Dead Cat Ballet: The Overture

It’s that time of year again.  The human female is choreographing the annual Dead Cat Ballet, that wonderfully complex and colorful process of ordering and receiving all of the dissection specimens for the upcoming academic year.  Note that even though the Anatomy and Physiology Classes have switched from actual real live dead cats to a computer program, owing to my carefully-orchestrated dead cat conundrum which has made it impossible to find a good dead cat anywhere in North America, she is still calling it the Dead Cat Ballet, even though no actual dead cats are involved.  I guess “Other Dead Things Ballet” doesn’t have the same cachet.

She has checked with Prep Staff to determine just how many worms, pig kidneys, sheep brains, sheep plucks, clams, etc. to order.  She has contacted the Purveyor of Dead Things to obtain a quote for all of the corpses and viscera, and she has carefully entered the resulting information in the new, non-BAMN ordering system.


That is a lot of sheep eyes.

(Later) Uh, oh!  Trouble in dead-thing paradise!   The total for this purchase is over the straight ordering cap and the human female has FORGOTTEN to attach a “Sole Source Justification,” a magic document which would automatically throw the order to the Purveyor of Dead Things, and the requisition has gone. out. for. bid.  This is a lengthy process which can throw a Thor-sized wrench into the works.  The human female has hastily created and attached a sole source document, but to no avail.

Bids it is!

(Later) This is indeed taking quite a while.  The human female has contacted the Bean Counters to see how things are progressing.  The Bean Counters have told her that so far, no one has bid on the transaction, not even the Purveyors of Dead Things!  The Bean Counters suggest that she contact the PODT directly and tell them to bid, using their original quote.

This she has done.  The person she spoke to at PODT was unsure how to do a bid, but said she would attempt to figure it out.

(Later)  The bidding period has elapsed and the PO has been awarded to the PODT.  Everything is fine, yes?

(Later) No!  The human female has just received this email from a confused individual at PODT.

Good Morning,

If you could please email me a copy of your authorized purchase
order for quote 31845, which we received via email I would appreciate it.


The human female has called the sender of this message.  Turns out that the PODT received only a copy of their own bid, along with substitute W-9 forms so they can set up an account.  No PO, no bid award document, nothing.  The look on the human female’s face is priceless. There is a long-standing business agreement between the University and the PODT.  There should be nothing TO set up.  After comparing notes, they have determined that the PO was sent with a billing address and account number that are different from the usual. Probably because the wrong account number and billing address are on the original bid.  Why?  Who knows?!  Loki!  She has promised the poor confused soul at PODT that she will confer with the Bean Counters and try to figure out what is going on.

Am I done making trouble?  Oh, no, no, no!

The Bean Counter with whom the human female usually confers is out, so she has called the next one up the Bean Counter Food Chain (BCFC).  That particular BC is out of the office, so she has done as his answering machine message indicates and called a third Bean Counter one level back down the BCFC.   This BC has promised to look into things and call her back.

(Later.) The plot thickens!  It is very twisty!  Here is the gist.  The PO was sent to  So far, so good.  BUT, the PO was sent to DeadThings Aristotle Corp rather than to DeadThings Education, LLC.  Never mind that both entities are in the ordering software.  Never mind that they are listed in the software’s database of vendors as having the SAME mailing address.  In case you have lost track, we are now at one PO, one company, two company names, two account numbers,  three company addresses, three Bean Counters (four, if you count the one at PODT), and waaaay too many emails and phone calls.

Can this transaction be saved?  Um, possibly.  But it is very likely that the BC at the University will have to cancel the original, faulty PO and issue a new one.  They will also have to overhaul the PODT entry in their vendor database, because apparently DeadThings Aristotle Corp just plain shouldn’t be used at all.  Nor should  This may take a while.  Which means that the human female cannot order the OTHER things she needs to order from them until it all gets sorted out.

(Later)  All of this and it looks like the PO just went to the PODT with the original number.  Which is to say that the human female has just ordered dead things.  She still has to get the order filled and delivered, which will involve adventures of their own.

You know, the human female did a little jig and made a pitcher of mimosas when BAMN went away, because she naively believed that her ordering woes were a thing of the past.  Pfft!  It’s like she’s never even met me.

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