Unrepentant Package Squashers

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Or sometimes you can, it just takes a really, really long time.

All the human female wanted was some phosphoric acid.  It shouldn’t have been difficult, right?  The stuff is, after all, practically everywhere.  They put it in soda, for Sleipnir’s sake!

So the human female, months ago, ordered a case of six three-liter bottles.  (Well, 6 x 2.5 liters, but the Vendor Who’s Responsible likes to round up).  They were part of one of the big orders back in May.

Now, sometimes I like to pick an item or two on a large order and have a little fun.  You recall–the May orders sat on her desk for months, incompletely received.  Part of that was test tubes.  And part of it was the acid.

So, the acid didn’t come and it didn’t come and it didn’t come.  When the human female called the VWR, they told her that it was delayed because the manufacturer had to make it.  Because why on earth would they actually STOCK it?

More queries, more excuses, more delayed estimated ship dates.  One after the other.

It was taking so long that she thought maybe she should order a different product, because sometimes the VWR has one version of a chemical if the others are out of stock.  So she fired up the online catalog, and discovered that, sure enough, there was an alternative–and it was even less expensive!

vwr phosphoric acid is three cents

Three cents for a case seemed like an awfully good price!  But then she logged in or refreshed the screen or something and it came back as its regular price.  And behold! The product she had ordered was by far the cheapest one–by a factor of ten.   All the other options were ultra pure and ultra pricey.

She would just have to wait.

And wait she did!  The shipment was delayed again and again.  There were supposed ship dates all throughout June.  Nothing.  Finally, on the 19th, it was definitely, absolutely, 100% going to ship.

It shipped on the 24th.

The package took its sweet time, nordling all about the continent, seeing the sights and, no doubt, stopping at all of the quaint roadside attractions this part of Midgard is known for.  Enormous balls of string, reptile farms, diners shaped like improbable headgear, that kind of thing.

On June 28, the acid reached Texas.  And vanished.

phosphoric acid trip

How does one lose a shipment that, according to Unrepentant Package Squashers, weighs one hundred and thirty-four pounds?  The human female called the VWR and called UPS and asked them to please, please find the shipment.  It was if it had been swallowed by a black hole.

The human female followed up a hunch and confirmed that yes, phosphoric acid IS used in the manufacture of various illicit drugs.  Perhaps it had been absconded with by some meth-making malefactor.  Sigh. Probaby gone forever, then.  She called the VWR one more time, and they promised to reship the whole case.

So, the replacement acid didn’t come and it didn’t come and it didn’t come. 

But then–a miracle! (No, actually, it was me just deciding to have a little more fun.)  In lateish July, the original shipment mysteriously reappeared in in tracking!

phosphoric acid trip-2

The human female waited with bated breath.  The package went out for delivery, but then turned around and ended right back up at the freight center.  How maddening!

But then–delivered!  Huzzah and great rejoicings!  Delivered at last!

phosphoric acid trip-2

Except, it wasn’t.  It wasn’t at the stockroom, and it wasn’t at Central Receiving.  No shipment, anywhere.

The human female called the UPS, who assured her it had been delivered.  She assured them it hadn’t.  UPS insisted they even had a signed delivery receipt.  Signed in the stockroom, big and bold, by someone named “Jason.”

Except that there *is* no person in the stockroom whose name is Jason.  And there isn’t anyone at all in the University’s directory whose name is Jason and who has a last name that sounds anything like what UPS said was the receipt.  She had UPS send her a copy of the receipt.  Yep!  Jason Kl~~~~ squiggle -something.

It was at this point that the human female had what I believe is known in some parts of Midgard as a “spittle-flecked nutty.”  She ranted to anyone who would listen—and anyone who couldn’t scuttle away fast enough–about how someone’s head was going to roll for this.  She wanted answers.  She got none.  She wanted a full investigation by a Congressional Subcommittee.  She got excuses.  She wanted an army of workers to start building the gibbet and making a path for the tumbril.  She got crickets chirping.

She demanded that Unrepentant Package Squashers launch an immediate investigation.  The delivery driver must be found and made to say where and to whom he had “delivered” the goods.  Probably, there was no Jason at all, and she had uncovered a far-reaching conspiracy to divert honest, hard-working people’s phosphoric acid into the seamy world of clandestine drug laboratories.  Wasn’t the acid actually identified on the external shipping label for all the world to see?  The VWR was practically asking for people to intercept and misuse their goods!  Yes, indeed, she was going to break the story Wide Open.  By gum, she was going to see this through!

