I’ve lived in New York City for a long time, but few places feel like home. My optometrist’s office is one of them. It’s not about the welcome – the owners are always busy talking with customers in Korean when I walk in, and can only nod for me to wait my turn. It’s not the doctor – her professional, albeit personable, distance assures me that she doesn’t remember me from one visit to the next. The reason I feel at home is the chairs.
At Sam & Anna Optics, the chairs are covered in a richly patterned emerald cloth. It’s elegant and tasteful and when I first saw it, it seemed so familiar. It seemed like something from home. But my home never had a whole lot of cloth lying around. In fact, the only cloth I saw frequently was the tablecloth. When that thought struck me, I realized that was exactly why the chairs seemed so familiar. They looked like someone had staple-gunned a deeper-hued version of my tablecloth over a cheap office chair. I looked closer at the chairs. They were, indeed, upholstered in my tablecloth. A very tasteful version of it.
After ten minutes in the offices, I knew that Sam and Anna – the couple who owns and manages the store – were my kind of people. They know what matters in business – quality, location, professionalism – and what does not. Their chairs look good. Their chairs are comfortable. Their chairs are a great place to try on glasses. But their chairs are not expensive and are even cheaper to maintain.
And from there, it just got better.
Sam always makes sure I’m ok waiting a few minutes for my appointment, and gives me an accurate time frame of when the doctor will see me. Dr. Lau herself is fantastic. She checks in on me, as well as my vision. She explains what she’s doing, and answers any questions thoroughly. She also does not dilate my pupils, which my former ophthalmologist explained was an unnecessary procedure performed by lazy professionals. Dr. Lau also has an excellent sense of style, which she generously shares when helping me pick out new frames. Both she and Anna get involved in the search, and do their best to ensure I get something beautiful, functional, and affordable.
And that’s just the basic service.
When I showed up for a contact exam and forgot a case for my glasses, they gave me my choice of name brand cases. I didn’t even realize that Kate Spade carried a line of glasses cases. But Anna did.
When I forgot to ask for a letter to substantiate my appointment for my employer’s medical leave requirement, Anna wrote her first one for me.
When I called for an appointment as soon as possible, Sam offered me one that day.
When I show up for an appointment weighed down with grocery bags – the shop is a block away from Trader Joe’s – they don’t even blink. Instead, they help me arrange my heavy bags in a corner of the show room where no one will disturb them.
For all these reasons, and more, I recommend Sam & Anna Optics to everyone. And I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else, unless I was forced to. But this week, I don’t have a choice. I called today to book my next appointment and Sam told me that he couldn’t schedule one. The doctor was in a car accident, and is currently recuperating in the hospital. In response to my concern and wishes of a speedy recovery, Sam thanked me profusely. He then assured me that she’s on the mend, and asked if I could call back in a few weeks when she’ll be ready to see patients again.
I look forward to seeing her then.
Sam & Anna Optics
253 West 72nd Street
New York, NY 10023