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Management and Staff

Management is about bringing out the best in your business and your people. It’s that second part that is often so, so difficult. Here, store owners and managers reveal a bit about how they do it.




30. If you are away from the business, how long can you comfortably go without checking in?

Four hours
1 day
2-3 days
1 week
2 weeks
1 month
Years! It runs by itself.

31. If you have full-time employees, did any quit in the last 12 months?


If so, what was the reason?

To take a non-vision job
Moving out of the area
To take another vision industry job elsewhere
Conflict in the workplace
To return to school
To have children or other family reason
Reached retirement age
Medical reason
COVID – their relationship with work changed
Don’t know the reason
One respondent who replied “other” clarified with: “Bats**t crazy.” Many of the “other” responses were from large practices citing multiple reasons. Said one: “I could literally choose every box on this list. We lost over 20 employees in 2022.”

32. What do you think your staff dread more than anything else?

Demanding customers
Working Saturdays
General cleaning duties
Toilet duty
Role-play training
Cleaning displays and frames
Explaining your (lack of) return policy
Opening and closing procedures
The annual review
Other responses included “preauthorizing insurance” and “new products or services that I decide to offer.”

33. What was the last business experiment you ran?

  • “10 mins to Optical.” Our goal was to get a patient from check-in to the optical with an Rx in 10 minutes so they can maximize shopping time. Then bring them back after frame selection to do the SLE and Fundus exam. It worked well till COVID hit staffing.
  • Letting employees set their schedules; they tell me when they will work instead of vice versa.
  • Seeing if we’d get any return on Val-pak. We didn’t.
  • Sending all contact lens orders to patients’ homes regardless of supply to save staff time.
  • Selling warranties.
  • Hiring someone outside my comfort zone. It was worth it!
  • Adding products like biologics and lid hygiene.
  • We did a series of videos on brands we sell to tell the brand story (in our eyes, not theirs). It is just starting to gain traction as a method to presell before customers’ arrival at the store.
  • Selling novelty eyewear cases.
  • Hiring a COO to see if that would help take away my mundane admin … and it worked!
Other replies included a home-based work center, a mixed-used center and under an apartment building

34. What do you feel is the best use of your time?

The Big Survey 2022: Management and Staff

35. What actually takes up most of your time?

The Big Survey 2022: Management and Staff

36. What things are red flags on a resume?

The Big Survey 2022: Management and Staff

37. Please tell us your favorite strange/funny but true tale about managing staff/bad customers/working with family, etc.

The Big Survey 2022: Management and Staff

  • We have a board with funny comments we hear, i.e. “Immaculate degeneration” and “Is photophobia the fear of having your picture taken?”
  • Someone called the police because she thought our register was wrong.
  • A former employee was very proud of herself for helping a patient exchange contact lenses … bought elsewhere. I had to explain to her why patients need to go back to where they made the purchase. Another allowed someone off the street to use our fax machine for some legal documents. Both parties’ lawyers contacted us for details. I had to explain that our equipment was for office use only.
  • This past year, I’ve experienced more craziness than my prior 11 years in the industry, including a patient insisting that they see birds when they put their new glasses on … Yes, imaginary birds flying. That land on trees and sing. I kid you not.
  • A customer tried to take apart one of our fake plants because they thought it was a “fancy lens cleaner.”
  • We had a 20-something employee. We did a mailing and discovered too late that she had used $1 stamps instead of the 30-cent ones (this was 20 years ago). It was direct mailing, about 1,000 pieces. When questioned, she stated she didn’t know they were worth more, she just liked the design better.
  • The Big Survey 2022: Management and Staff

  • A customer who had his frame duck-taped to his forehead because the temples broke. He received a new frame free of charge for originality.
  • That time a customer asked if I’d have her baby for her. If I remember right, some of the (very brief) exposition included that her eggs were aging and that I seemed to be a healthy person…
  • Fired an employee after she was late three days in a row. Her response was “I thought we were cool.”
  • A patient asked my optician to stand far away because she was allergic to people.
  • A teen’s mom accused me of fitting her daughter with a man’s CL. She needed a toric lens but the mother insisted it should be a smaller woman’s lens. She didn’t care that it didn’t correct the astigmatism or her daughter wouldn’t see well. She just wanted a woman’s lens.
  • Looong rant about how bad the new specs are and how bad the eye test experience was. When she finally took a breath, we asked if she got them from us, as we did not recognize her. No. Got it from a guy hundreds of miles away. But we must “all be connected” so she needs to have it fixed here. We are a private practice so no, we are not “connected.”
  • A new optician “had to run to her car to get something.” After 15 minutes, I sent one of the front desk girls to go find her. She was laying in the back seat of her car vaping…

38. What is the most epic way you’ve seen someone quit or be fired?

  • “I left town because of an abusive boyfriend and those texts you received from me were actually him making things up.”
  • Yelling profanities on the way out and threatening the previous manager. The police were called.
  • Threw their keys at me as I gave their performance review.
  • We have a joke at the office. If we ask someone to “go to Walmart” that means someone’s getting the axe. That was a while back, and we have a great staff now. So now when we send someone to Walmart it’s a funny joke!
  • Whole staff walked out within three days, each one leaving their keys at the end of the day. They now all work together at another facility.
  • A “Get Well” card.
  • Streaked through the store. (Not ours.)
  • We let an employee go early in the morning after arriving. From that point on, she didn’t say one word, took 20 minutes to gather her three items, and left in complete silence … Very awkward!
  • After being let go a gal went off on us all. Huge rant while gathering her things and stomped out yelling with an insulting, dramatic parting shot. Had to skulk back three minutes later because she forgot her phone…
  • Screaming that we are ‘Backstabbing bi*!hes!’ because no one invited her to lunch (she never paid anyone back) and stormed out. Or, when a former employee hit another employee’s car on her way out.
  • He quit then backed into a fence on the way out … then returned the next day because he left a sandwich in the fridge.
  • Told me to ‘f*@k off’ in front of a patient.
  • Had a bouncer from a local bar escort someone out of the building.
  • We had an employee write her resignation on a sticky note, go to lunch and never come back.
  • “That’s all folks!”
  • The Big Survey 2022: Management and Staff

  • The time an employee threw a few pairs of shoes at me (doctor/owner) while screaming that she hated this place and was leaving. That’s one of my favorites.
  • Stormed out, like it was impromptu, but spouse’s car was waiting. They planned on quitting prior to the start of the day.



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