And then one morning, the nice lady in the stockroom asked her if she knew anything about a large, unclaimed parcel that was just sitting in the basement of an adjacent building.

Could it be?  Was it?

It was!  Filthy, plastic-wrapped, holey, and with its attachments all torn up–but undeniably a big batch of phosphoric acid!

phosphoric acid-box

The bottles, despite the total lack of packing material, hadn’t broken.  All 18(16) liters accounted for and perfectly intact.

The paperwork, not so much.

phosphoric acid-box-torn label

Oh, how she wished the boxes could talk!

The human female, while undoubtedly relieved to be able to FINALLY close the PO, was nonetheless disappointed that she had not, in fact, busted up a drug ring. She does lead such a boring life.

Some questions remain.

Where was the shipment between July 2 and July 22?  Three weeks is a long time to misplace such a hefty shipment.

–Who is is the mysterious Jason Is he actually a Jason?

Why did the Unrepentant Package Squashers  let some random humanoid sign for such an important shipment?

Why was it just left in sitting in the basement, with no attempt to find out who it belonged to?

Why does the shipping statement from the VVWR say the weight was 73.58 pounds, while UPS has paperwork that shows it weighs 134 pounds?

phosphoric acid-weight

–Just what did the UPS charge VWR for the shipping? Did they bill for 73 pounds and change, or the nice, round, entirely-fictitious weight of 134?

Why did the VWR say they couldn’t ship until late June because the acid was, “being made” when the made-by date on the bottles says they were born in early May?

phosphoric acid-date

–And finally, since the Internets says, “Phosphoric acid is made from the mineral phosphorus, which is found naturally in the body,” what—or WHO–is the manufacturer making this stuff out of???

And, oh yes–where will Loki strike next?  What will his next mischief be?

There’s really no telling. Rest assured, though, human female, you won’t see it coming until it hits you right between the eyes. . .

>|: [

So What Was In the Demolished Box??

I am just as curious as Sigyn is to see what is in the mutilated box delivered by Unrepentant Package Squashers yesterday.

Sleipnir’s fetlocks!

It’s more of those stackable animals for that game the humans liked so much.

2balancebeasts-crowd

What is this one supposed to be?  I approve of the color, but I have no clue what it is.

2balancebeasts-chameleon

Oh.  The human female says its a tricky lizard, one that can change his color at will.  Being a shape-shifter myself, I can appreciate the usefulness of a quick disguise.  You and I may get along well, lizard.

Sigyn is introducing herself to…  A person-faced lion with a goatee and aviator goggles?!

2balancebeasts-sphinx

I’m beginning to wonder if the shaking up that parcel took mashed all the contents around and this thing started out as five or six other things…

Okay.  This one, at least, I recognize.  A flamingo–nothing else is that pink or that stilty.

2balancebeasts-flamingo1

They’re famous for standing around on one leg. Sigyn is practicing her own balancing on one leg.

2balancebeasts-flamingo2

It’s not going very well.

Stay behind me, Sigyn!  Unless I’m very much mistaken, that is a dragon, and it doesn’t do to leave them out of your calculations, especially if you are small, cute, and tasty-looking.

2balancebeasts-dragon

Sigyn, don’t!

2balancebeasts-dragon2

Oh, well.  I should have known she’d have the beast tamed in no time at all.

Ehehehehehe!  The chameleon was silly, the flamingo was ridiculous, and the dragon, though fierce, has these goofy little wings and really isn’t very terrifying at all, but THIS goober takes the cake.

Or the fish food, as the case may be.

2balancebeasts-eel2

Don’t be fooled by its wiggly little forehead “worm,” Sigyn.  That’s how it lures in its prey.

Sigyn! What are you doing?!  Have you NO sense of self-preservation at all?

2balancebeasts-eel

Oh.

2balancebeasts-eel3

Playing dental hygienist.

Sweetest, you and your notions will be the death of me yet.

>|: [

Oh, Well Done!

