The High Cost Of Wire

By W. R. Jones

I had no idea wire was so damn expensive.  I got some new glasses a few weeks ago so I could see to finish this painting.  I selected a pair of frames that were on sale at 50% off regular.   That  made them only $150.   These “frames” are the rimless variety that us old people wear when our necks get too weak to hold up an entire set of rims.  Our heads would be pointed down so all we could see would be our feet.  Still, I have pretty feet so all would not be lost.

The rimless glasses consist of lenses (a separate expense item) and the frames.  The frames are two pieces of wire that attach to the plastic lenses and hang over your ears, and a small piece of wire that connects the plastic lenses together.  Got it so far, you twit?  By my count that makes three pieces of wire.  These are not gold or platinum or titanium, just regular alloy wire.  These wires are not hand forged or shaped.  They are MASS produced.  Eventually EVERYBODY needs glasses.

So what I’m wondering is how these three small pieces of wire cost me three times what I paid for a new color printer/scanner/copier that is much larger, hugely more complex, hugely more expensive to make, and package and ship?  I simply don’t follow the economics of it.   The incongruity of it has me flummoxed.  I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.

This is a painting of my daughter, Erika, and her dog Mango.  That miserable little beast bit me again last night drawing blood for the second time.    They have their game day colors on.   Mango mostly naps during the high action but perks right up when there is the slightest chance of a snack.

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32 Responses to The High Cost Of Wire

  1. lesliepaints says:

    The printer was made overseas and the glasses were made here?
    What a beautiful painting, Bill. I love dogs. …just don’t go near him?

  2. rahina qh says:

    check my 15th July 2009 post: i could sell you this wire for 50 cents plus postage….. then you can have a second pair, hand made.
    great handling of skin tones and unique composition. and i don’t blame Mango for biting you, you made him look like a teddy bear in this painting:))

  3. I wasn’t annoyed about anything yet this morning; now I am. Your reasoning makes absolute sense. I want to now why they make ugly frames at all. The nice looking ones are expensive, but when you look at it through your logic, the ugly ones are outrageously priced. Worse, is when they charge $400. and up for designer sunglasses made out of plastic, and no optical lenses. We are in the wrong business. No wait, we could charge more for the wire on the back of canvases.

  4. Bonnie Luria says:

    Please people, let not this mans rant detract from the wonderful painting of his daughter and her long haired hamster, er, dog.
    I can tell that the engineer in you saw just how to make those letters curve on the sweatshirt. Sweet portrait Bill, in situ.
    ( look it up, if you must )
    Now, to the justified rant!
    Glasses, like cosmetics, have a 300% markup- maybe it’s even higher.
    Can’t live without them though. Glasses, I mean.
    You’re good lookin’ enough without make-up.

  5. Barbara Pask says:

    This is a wonderful painting Bill, I love paintings of people not posed. “People doing people things”. I agree about the wire, probably could make our own frames somehow. Duct tape and some wire would work, duct tape works for everything, ha.

  6. Wire pricing runs along the same theories as that governing bikinis (where “less is more”). Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was at the beach, I believe, when he made his famous declaration (little known fact).

    Your lovely daughter and that awful vicious dog look fabulous. One surmises therefore that the wire is working.

  7. CarolKing says:

    I get a free pair of glasses each year courtesy of my job. I go to the eyeglass place and once they know I work for the City, I’m told I can get free glasses, but can’t select from all the cute frames on the wall. I’m steered to the shoebox with 12 frames from the 1980′s. Some already have tape on them. No extra charge.

    My dog would be happy to have your daughter’s dog as a snack. That will solve the biting problem.

    Lovely painting of your daughter slumped down on the chair with her little beast.

  8. connie says:

    Great painting. The colors really sing. Perhaps you should make your own frames…coathangers are free.

  9. Rhonda says:

    You mean I have these frameless frames because I’m old? I thought it was for practical reasons = my lenses are getting so thick I didn’t want to draw more attention to them by having dark solid frames. Darn, Bill, now I’m feeling old and I think my bones are aching :(
    I like the way you’ve painted your daughter – she is lovely and must take after her mother – but that “dog” looks like the tail end of a teddy bear in a sweater. If that’s what you were going for, having an immense dislike of the thing, you accomplished it. Maybe the dog is really a very big Rottweiler and you intentionally made it a little pocket pet to give him “what for” due to his bad behavior.

  10. Rhonda says:

    I have not heard the expression, “I don’t know whether to shit or go blind,” in decades – oh, no – another sign that I’m old!!! I’m going to go eat some chocolate right now…it will make me feel better, I’m sure.

  11. wrjones says:

    leslie – Thanks. I love the little nipper but I would love him more if he would not bite me. Here is an example of a real animal lover: I watched a man freeing a wild mouse that was trapped in some duct tape. The man was bitten quite hard but continued to free the mouse and turn him loose. Most would have killed the critter outright.

    Rahina – My next pair I will buy the wire from you.

    Joanne – Thanks for the chuckle. I laughed at your comment for 10 minutes.

    Bonnie – thanks. I have had such little self confidence I did wear makeup and hairspray (both strands are stiff as a board). Now you have given me the confidence to give up all those creams and lipstick. That should save me enough to get wire from Rahina next year. Oh, and, I’m educated enough to figure out that word without looking it up. Situ – woman slouching with dog. Pretty good, eh?

    Barbara – thanks. She definitely wasn’t posed. She hates when I drag out the camera so I have to sneak it. Thus Mango is not facing the camera. Which, therefor makes my wife uninterested in owning the painting.
    I was doing the painting for my wife for Valentines. She didn’t want it without Mango’s face. So I gave it to Erika for her birthday. Which would have been fine had I actually remembered her birthday. For punishment I had to get her concert tickets which are even more expensive than wire.

