Occasionally, something goes missing from the office. I usually cannot convince myself that someone actually stole it. In my mind, it makes more sense that either we mislaid it or some gremlin really needed that PD rule.

Why do people steal things anyway? Well, as my career has flown by, I’ve learned that stealing does indeed occur, even in an optometry practice.

Back in the 80s, one of my longtime employees decided to move out of state. After she left, I took over the job of ordering contact lenses for a time. Going through a heap of invoices that had piled up prior to her departure, I found a couple of orders with patient names I didn’t know. Hmm... Then I found one with a name I was vaguely familiar with. But she wasn’t a patient—she was my ex-employee’s roommate! A little digging showed her name on three-years’ worth of contact lenses. This was stealing!

Did I do anything about it? No. I didn’t need the hassle of tracking the employee down. Last I heard, she was working for an ophthalmologist in the Carolinas. Do you have an employee from West Virginia who moved to your area in the mid-1980s?

Check your invoices, doctor!

Socking it Away
About six years ago, Renee (my wife/office manager/frame stylist/boss) was in the frame room with a sales rep, looking at new designs. I was in the next room doing something critically important, like reading Rolling Stone. Suddenly, I heard Renee reaming the guy out!

Of course, I did what any red-blooded American husband would do: I hitched up my pants, stood up straight and tall, and hid nervously behind the door listening to the two of them argue.

Turns out, when Renee left the room for a moment, this guy had taken a couple of frames off the board and stuck them in his socks! Yes, this actually happened! She caught him red-footed! He was shown the door and we filed a complaint with his boss. Last I heard, he’s now a US Senator. Can’t keep talent like that down for long!

Another time, just after moving into our new office, someone broke through a window and ransacked the place. The thief took a laptop (which was totally encrypted and worthless to him) and all of the high-tech sunglasses we had—except one pair. I asked Renee, “How bad does this pair suck? Even a thief wouldn’t take them!”

Last year, I decided to update my tired old 20D with a new, awesome panretinal condensing lens.

This was my pride and joy, and definitely made retinal examination much easier. About two months later, it was gone! I have searched high and low. I have accosted every kid using a magnifier to fry an ant on the sidewalk and frisked them for my lens. This has not gone over well with their moms.

No lens has been found anywhere and I have been too cheap to buy another. As you know, this lens is worthless to anyone but another optometrist. Maybe I’ll make an appointment with one and steal it back!

Finally, I’ll admit that I once stole a Ravi Shankar sitar album from my home town record store. This was 1967. I listened to one song and the music was so weird, I actually sneaked it back into the store and put it into the bin for the next poor soul to steal. Sometimes crime just doesn’t pay.