Sigyn, did you hear something?  I thought I heard a thumpy noise, like something out on the front porch…

loki-lookright-pkg

Nothing over there…

loki-lookleft-pkg

Nothing over he—

Sweet Glittering Bifrost!  The Unrepentant Package Squashers have outdone themselves this time.  I asked them to pay a extra special attention to anything they were given to deliver to the humans, and they’ve surpassed my wildest dreams.

I mean, look at this!  It’s a thing of mangled beauty!

One corner is magnificently crumply.

welldoneups2

And look, Sigyn!  Take a moment to appreciate how the sealing tape is hanging on by just a few fibers.

welldoneups3

Careful, love.  I don’t want you entangled in what intact tape there is!

welldoneups0

UPS, you have done yourself proud with this one!

welldoneups4

I salute you!

welldoneups1

>|: [

 

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Remember last July when the human female and her crew switched from regular lab gloves to biodegradable nitrile gloves?   I had fun with that shipment.  It arrived in tatters and parts had to be replaced.  They’ve been patting themselves on the back for “helping the environment.”  Well, I’ve been helping the work environment,  making sure it is one of cHa0$ and obfuscation.

The very first thing the human female did when she got back into the office after Yule break was to order the “green” gloves for the semester.  That was on January 2.  She ordered 4 cases of extra large, 23 cases of large, 32 cases of medium, and 32 cases of small, ten boxes to the case.

This time I wanted to make sure they all arrived in good condition.

Just not all at once.

On January 9, about half the gloves arrived via Fed Up and Exhausted.  There was more than a bit of confusion, and the stockroom clerk almost didn’t sign for them, because They Had One Mission And Stumbled (THOMAS) had helpfully addressed the boxes to “Stephen Wolfe,” which just happens not to be the human female’s name.  She couldn’t check the packing slip, because there wasn’t one, just the freight weight statement. The shipment sat in one of the lab rooms while she worked with the vendor to figure out a) were the gloves hers and b) where were the rest?

About that time, the human female received four shipping notices from Unrepentant Package Squashers.  No explanation for the change in shipper.  The four shipments arrived on January 10.  Each one was a single case of small gloves.

After many emails to and from the customer rep, the human female managed to get THOMAS to agree to finish sending the order.  On January 11, more packages showed up, via Fed-up and Exhausted.  The human female and her minions counted and counted again, and came to the conclusion that they had the right number of cases of extra large and one extra case each of large and medium.  They were, however, still short a case of small.  No packing slip here, either.

Email, email, email, moaning, wailing, gnashing of teeth.  The customer rep was busy, busy, busy and ended each of her “I’m working on it” notes ended with a cheery “Let’s make 2019 the best year ever!”  

On January 14, the female managed to squeeze a packing slip out of THOMAS, but it showed only 23 large and 32 medium.

The human female finally gave up and called customer service directly.  They promised to make it all right.

On February 5, she received a shipping notice from Unrepentant Package Squashers that the long-awaited gloves were finally en route.

They arrived on February 11–and here they are!

glove box

I dragged it out as long as I could, and considering that many of the glove boxes sat in the big middle of the main prep room bench until all was completed and that turning in the non-existent packing slips required a novel-length explanation for the bean counters, I’d say it was one of my better jests.

And to think they’ll be ordering again for summer or fall!  Ehehehehe!

>|: [

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Pipettes, Part II: The Great Un-boxing

It is time.  Time to tackle the huge shipment of pipettes that arrived in less than pristine condition.  This is a portion of the boxes–the good ones:

pipette-boxes

The smashy boxes have been segregated to the front desk so their degree of smashiness can be ascertained.

The human female and her staff are now proposing to start unpacking and see just how bad the damage is.

It’s not looking good…

pipette-box smash7

The corrugated carnage is of the extremest sort.

pipette-box smash6

Hmm.  The pipettes themselves seem actually to be unharmed.  Pity.

pipette-box smash8

Oh, well, can’t have everything.

It’s like some malicious math problem:  If there are thirty-nine boxes, two product boxes per box, and three pipettes per product box…  Plus packing cardboard.  The human female and her staff have become automatons.  Open carton.  Take out boxes.  Open boxes.  Pull out the cardboard straps holding the pipettes and remove the fancy-cut-and-folded cardboard inserts.

