REI’s “Rx in a Box”

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Smith Optics and REI have partnered to introduce a concept called “Rx in a Box,” which provides an in-store option for customers shopping for corrective sunglasses.

The two-step process involves 1) Customers purchasing the Rx in a Box kit ($250 retail price) to find a one-time-use, ATM-like card containing a purchase code; 2) The purchaser visits the Smith Optics web site to enter information from the card and the specifics of their prescription to order the Rx shades.

This program eliminates the need to visit an optometrist. But you do need to have your current eye prescription corrective-lens numbers. (You can get these by calling your eye doctor and requesting the information.)

From there, you pick a Smith Optics frame style and lens type online. The glasses then arrive at your door in seven to 10 business days.

REI has introduced Rx in a Box to 25 stores initially, including stores in Seattle, Denver, Berkeley, Anchorage, Salt Lake City, Bloomington, Minn., Sacramento, Portland, Ore., Albuquerque, San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, Boulder, and several other cities. The program will be in all REI stores by spring 2008.

Or, you don’t even need to go to REI, as the product is available online:

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.