Whether you need a chemical, an electrical wire, or if it is your turn to refill the stocks of consumable: you will have at some point to do some shopping.
It might sound tedious, a loss of time, and not very research-oriented, but it is always possible to find a positive note for any boring task. For example, you could find yourself a little present at the consumable shop. Or come across a chemical you would not have thought of. Or made yourself useful to another friend, who would return the favor next time. Anyway, you cannot pipet without pipet tips, so shopping day is required.
University consumable stores are like little Ali Baba caves, it is incredible what you might find there. If you like to wander around the shelves in DIY stores, this is for you.
Except you might not be allowed to wander around.
Except you have to avoid the Fridays’ evenings and the Mondays’ mornings. Friday evening because it is usually the most crowded time: everybody who postponed this tedious task, or because you refill the stocks when they come empty on Fridays, so that you can start 100% Monday first hour. Monday morning because it is delivery time usually so the staff is very busy. And good mood and Mondays do not necessarily come together.
Except that you have to take with you a few things before hand: be prepared to go shopping. If you are looking for something very specific, you need to know the name exactly. You might want to check several translations to make sure. Or print a picture of it. If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, pictures, drawings, the beaker you want to fit in it etc., anything concrete will greatly help to make yourself clear and understandable.
When you don’t find what you are looking for, you will need to order it or to find someone who can lend it to you. Be prepared to spend time and efforts. Ordering seems technically easier but it is worth if you are not so sure of the result? Is the delivery time quick enough? How expensive is it? Maybe it is available in the next lab and some efficient googling can inform you whom and where to ask.
I have to admit that the effort and time spent on very silly things can get ridiculously high sometimes.
If you are allowed, bless amazon.
Thanks to the consumable stores, I could get these 10 tapes of different colours, this soooo cute teeny-tiny porcelain Büchner funnel, the unexpected surprise of one small ceramic cup – instead of 10 – and these thousand of plastic clips – when I thought I would get 10, and not 10 packs of 100…