Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Time flies like an arrow...

...fruit flies like a banana.

Which leads me to one of my periodic rants on laboratory supply prices.

I wanted some fruit flies for work - nothing fancy, just the ordinary wild type.

Lab catalogue says £7.55, which I thought was a bit steep considering they're... well, they're flies... but everyone else seemed to be charging about the same, so I added it to an order I was placing yesterday, which was mostly glassware etc.

Today the supplier got back to me - since they're living organisms, they come from another company, with a surcharge of (wait for it....) £7.50. So the flies now cost £15.05.

So I told them to cancel it, and went looking for alternates. And ended up buying a pack for £4.50 inc P&P on Ebay UK, sold to feed lizards.

And the moral here - if you want something that is used for a narrow specialisation, look outside the box. You may be pleasantly surprised...

This isn't an isolated case, incidentally.

Vacuum pumps sold via school science suppliers cost about £250-£300. Vacuum pumps sold via air conditioning companies (used to get the air out of pipes) cost less than half that, for apparently identical pumps.

When I wanted some bottled gas and couldn't justify renting full-sized cylinders, the scientific suppliers wanted £60 a cylinder for the disposable type. We ended up getting them from a welding supplier who offered some of the gases we needed at £14 for TWO slightly smaller cylinders...

And one of the lab supply companies is selling laser light boxes (basically, laser levels) at £75 for 5. They appear to be identical to the ones I got in a pound shop last year...
Tags: science

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