So. Much. Cardboard.  I am making a castle out of the empties.

pipette-fort

This is possibly more pipettes than have ever been assembled in one place at one time in the history of the world.

pipettes2

In each box there is also a registration card, a booklet in a bag, and two boxes of pipette tips, each its own plastic bag.

pipettes

It’s a recycler’s nightmare.  The human female and her techs are nursing dozens of paper cuts, and there are at least four carts of flattened boxes to be hauled out to the recycling bin.

Each pipette also arrived with one or two tags hanging from it.  Hmmm…  Scan the code and enter info for a chance to win something…

pipette-tags

And nothing in the fine print says I can’t enter 300 times.

pipette-tags2

>|: [

A Tale of Pipettes, Part I: Getting Them Here is Half the Fun

Quite a number of the laboratory exercises that the human female and her staff have to prep and support employ very Precise Scientific Devices known as micro-pipettes. These are capable of measuring out infinitesimal aliquots with great accuracy.

Image result for micropipette

That’s the theory anyway.  In practice, the students forget to use them with the disposable tips, adjust the volume to ten or twenty times the required amount, and hit the tip discard plunger instead of the uptake/dispense button as often as not.

Recently, the Powers That Be have decided that these teaching lab pipettes are a disgrace, a blemish, a true PR nightmare for the Department.  An edict was issued that they be replaced, one and all, and one of the professors who is in the progress of overhauling all of the lab lessons ordered one hundred sets, each with three pipettes of varying sizes.

Folks, that is a LOT of pipettes.  They were quite eagerly awaited.  I mean, who, faced with the task of checking the calibration on a whole floor full of pipettes, hasn’t fantasized about chucking them all out the window and starting afresh.

Some of them arrived.  Some of them didn’t.  Unrepentant Package Squashers insisted that the missing TWO PALLETS had been signed for.  But signed for where?  And by whom?

Some diligent phone calling by the ordering professor eventually turned them up.  In the Biggish City to the West.  Yep, delivered to the wrong university entirely.  After some argling and bargling, Unrpentant Package Squashers deigned to pick them up and to deliver them to Central Receiving on this campus.

Then it was just a matter of getting them here.  The human female suggested that the fine folks at Central Receiving be enlisted to deliver them (as the CR folks have proven themselves prompt and dutiful in the delivery of dead cats, but the ordering professor wished UPS to make good their delivery or refund the shipping fee.

The pallets were coming!  They didn’t come.  A date was fixed!  And discarded.  They were coming on Friday!  No, Monday.  No, Tuesday!  Finally, an independent moving company was hired to bring them.  A company that had– it must be mentioned–just the week before dropped an expensive and fragile instrument off a delivery truck no fewer than three times between Building A and Building B on the campus.  Moreover, they propped the mangled package up in hopes that no one would notice the damage.

People noticed.

So here we are today, awaiting the two pallets from the movers. The humans are hopeful, if possessed of more than a little trepidation.  They know not that I slipped said movers a little tip to deliver the goods in an… amusing condition.  I can hardly wait to see in what condition they arrive!

Oooo!  Here they come!  Two pallets, a total of thirty-nine boxes.  Most of them look pretty good.

pipette-box smash4

Others, not so much.

pipette-box smash2

Ehehehe!  That one’s good and crumply!

pipette-box smash3

Yikes! Ehehehehe!

No, wait, this one’s my favorite:

pipette-box smash1

I have a feeling that the un-boxing is going to be interesting indeed…

>|: [

 

 

Mischief Update–Improvement in My Cash Flow

A busy Loki is a happy Loki, and boy, am I happy! I’ve also found some clever ways to bring in a little extra income, as you shall see.

Mostly, I continue to make the humans’ work environment and strange and surreal place.

