I got wait-listed for solar eclipse glasses
I was late for the solar-eclipse-glasses-at-$1.99-retail-price boat. This solar eclipse is all everyone’s been talking about though, so I didn’t want to be the only overly curious individual unable to look up tomorrow.
I figured Walmart has everything under the sun (ba dum chhhhhh) so they’d obviously have tons of these things in the week prior to the eclipse, right? Nope.
I did some googling and learned that 7-11s and libraries still had some.
Went to 7-11. Nope.
“No one has them, try a library!” the cashier said with a laugh.
“(A-he-he) Okay I will!” She didn’t realize shit was getting serious.
I went home and called the library. The automatic answering service that I presume is normally quite pleasant and welcoming was obviously recently updated and sounded– laughably– panicked.
“PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS LIBRARY IS OUT OF SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES!! DEMAND FAR EXCEEDED OUR SUPPLY. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.”
What adjectives come to mind when you think of a librarian? For me, I think quiet, patient, and kind.
Do you know how many calls a librarian must have gotten regarding these things to cause a quiet, patient, kind person to throw down the phone at some point in annoyance and finally create an automatic notification that would deter any additional calls about the glasses?
Before the hours of the library were mentioned, before you even knew whether or not they were open or closed yet for the day, you already knew they didn’t have any glasses left.
That’s hysterical! And DISCOURAGING.
So upwards and onwards with my hunt. I was going to need to get creative.
I called a couple more libraries for amusement. One guy was still patient enough to answer the phone. He not only let me know that they, too, were out of glasses, but he even cared enough to ask if there was anything else he could do for me.
Above and beyond, my kind sir.
I checked Amazon. We’re prime members so I hoped I’d be in luck thanks to my ~$90 annual fee to be cool, regardless of some things I’d seen on social media about Amazon being out and/or performing recalls for those that already sold.
Sure enough, my only option was to order a 10-pack for $104 and, at that, they wouldn’t deliver until two days after the eclipse.
So I had no choice but to head for the black market. OfferUp, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace.
At this point, I start reevaluating my life purpose. I don’t know that I even really care that much about the eclipse AT ALL. It suddenly became just an obsessive mission to obtain a pair or two of legit glasses once I realized just how challenging it’d be.
I even started threatening Patrick and told him NOT to come home until he found us some glasses. He came home anyway. UGH! NOTHING WAS WORKING.
I saw an ad for ONE pair (which, again, retailed for $1.99 before demand went through the roof) for $72. SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS. I’m dying.
I wrote to another guy who was selling them for $10 a pair. I really wanted (NEEDED!!!!!!) two since Patrick and I would be in different areas come the eclipse on Monday. I wrote him and never heard back. I assume it’s because he sold out quicker than a Backstreet Boys concert in 1999.
In one of my mommy forums, a local mom posted “45 minutes ago” that she had 19 extras. I couldn’t comment quickly enough.
I didn’t make the cut.
My once slightly amused laugh was becoming maniacal. It’s one thing to suddenly overwhelm yourself with the concept of obtaining solar eclipse glasses. It’s another to strike out eh, a couple times. But to imagine it might actually be impossible to get them in time was hilarious! And nerve-wracking. I was panicking. I knew I’d be curious enough to want to look at it, and I’d read stories of people going blind from briefly glimpsing at the one back in the 60s. I kept envisioning myself standing outside on Monday, overly anxious and curious at the sky above me but staring down in utter panic and uncertainty.
Allow me to interject that, although I consider myself creative in some ways, forming a DIY cereal box viewer was not an option for me. I knew I would mess it up and therefore, go blind.
Then, a gleam of hope. A local woman had a bunch of extra glasses for sale. $10 a piece. A bargain. I wrote to her.
“Hi Colleen, I have to go through the list of those who responded before you. I might be out, but I’ll check tonight. I can wait list you.”
I laughed out loud.
I was getting WAIT-LISTED FOR SOLAR ECLIPSE GLASSES. Was this real? It was. She was serious. So was I.
I buttered up to her nicely and asked that I please be put on the list.
That night, she wrote me again. I had casually forgotten all about it… YEAH RIGHT, I HAD AN ALERT SET FOR NEXT TIME SHE WAS ACTIVE ON FACEBOOK.
“Good news Colleen, I have some left if you’re still interested.”
You would have thought I won the lottery. My eyes widened and I couldn’t write her back quickly enough. Be cool, I reminded myself. After all, we’re talking about typically-$2 plastic flimsy sun viewers.
“Sounds good, can I meet you in the morning?” I calmly replied.
“Sure! Pick-up is at the Publix on Cortez tomorrow anytime between 10 and 4.”
I couldn’t contain the hysterics. This would mean she had so many pairs– and buyers– that she was planning to be in one general area for her entire Saturday to sell them off.
Smart girl, I thought.
I pulled into the lot the next day with my $20 and son in tow. I found her rather quickly and she got out and handed me two pairs.
“You know you could start selling these for like $100 a pop, right?” I asked.
“I knowww,” she looked back to her boyfriend who must have suggested the same, “I just ordered them for my class a couple weeks ago and had to get a box of 100, so I’m just selling off the extras.”
She was a teacher, and I was buying solar eclipse glasses off of her in a Publix parking lot for the sake of safely experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event. What we did was legal, the product, scientific and yet, with Declan in the back seat during the transaction, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the absurdity of feeling like a parking-lot-dealing momma.
Did you get your glasses in time?? I’m willing to part with mine for $3k if not. Let me know! 🙂