These were the hottest item in town. Now what?

I want to apologize. By even showing you a picture of eclipse glasses, I’m probably triggering bad memories – dozens of calls from people desperate to get them, panicked patients wailing when they heard you had sold out, walk-ins giving you side-eye because you don’t keep these in stock all the time.

Most eye care practices and optical shops ordered what they figured would be a reasonable number of eclipse glasses, then were shocked as those flew out the door before you could say “solar retinopathy.” Many sold out so fast they had to post a notice to their Instagram account and add it to their phone greeting.

But some people actually had leftover eclipse glasses. No, I’m serious. I am one of those people.

I ordered eclipse glasses for every employee in the ZEISS San Diego office, and  guarded them with my life. Once word got out that I had them, a steady stream of people made their way to my desk. “My son needs some for his science project.” “I’m leaving for Carbondale to see the totality and I’ve arranged for everything but the glasses.” “My brother’s wife’s cousin’s grandchild needs them desperately to prevent seizures. Six pairs of them.”

I was deaf to all pleas. We had just enough for the people in our office, and no more. I gave up none of them. I even moved their location every night so no one would just “happen upon them.”

And victory was mine! On the morning of the eclipse, every one of our employees had a pair of eclipse glasses.

Of course, by noon it was over, I had about 100 pairs of the darn things, and they have no practical use for at least 7 years. So what’s a practical person with no storage space to do?

Donate them!

Astronomers Without Borders is going to collect eclipse glasses and send them to those in the path of the next eclipse in 2019 who can use them. To get more details, sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Facebook.

And don’t say you’ll store them. You won’t. Or you will, and you’ll forget where. Or they’ll end up so dusty, no one would want to put them on their face.

So donate those eclipse glasses. And if you ended up with none to donate, triple your order next time. The next eclipse in the US will be in 2023 – you’ve got plenty of time.

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