First off: Slow, Silent and Costly continues to play dice with utilities and maintenance. Faucets drip or stop dripping at random intervals. Chilled water lines drip spots into ceiling tiles. One section of campus had both a chilled and a heated water outage–at the same time. Another week, most of west campus lost landline telephone service. And recently it came to light that the sewage from a large dorm complex had been tied into the storm drainage system and was routinely discharging gallons and gallons of wastewater into a local stream. (That wasn’t my idea, but I have been amused by the outcry and all of the digging up that fixing things has necessitated.)
Closer to home, two men showed up and installed a new break-room faucet in the human female’s area, unasked for and without warning. The work order for the new countertop in one of the main Intro Bio prep rooms involved multiple entities, none of whom, apparently, was talking to the others. All of the work (remove sink, replace counter, replace sink) had been written up and approved–and was in fact due to begin. Then two plumbers showed up, saying they’d been sent to look at a “leaking faucet.” No, the human female explained, the problem wasn’t a leak, it was that splashed water had, over time, warped the particle board counter and laminate covering. The two men hemmed and hawed, looked at the sink in the counter and its attendant plumbing, said, “Yep, this is a job for a plumber,” and left. Bill a visit from two techs.
The doorlock people finally finished their work, but it did take a while. One day they were delayed because someone who was supposed to show up and do part of a job, simply didn’t.  And once the locks were installed and hooked up, it took several further days before they were activated.  One professor still can’t get into his office.  And another two days for the old locks to be removed. I made sure to adjust the cordless power tool’s whine to the particular frequency that resonates with the human female’s fillings.
The policies of the University continue, at my direction, to remain mysterious and capricious. On the Third of July (a holiday devoted to the purchasing of watermelon, charcoal, and fireworks), the Powers That Be declared that staff could take early release and get a jumpstart on the festivities. Fifteen minutes later, another announcement came out– “Ooops! Sorry! We forgot summer school’s in session! If you’re involved with the actual teaching of classes, you don’t get to sneak out early. Our bad.”
The University’s first home football game of the season has been scheduled for Thursday, August 30th, to launch the career of our new circus-elephant-monikered coach. Since this is a work day, all of the staff and student parking lots are bound to be full. To better serve game-goers, however, many of the parking lots must be vacated. The Powers That Be have given notice that staff in these lots should make alternate arrangements on that day or vacate by a certain p.m.  It was even said that they could get a $10 credit for an Uber ride to work that day.  Most recently, “non-essential” staff have been told they can leave early, so that Moneyed Alums can have free run of the campus. Rest assured, I’m getting my cut.

Oh, the fine folks at Transportation Services are some of my favorite minions. Recently, they “discovered” some arcane tax law that says that the University’s faculty, staff, and students can no longer pay for their parking permits pre-tax. So essentially, parking is going up. More pennies in my pocket.
The University sends out various congratulatory newsletters every week. Here’s a screen shot of one of the most recent:

science

There is nothing like good, clean contrast in web design, and that is NOTHING like good, clean contrast.  When the human female asked the web folks about it, they assured her that the page was coded for maroon and white.  It’s just that the campus’ Exchange email program doesn’t seem to want to talk with the design software.  But they’re Looking Into It.

The University generates a lot of waste. I mean, a LOT, a lot. The hazardous waste, such as is generated by the human female’s program, is all tagged and contained and sent for proper disposal. Recently, the protocol for so doing has changed. Unfortunately for most users, I tickled the license for the software that lets folks fill out the disposal tags and requests online, such that only one user on the entire campus could log in and do it at any given time. Remember, folks, to beat the crowd: before 8:00 and after 5:00 are Hazardous-Waste-o’Clock!

The human female actually is all about the safety. And compliance. She harps on it all the time. Blah, blah, blah, “Use a hemostat to change that scalpel blade.” Nag, nag, nag. “Tie your hair back before you light that bunsen burner.” “Don’t lick that petri dish.” Whatever. Apparently the Vendor Who’s Responsible, though, has its doubts about her, because it asked her again to sign the “I am not going to use this iodine to make meth” declaration again, for the second time in six months. I keep telling her that if she’d let me set up a little…special lab down in the basement we could fund pretty much anything she wants to do with the Intro Bio program, plus have enough left over to stop looking like she dresses out of the charity box.

I may set up that lab anyway.  The price of horn polish just went up.

Negotiations with various vendors continue to be one of my favorite ways of annoying her. She managed to do an end-run around me recently, though. When she called the Purveyor of Squiggly Things to change the amount of squigglies in an order, she discovered that I’d changed the delivery date from the 6th to the 9th and was able to correct it. Rats! I was looking forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

She also remembered to order the 700-plus pig intestinal roundworms that she’d forgotten to order. She forgot the live Penicillium culture, though and had to order it at the last minute on the credit card, with ru$h air $hipping. Meanwhile, it’s almost time for the annual Dead Cat Ballet involving the Purveyor of Dead Things.  You just know I’m not going to let that go off without a hitch. (I can tell you that I already know that there will not be any actual dead cats. They’re on indefinite back-order.)