    Aletha – feel free to leave pre-post comments. Had you mentioned that before, I could have used bikinis to fasten the lenses. If you are going to spend that sort of money, you should look special.

    Carol – I sometimes would like to hand feed Mango to your Kaila? Not a bad memory!!! I know the spelling isn’t spot on but that is a hopeless cause now. We have eyeglass insurance. Which paid me $155 for the $560 I spent. And I pay monthly for the eyeglass insurance so I think over all I may have saved $12.

  12. Hi Bill…been missing your posts….and the comments, which are by far, this time, VERY funny and as always, creative.
    Which leaves nothing to say except, this is a very fine painting, so it was worth the 150 bucks.

  13. Dar says:

    It’s a terrific painting. Erika and the vampire dog look great.
    Google popped up an ad for 70% off glasses, trying to capitalize on your rant.

  14. wrjones says:

    Connie – Thanks. Great idea with the coat hangers. However, I’ve used them all up trying to break into the neighbor’s Mercedes to get at that box of chocolate covered cherries in his front seat.

    Rhonda – don’t you remember the expression of the English teacher? “There is an exception for every rule.” You are not old. In your case the rimless is to let the world see ALL your youth and beauty and not hide any behind a frame. Shit or go blind is an OLD expression however. So I recommend you not admitting you ever heard it before.

    Leslie – you are welcome to all my rants.

    Cathyann – thanks. My actual cost was $560 – $155 + gas + insurance premiums. So I will be needing $200 for the painting just to keep my losses in the expected range.

    Dar – thanks. Vampire dog is a good way of putting it. I should put a wooden stake through his evil little heart. Wouldn’t need to be much bigger than a toothpick.

  15. That does sound like a lot for “frameless” eyeglass frames. I suppose your wife told you to “shop around” to get the best deal?

    Good to see you’ve been painting… and it looks like you’re still coming up with some challenging ideas.

  16. Bill – I totally love this painting and I agree with you on the glasses thing!

  17. It’s a very good painting of them in their Game day attire.
    About the glasses. Very funny but true. I was so put off by the ridiculous price they racked up at the Ophthamologist’s office 6 months ago that I still haven’t ventured into actually getting the prescription glasses made. I have looked at frames in Walmart, Sears and a few other places but that’s all I’m able to do.
    If insurance pays for the glasses as someone here mentioned, you can only pick the ugly ‘picture windows’ circa 1980′s models.
    I’m used to the TV being slightly blurry…..

  18. Dawn says:

    Good to see you posting again!
    Nice painting of your daughter and her dog.

  19. wrjones says:

    Diana – it is WAAAAY too much for glasses. I think she may have mentioned shopping around but I hadn’t made the connection at that time as to just how overpriced glasses/frames are.

    Connie – thanks.

    Mary – thanks. I’m going to Costco for my next pair.

    Dawn – I have been a bit slow at posting since I have not been painting much. Soon I will retire and hopefully have a lot more time for posting/painting.

  20. Alonso says:

    Great talent love this great painting is it acrylic?

  21. Rhonda says:

    Bill, I had to come over to see if you were trapped in a time warp – my blogroll says you haven’t posted in 2 years! It’s either a blogger glitch or you’ve done something to annoy blogger or…you’re in a time warp and can’t come out!

  22. Hope you’re okay, Bill…
    Miss your wonderful paintings and acerbic wit.

  23. A. Decker says:

    I will just comment on the painting, as the other subject is likely to rile me too much, since I need a new pair myself.
    Actually, others have covered about all I could say; great composition; very relaxed, natural looking pose – my favorite kind of portrait pose – ; your description of surfaces is very good; and the color! Did anybody say the color? ‘Cause your choices and combinations here very much compliment the relaxed feeling of the whole thing.
    Nice work.

  24. meera says:

    Wonderful painting!Great composition!

  25. wrjones says:

    Alonso – thanks. The painting is oil on linen.

    Rhonda – I’m only trapped in an old body. My mind is a free roaming spirit if a bit on the forgetful side. So, actually, I’m free roaming because I can’t remember the way home.

    Marion – I’m fine thanks. Posting must less frequently due to workload.

    A. Decker – thank you.

    meera – thanks!

  26. HI Bill,
    Some of us can’t see our feet, even with glasses. Another bummer about getting old.

    One way to beat the optometrist’s outrageous price on glasses is to wire them yourself. Here’s the drill:
    You ask for lenses only. That part, you are unlikely to get right by yourself. There’s some precision to it, and from what I have seen of your paintings, they are impressionistic. So if you don’t want to see everything impressionistically, you have let someone else grind the lenses.
    Then buy some copper wire from the hardware and just wrap them around strategic places on the sides of the lenses. I’m sure you can make the wires bend to go around your ears and over your eyebrows until you get to the nose arch, then repeat. You’d look swell, I’m sure. And think of all the money you would save!
    Nice painting.
    K

  27. wrjones says:

    K – You just gave me an idea. Instead of admitting I can’t see for shit, I will say I see with the eyes of an impressionist. Also a business idea; sell DIY frames – a piece of wire for $10 + shipping ($10) and handling ($10). We can sell a kit form that includes pliers (another $10 + shipping ($10) and handling ($10)). Thanks for pointing me to a new career!

  28. ivdanu says:

    I love the way you rendered the leather and the textiles, Bill. awesome!

  29. wrjones says:

    ivdanu – Thanks!

  30. Bill, I love how you captured Erika and Mango! Their matching clothing is very cool. So is the lazy-day feeling of slouching on the big chair. Wonderful! Holly

  31. wrjones says:

    Holly – thanks.

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