Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tetrakis Talk

{greg the chemist dialing the phone}


AA: "Hello, this is Gregory from Alfa Aesar Technical Assistance. May I help you?"

GTC: "Yes, Hi. We have just received our order for 2 g of palladium tetrakis triphenylphospine. The shipment we received is sealed in an ampule but has a dark green color. Can we replace it with some good catalyst?"

AA: "Well, our palladium tetrakis comes in three different colors; yellow, green and brown."

GTC: "But this should be bright yellow."

AA: "We have analyzed our product and chemically it is the same. It should work fine for you."

GTC: "Palladium Tetrakis should be bright yellow."

AA: "I can see that you don't want our product. I will issue a refund and you can send it back to us."

GTC: "Um. Great. Thank you very much."


GTC: "What the hell? Three different colors? No thanks. Why didn't we order from Strem in the first place?"

{sorry for the poor photos}


Rich Apodaca said...

'Just buy it from Strem'

Every other chemist I've talked to and who has ordered tetrakis elsewhere says the same thing. Is it really so hard to consistently ship good tetrakis?

Ψ*Ψ said...

Green?! Weird.
Why not just make it? It's dead easy and maaaaybe takes half an hour.
Plus, on a bad day, it's that one reaction that you can't possibly screw up.

Greg the Chemist said...

Yes, well, if I had ordered it first, it would have come from Strem. *sigh* What astonishes me is the ignorance of the technicians at Alfa. "We have it in yellow, green and brown." I just about died when I heard that.

Chemgeek said...

That's hilarious. From now on, when and if I order from Alfa, I'm going to request everything in a specific color.

"Hi, I need some triphenylphosphine. I'd like it in blue this time. No, wait, I'll take the purple."

milkshake said...

Here is how you build a successful busines: You have to have in stock what you advertise and you mustn't suck. Strem has been making organometallics and ligands in bulk for years, for crappy companies to re-package them under moist air into leaky bottles and charge 200% premium for the "service". Eventually Strem got into selling research quantities and quickly became a great success.

In 2001 I was at a ACS meeting and there was this one little old guy in Strem vendor booth - I started talking to him because we used their Pd catalysts in the previous company - and then I found out it was Mike Strem himself. You have to appreciate a businessman who sells good stuff and actually takes time to listen to chemists.

We now place orders to Strem through Fisher as this simplifies the ordering - here at the institute we have a pre-paid account with Fisher (but for Strem direct orders we have to fill out a PO, get signatures on it etc).

mevans said...

Instrument vendors are just as ignorant, if not worse. Shimadzu shipped a couple of technicians to fix a UV/Vis spectrophotometer at UK, and here we are six months later with the same UV/Vis broken.

One of the downsides of having a Canadian advisor is all his instruments are Canadian! and none of the companies exist anymore.

mevans said...

Correction, it was a GC/MS and I don't think it was Shimadzu.

petr said...

somebody put the knive too close to your neck, mevans? :))

Ψ*Ψ said...

Hey, mevans, no speaking badly about your advisor--he is one of my favorite profs ever.

Jack Peter Gunning said...

We used to order tetrakis from Strem but they are expensive. We now use pressure chemicals USD5/g which is an excellent price. It comes in yellow.