I had heard about the markets in Beijing, I’ve even written about them, but guess what? I had never been. Last week I tackled not just one but three wholesale markets in Beijing, as I’ve heard that they are slowly leaving the city. From the slightly boring Silk Market to the aggressive Pearl Market, it was an experience not to forget.
Then I went to the famous Glasses Market. I regret not taking my father there, because where else in the world can you take your prescription and have your glasses 30 minutes later, for a fraction of the cost? Nowhere. I am sure that the eyeglasses I bought in England took so long to get to me because they were made in China and shipped from here.
I had my last eyes tested one year ago, and although I almost knew with certainty my eyesight was the same, I went for a checkup at the hospital anyway. It was covered by my insurance, and I wanted to make sure that the people at the Glasses Market could read the paper with my prescription.
I intentionally did not get my eyes measured at the market because I don’t know Chinese, and if they started pointing at Chinese signs to see how bad my eyesight was, they would consider me blind. My friend has a specific seller she goes to, and in fact many people have favorite sellers at this market. Be sure to take your time as this market has hundreds of stores with hundreds of frames inside each one.
I found the market people very reasonable and not aggressive at all. They entertained my daughter as I tried on frames, and left me in peace when I want to leave the store. My daughter actually found my first new frame, bright pink and fabulous. I took some selfies to send to a friend, making sure my toddler has an eye for eye fashion. She agreed the glasses were pretty amazing. I recommend you go to this market with another adult that knows your style, so you don’t have to rely on your child.
I ventured further into the market to find some more funky frames, and settled on some blue ones. I negotiated the price and got some money off the blue frame. I then returned to the shop that my friend recommended to get the glasses fitted. I got two new frames with prescription lenses done within 30 minutes: some cool flashy sunglasses and a purple kid’s frame for my daughter. I spent RMB 400; that’s about half the price of my glasses from England, which I paid 90 pounds for and had to wait 30 days to receive.
This was such a pleasant experience that I want to go back with friends to get more cool frames, but how many pairs of glasses does a person need?