The Price of Eyeglasses
This raises an obvious puzzle--why are they so much more expensive bought in the usual way. If Zenni Optical can sell them online for under $20/pair, why doesn't someone set up selling them for, say, $40/pair in the mall and make a fortune on volume? Three possibilities occur to me.
1. The online glasses are of inferior quality. So far as I can tell--I'm wearing one of the pairs at the moment--that is not the case.
2. Economics is wrong; markets don't work. Consumers are irrational, or so badly informed that they wouldn't notice if one seller cost less than half as much as another, or ... . This does not strike me as plausible.
3. Competition among ordinary sellers is constrained by regulatory rules, probably at the state level. I know there is some regulation of the industry but don't know the details. Given that I am both a libertarian and an economist this strikes me as the most plausible explanation.
Does anyone have more information on the subject?