Squirreling things away

Go read this post over at DrugMonkey (and some of the comments because there are several funny stories in there).  When you are done laughing, come back.*

I confess, I have my own secret stash of things in the lab.  Not expensive reagents like Taq, but a Backup Supply of things that we routinely run out of (the fact that we routinely run out of critical things is a topic of a whole ‘nother post entirely).  In an unlabeled cabinet near my bench I have the following:

  1. Two boxes of medium-sized nitrile gloves
  2. Two packages of paper towels
  3. A box of each kind of tips (this is overly neurotic–we haven’t run out of tips in forever)
  4. A bottle of LB that I made myself
  5. A bottle of YPD (yeast media) that I made myself

In the freezer, I have my own tube of ampicillin, and my own tube of ligase buffer (this is for self-preservation; people leave the buffer out for too long and it starts to go bad and then your ligation doesn’t work and it makes me want to howl in fury, so I keep my own buffer since I know where its been; also they supply so much buffer with the enzyme that everyone in lab could have four tubes for themselves at this point).

I’ve also been known to keep a couple of spare bottle-top filters.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this habit of mine.  I’m guessing everyone in lab has a secret stash of something or other.  What do you guys stash away?


*I laughed at those stories until tears came out of my eyes.  Also, if I was the PI, I think the incident would not have happened, because I would have followed PdA back from lab meeting and made damn sure he gave PdB the antibody in question.  However, let’s say it happened exactly as written.  I would send them home for two days, call them both into my office and tell them in no uncertain terms that if anything like that ever happened again they could both find new labs to work in (this might be somewhat complicated if they have their own fellowships, but no way in hell would I want them in my lab).

6 thoughts on “Squirreling things away

  1. I stash buffers for various enzymes, but we get a bunch of this with each enzyme. I also keep my own buffers for things I do a lot. Anything that I have to make up, I have my own stock. I’m known to be very generous with aliquots, but very stingy with my bottles.

  2. I stash office supplies. I swear our Sharpies magically grow legs and walk out of the lab.

    Scissors, pens, staplers, and tape dispensers also do this, but they don’t usually get as far as the Sharpies.

  3. Er, Taq? Expensive? What kind of Taq are you buying????? Eek!

    As for stashing, well! My lab is managed as though by a pack of howling monkeys on crack, so I’ve stashed away everything, ’cause nobody orders stuff. Plates. Six kinds of tubes. Precast gels for when we run out. Cut tips and filter tips. Nitrocellulose. Boxes. Galactose. All the enzymes I use- every single one!- plus two TOPO kits, which are damn expensive. Ladders. Spare bottles of everything. My own silver stain kit. Envelopes. Binder clips. Sheet protectors. Dividers. Notebooks.

    And I’ve squirrelled away a whole new gel rig- one of the Biorad ones that does four gels at a time. Because I’m a bad, bad person.

  4. Jenny–Compared to a box of gloves, Taq is a little expensive (unless you make your own, of course, but we don’t).

    I love your description of your lab’s management style.

    Kes–I also stash office supplies, pens especially.

  5. I have an extra box or two of gloves on my bench, but that’s more because I might as well grab two when I’ve climbed up to the top shelf where they’re stored–no one else in my lab wears the same size gloves as me. (Which is ‘medium’.) I also have a ‘desk use only’ set of sharpies and pens, which are hidden in my desk drawer so they don’t run off and get spilled on. For everything else, though, my lab shares well.

  6. I stash pens, sharpies, CDs, DVDs, plastic cutlery (for eating), paper towels, ziploc bags, aluminum foil (for my experiments), gloves and various food items all over the lab in case I’m stuck there late at night (or overnight, or in a blackout) and need food. Is that silly?

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