite of everything I had experienced in the past, in fact it was a joy! I was met by Dispensing Optician Deborah who clearly has heaps of experience in making people look their best with the best glasses for them. I selected a few frames I liked (Tiffany included, obviously!) and Deborah brought some out for me that I would never have usually considered, including a striking pair of gorgeous blue Tom Davies frames. I was brought a cup of tea to enjoy while I tried them all on and on again, and at no time felt rushed into making a choice. What I liked about this the most was that Deborah explained why a pair might look better on me than others, explaining everything around the fit, the shape of my face, right down to eye colour. When I decided after shortlisting 4 pairs on the beautiful blue Tom Davies, other team members came over to me to ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over my choice, and reassure me that they looked great.

Deborah talked through lens choices that were best for me including a special coating for lenses for people like me who use a lot of screens and therefore are susceptible to blue light and clearly described the pricing options available to me. The frames are made-to-order which again I felt like was a really great touch, and I have been receiving videos of their manufacturing from Tom Davies via email since my order. I can’t wait to pick my new glasses up!

I don’t think I realised what I had been missing until I went to Croft and Graves for my sight test. I’m so glad I took the plunge to go “Independent” because I know now that I won’t go back.

Thanks everyone at Croft and Graves for an unexpectedly great way to start a Monday morning!”

AA- secret shopper.