I haven’t done a lot of mischief this week, but I like to think it has been high-quality mischief. None of this slip-shod, half-assed, mildly-annoying business. No, by the Norns’ flowered nighties, only the best for the human female.
Every semester, she orders “flash gels” for one of the labs, handy (but expensive) pre-formed electrophoresis gels that run in minutes rather than hours. This time, after ordering them, the prep techs let her know that they also needed the “ladder,” a reference portion of DNA that yields a known result against which tests can be measured. With me so far? Well, because she is an inveterate penny-pincher, the human female placed the order for the ladder, then called the company and asked if they could hold the first order until the second arrived, so they could ship together, thus saving on postage. It was at this point I stepped in, so when the Helpful Person at Gels-R-Us looked up the orders in the system, the second one hadn’t even posted yet, but the Helpful Person put a note on the first order to hold until the second arrived. The human called again the next day to try to make sure things went as planned. The Helpful Person she talked to said yes, the second order was in the system now, but she couldn’t find the FIRST order. Eventually, it was located, and after checking that both items would ship from the same place (the parent company of Gels-R-Us has branches in two states), the human female was assured that YES! Postage would be saved! All hail, Combined Shipping!
Ever laugh so hard that your beverage comes out your nose? That’s what I did when the second order arrived separately, a day before the first.
Then there were the pipette guts. There are a lot pipettes (gadgets for picking up, transferring, and dispensing an accurately-measured tiny amount of liquid) where the human female works, and last year she bought a whole flock of them when she was outfitting a new classroom. I played with one of the new ones the other day, and I might have shaken loose the metal thingy from the plastic dohickey on the piston assembly. The instrument was out of warranty, but it has seen so little use that the human female felt justified in asking the Pipette Purveyor for a replacement–or at least the replacement part. Her blandishment skills are pretty good, and the Pipette Purveyor agreed. After going around and around about whether it was more efficacious to mail the pipette to the Purveyor or for the Purveyor to send the part, the latter was decided upon. The part arrived and was installed. Then the human female received an e-mail from a friend who works in a different department, in a different College at the University. The invoice (showing $0 owed) had showed up in HER office. The humans are still trying to figure that one out. Ehehehehe! Useless bits of erroneous paper! Is it even worth it to try to get a correct invoice for zero dollars? The human female made a lunch date with her friend, to eat and chat and hand over the invoice, but they got so caught up in talking about Purchasing Nightmares that both of them FORGOT to hand it off! Ehehehehe…
And then there are the UV light bulbs. You remember playing, “Who’s Got the Bulb?”, yes? The hard-won order hadn’t arrived, so the human female called Fisher to check up on them. She was told the bulbs woul’d ship on November 6. Or perhaps November 7. Appeased, the human female regaled the Helpful Person with the long saga of Bulb Acquisition, not glossing over my role in the story. The Helpful Person was so amused that she offered to double check the status of the order with Bulb Moguls. After some considerable time on hold, the human female was told that Bulb Moguls wouldn’t sell Fisher just two, either! The case of ten is inviolate and must not be broken! Since the order is marked “drop ship,” it is NEVER going to come unless the human female orders 8 more, at roughly $50 apiece. She asked the Fisher Helpful Person whether Fisher couldn’t order a whole case and, you know, actually have them on hand for when someone wants to order them. The Helpful Person is looking into this (has to talk to Sales), but in in these days of on-demand, zero-inventory merchandising, the human female may yet end up banging her head against the nearest hard surface. Find the headache pills; I think she’s going to need them.
Oh, oh! I almost forgot one! Do you remember when I arranged for the pharmacy to send the human female drugs she didn’t need and didn’t want and wasn’t going to pay for, and then the pharmacy issued her a refund for the money she didn’t pay for the pills she didn’t take? Yesterday another refund check came, for the bizarre amount of $9.79.
Now she definitely needs the headache medicine. I give this week a 9.5.