And the packing slips for all of these orders! Who knew that little pieces of paper could be such fun? I had the new video camera and tripod show up without a packing slip. The packing slip for a couple of items off the human female’s enormous fall order from the Vendor Who’s Responsible showed ALL the items on the order, so that one had to leaf through the many pages to figure out what was in that particular box. Then the free goods that enormous order garnered were sent with double and triple packing slips so that she had to make sure that there weren’t extra free goods her conscience wouldn’t let her keep.

Sometimes, when I run out of new ideas, I just revisit an old one. Remember the hurricane last September? I fouled up orders and shipping and deliveries for weeks, when Fed-up and Exhausted and Unrepentant Package Squashers couldn’t get any live materials in or out of Houston? The human female put all sorts of notes into the purchasing system, explaining the work-arounds she’d had to do and pointing out which goods weren’t coming. The other day, the Bean Counters, trying, no doubt, to be ahead of things when it came to closing out the fiscal year, dredged the whole mess up again, asking her to do receiving on the things she didn’t get, or to indicate they weren’t coming if that were the case. She pointed them at her months-old comment and let them know that, no, there are no more live termites coming in on that P.O.

I don’t let the male rest on his laurels– or his haunches– either. Some server or other is always going down, one round of soft ware updates breaks something the last one fixed, and the parade of clueless users through his office is never-ending. The other day, one of the machines hooked to the network was causing an error message, so Central Information Services disconnected it. Except they didn’t–they mistakenly shut down the system of one of the Department’s super-users, who was in the middle of a days-long backup of his squillionty terrabytes of data. The resultant shouting wasn’t at the human male, but it was human male-adjacent, which was nearly as draining for him and just as amusing for me.

Traffic around town continues to be a sick, twisted joke. I’ve managed to tap into the traffic-barrel rental business, so I have money coming in there, too. The new Diverging Diamond of Death opened this week. I get the feeling that, after it has been open for a while, the local populace will promise me anything if I just put things back the way they were.

Despite my best efforts at further delay, the long-awaited expansion of the church facilities has commenced. The human female is in mourning, though, because the entire beautiful courtyard has been turned into a construction-staging area, and all the trees have been cut down. That wasn’t my idea. I was hoping they could be saved, because Sigyn liked them. She hasn’t had a glimpse of the denuded courtyard yet. I’m hoping to keep it from her as long as I can.

On the home front, the Terror Twins and I keep things lively. Every night I let in June bugs and click-beetles so the felines can have an arthropod frenzy. The click beetles are their favorites because they make! noise! AND are fun to chase. So far, my record is three in one night. One of these days, the human female’s going to tire of getting up off the sofa, catching the clicky little goobers and chucking them outside and just let the kitties have their fun. When that happens, I’ll make sure Flannel Cat eats one and leaves the bug barf in the main traffic pattern in the house…

I’ve recruited the large appliances to my cause. The dryer still turns itself on at random intervals. The little end-stopper thingy came out of the dishwasher’s left top rack-glide, so now it’s possible to actually remove half the top rack completely. And the refrigerator, from time to time, will piddle a little puddle of very cold water into the middle of the kitchen floor. Always, you understand, when someone can discover this transgression sock-footed.

The local market has stopped carrying the humans’ favorite kind of shredded cheese, while no store the humans can find in four different cities carries the female’s favorite flavor of yogurt. I keep offering them more and more opportunities for spiritually-enriching penance and self-mortification– you’d think they’d be grateful, but no. Hypocrites.

I hid last month’s utility bill, and no one thought to contact the company and volunteer payment, so when this month’s bill showed up, it was for two months of triple-digit-heat-fighting AC and dear-Idunn-please-don’t-let-the-lawn-die watering. That was a real shocker, I can tell you. The human male looked like a gaping codfish there for a minute or three.  I took photos.

So, as you can see, I’ve been up to some first-rate mischief, and even managed to monetize it a bit. Life (for me) is good!  I give this update a 9.75.

>|: [