How is recycling your old eyeglasses just like real estate advertising?

open house

My friend Colin spent a year backpacking through Africa and he can tell some interesting stories. Maybe I can encourage him when he’s visiting this summer to retell some old ones – they get better with age (and with the embellishments that age brings).

I thought of him recently when I was reading this article “Is Eyeglass recycling a waste of Money?” Turns out it is. In fact recycling old eyeglasses cost nearly twice as much per useable pair as new ones.

I thought about my old friend Colin because he used to tell a story about the time he was walking down the street in the Congo and a Congolese guy walking toward him was wearing a kelly green shirt with big white letters that read “Welcome to Elliott Lake Ontario”.

True story. I guess that’s where our donated clothes end up – the Congo.

But about the glasses and the advertising.

It might make you feel pretty good thinking that some chump in Nigeria or Laos is wandering around wearing your old eyewear, but if you track the journey from the eyeglasses donation box (like the one at the Waterloo Public Library Main Branch) to their final destination, the results are disappointing – only 7% are actually useable.

I guess that’s better than nothing.

Besides wearing eyeglasses, how does that information relate to my world and the world of real estate? How is recycling your old eyeglasses just like real estate advertising? It’s a waste of time and money. If you track the way real estate is actually sold, I think you’ll find that advertising a home for sale in the newspaper or worse yet a monthly magazine will lead to a house being sold even less than 7% of the time. That kind of advertising is all about the agent, the ego and the image. It’s not about the house. We have the internet for that.

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