Wednesday, August 17, 2022

denmark isn't entirely immune to rackets

denmark is largely a country of very little corruption and few signs of racketeering, but (you knew there was a but) the odd thing pops up now and again. years ago, i realized the whole setup around the .dk domains was one big mafia. i also suspect the way you get a driver's license in denmark is similar - with a whole apparatus built up around "driving schools" (some dude with a "school vehicle" sign that he mounts on the top of his skoda sedan and charges 20,000kr to "teach" you to drive). and this week, i encountered a third example.

there's a scheme by which employers are forced to pay for you to have "screen glasses" if you do a lot work in front of a computer. i recently realized that i am having trouble properly reading the fine print on my screen(s) (getting old, you say?) and since my solution to not being able to see things to read them is to get about 2cm from said screen, i decided it was getting rather embarrassing and i broke down, filled out the form and made an appointment to get "screen glasses." (i'm putting that in quotation marks because i've been outside my native language for so long now that i'm no longer sure whether that's just a direct translation from danish or a real thing.)

i filled out the form, got it signed and stamped at work (oddly, that's apparently still a thing, though it felt like i had to teleport to 1990 to do it). i even got permission to use an old pair of my own frames for it, which felt quite sustainable of me. why get new frames when i had some that i knew i liked, just languishing here at home, unused since they were an old prescription. i went to the optician we are mandated to use (not my regular one). 

they immediately started asking me questions about where the glasses i was wearing came from. i found that a little weird. i said they were from another optician, but didn't specify where. it felt like none of his business. i handed him the form and reminded him that i was there for screen glasses. 

we did the eye test and then he started trying to up-sell me. i think the deal they have with companies has probably been pushed to the bare minimum by cynical purchasing people with some kind of bonus riding on how much they save. so he gave me the hard sell on premium glass. 

i asked what the company pays for and he said that the premium glass hadn't been ticked off on my form. i had filled out the form myself, so i knew that, and since i didn't know what any of those boxes had really meant (they were written in rather insider-y language), i hadn't ticked anything, thinking we'd be able to discuss. he really tried to push me to get the fancy glass, without telling me what it would cost. in the end, we agreed they would call my work and ask whether we could include the fancy lenses.

i was thinking that for glasses i'll wear only when i'm looking at my screen, i don't really need anything fancy. i chose my own old frames to be a bit more sustainable and to save a bit on new frames (i had admittedly heard that the choices were limited). naturally, my company didn't fall for the up-sell from our friends at louis nielsen (yes, i'm going to name names), so i'm getting normal glass. the guy called me and really tried the hard sell on the phone, telling me that the fanciest glass would cost more than 4,000kr. (that's over $500 these days). and i'm like, wait, what? thank you, no. 

clearly louis nielsen isn't too happy about the deal they've made to provide screen glasses for companies, so they try to push people into spending more than the company will allow, in order to try to recoup some of the costs. it seems rather like a racket to me. 

1 comment:

Sandra said...

It seems very American to me! I haven't heard of screen glasses. But then I haven't heard of a lot of things. Living in the land of grift, this is annoying but not up to the standard of true unfettered capitalism. :) Of course, you know this.