I have a couple of dozen eBay searches for balances active at the moment, on manufacturers name as well as category etc.
So a few days ago one of them found me one for a minumum bid of £19.99 plus delivery. Except that they'd called it a set of scales rather than a balance and hadn't put it in the scientific instrument category. And when I checked out the vendor it turned out to be the local branch of Cash Converters, about a five minute bike ride from here.
So, not surprisingly, I waited with bated breath until the last 20 seconds or so, just before the end of the day, and bunged in a bid for £36.60 which is about what I thought I could spend without my boss shooting me.
Except that I turned out to be the only bidder and got it for £19.99
And went over there after work and paid for it and got it home, and tried it with the accurate weights from an old chemical balance I keep as an ornament. And it works, accurately enough for anything up to A-level.
And that, kiddies, is how I got a 0-600g x 0.01g, 0-60g x 0.001g balance for 20 quid.
Sometimes I think my school doesn't deserve me...