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The Big survey

Think You’re Having a Bad Day? ECPs Told Us Their Biggest Screwups

Upside down lenses, leaving the optical unlocked, breaking a celebrity’s glasses—it’s all in a day’s work.





THERE ARE A thousand ways to get it wrong in the eyecare business. As part of our 2020 Big Survey, INVISION asked hundreds of ECPs to fess up and tell us the biggest screw-up they ever made (and got away with). The answers would be funny if they weren’t so… Well, actually they’re pretty funny.

Question: What was the biggest screw-up you ever made but were able to fix before anyone found out?
  • I gave a $100 bill in change for a $1.
  • Left large bank deposit in my car for two weeks.
  • Bringing in a frame line and then canceling the purchase the next day.
  • My biggest screw up was working for someone else for too long. Giving other people my rad ideas and talents. I think I surprise a lot of people when I finally did it on my own.
  • Left front office door unlocked overnight.
  • Ordered the wrong Rx for the doctor. Somehow got his old and new Rx mixed up. Caught it before I gave him the new glasses. He never knew.
  • I broke a pair of one of a kind hand-made glasses. Thank goodness the patient didn’t like them to begin with.
  • Put a progressive lens in upside down… found it on final inspection. Luckily, patient was on vacation.
  • We accused a patient of leaving without paying for her contact lenses, called the cops on her, and it was our manager that took the money and put it in her purse. We apologized and this wonderful patient still comes to us. Manager, not so much.
  • Breaking a frame… quickly walk in back and swap the frame for an identical one without anyone knowing.
  • Ordered the wrong custom contact lenses for the wrong patient.
  • Spilling superglue all over a lens while a co-worker was bragging about my expertise in the waiting room within earshot.
  • I sent a mass e-mail to all patients without doing BCC. Everyone saw everyone else’s email addresses. Thankfully we had just opened cold not too long before so it wasn’t a ton of people.
  • I had a staff member a few years ago that was wonderful! Very smart, personable and tech savvy. She improved a lot of systems in our office and was always learning new stuff. Unfortunately, I did not pay her well enough and found a higher paying job. When you come across those shining stars try and pull out all the stops to ensure that they stay.
  • I had Joe Namath in my store one day and I was fixing his glasses and broke them and I just casually talk to him went out to my Silhouette display picked up a new frame put the parts together and gave it to him like nothing ever happened, course I crapped my pants when I did it but it all worked out in the long run.
  • Not showing up for work because I thought we were off that day. Then realizing, showing up and finding that only one patient needed help and thought we only accepted appointments and was happy to wait.
  • Went to a nursing home to deliver +12.00 lenses to a patient and put them on the wrong lady. She made a groaning sound which I mistook as delight. However, it was probably a groan of motion sickness! I quickly switched the glasses to the correct lady before anybody noticed.
  • I put the doctor’s salary on one of our receptionist’s payroll, but fixed it before it went through. What a nightmare that would’ve been.

The 2020 INVISION Big Survey was taken by more than 270 North American eyecare business owners or managers. Look out for the November-December edition of INVISION or visit to read the full results, and even more on how ECPs fared during a weird, weird year.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at


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