Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 190 - Sunglasses for Brazilians

The temptation has been real and I just can't help myself.  I'm tempted to buy about 100 pairs of those sunglasses at the dollar store, pack them in a box and send them to Felipe in Brazil.  Before he came, he would e-mail me with one e-mail at a time asking...Can I buy a digital camera when I get to your home in the United States?  Yes.  (I wasn't paying for it.) Can I buy a laptop? Yes.  Can I get a Mac Laptop too?  Yes. (Again, his mother and grandparents were paying for it.) Can I buy an iPod? Yes.  An iPhone. Yes although we use Verizon and I would recommend a Droid instead.  And when he arrived he bought all of these items with the exception of the Apple Laptop and the iPhone.  In Brazil things are much more expensive than in the USA.  So for international travelers, shopping is like paying pennies at the Dollar Store with the exchange rate of the dollar and foreign currency.

We then took him to the Outlets in the nearby community and brand names like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Aeropastole, White Eagle and many more made his eyes pop out of his head.  I told him to sllllooooow down because although he thought things were cheap, we Americans were smarter shoppers.  We showed him the benefits of Ebay and Craigslist.  He was just in awe on how he could buy the same brand name shirt for $30 that he would have to pay $128 in Brazil.  When we showed him how to get it for $15-$20 he was even happier!  Then he wanted some Oakley sunglasses.  In my lifetime, I only have had one pair of Oakleys and I had to work an entire season of officiating basketball to allow myself to buy one pair.  So as soon as his family put in extra money to his account, we went to Macy's and got his sunglasses.

After six months here, we had pretty much fulfilled his entire wish list.  So in January when he oogled another pair of Oakleys, I was a bit taken back. I was brought up in a family that couldn't afford bananas as a child so to think that a child would even ask for a second pair of expensive Oakleys was repulsive.  I explained that we didn't do that in America. Children are brought up to be thankful for what they JUST got and that the right thing to do was not to ask for more when you already had enough to fill your needs, not your wants.  Greed that leads to the economic insatiable appetite for fuel, at a time in our history that most Americans were hurting financially, just didn't seem right.

He wouldn't let it rest.  He stopped whenever he saw somebody else's cool Ray-bans or Maui Janes.  I sent an e-mail to his mother and asked about this, was this ok with her?  And she said, "Yes."  I learned that in the Brazilian culture, sunglasses are like our shoes for American teenagers.  Sunglasses and inparticularly many pairs of sunglasses of various kinds gave a Brazilian young adult status.

And Jula didn't want ANY living in Florida! 

I wish I had known at that time about three websites that would have helped us in this predicament. As recently shown on the CBS Morning Show, there are now online websites that help Americans really afford glasses of all kinds.  Prescription, Bi-focals, and Sunglasses., and my personal favorite  Warby Parker is only one year young and already has exceeded its young owners expectations.  EVERY SINGLE pair of glasses is only $95 and there are two great benefits.  One is that you can upload a photo of yourself and then pick out the lens you like and see what you would look like with it on.  Then you can upload the photo to your Facebook page and get opinions about which one your friends like.  The second is their program called Buy a Pair, Give a Pair. For every pair of glasses WarbyParker sells, they donate a pair to people who live on less than $4/day through their non-profit partner The Vision Spring Foundation. These people are then in turn able to work for more money and increase their income by averages of 20%.  A circle of upward mobility.  For those of you who already on Facebook, if you go to Warby Parker's/Vision Spring's Facebook page and click "Like This," for every ten Likes, they will donate another pair of glasses.

They have won multiple awards such as the Social Capitalists Society Award, the Aspen Institute Award, the Skoll Foundation Award, the Ashoka Award, and the John McNulty Prize.  I'm now giving them the Right Thing to Do Award!

Read more about their here.

Why did we name our company Warby Parker?

We’ve always been inspired by the master wordsmith and pop culture icon, Mr. Jack Kerouac. Two of his earliest characters, recently uncovered in his personal journals, bore the names Zagg Parker and Warby Pepper. We took the best from each and made it our name.
We hope your new glasses will provide all the style you need to travel your road with class, and their price will leave you with some extra cash to use on your journey.
Kerouac inspired a generation to take a road less traveled and to see the world through a different lens.

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