Surplus Lab Supplies

Michael Holloway mhollowa at
Sat May 8 14:53:50 EST 1993

In article <czsC6ML4L.Hxo at> czs at (Christian Smith) writes:
>In the process of looking for used equipment to put together a small
>microbiology lab I have come across a lot of interesting stuff.  Items
>like incubators, centrifuges, vortexers, micropipetters as well as
>very sophisticated diagnostic equipment.  I've also come across large 
>environmental test chambers and even a scanning electron microscope. 
>Many of these items were new surplus while many others were used but
>still in very good shape.  I think most items were acquired from 

>What surprised me was that most of these items will eventually
>be scrapped and are in effect worthless.  Is this because labs
>in general have plenty of money for new equipment or is it 
>cheaper in the long run to buy new equipment under warranty?
>Please clear up the mystery for me.

Whether this cache your talking about is in a commercial concern or at a 
university I'm betting that the answer is the same: bureaucratic stupidity.
Squandered resources are squandered resources, regardless of the excuse.
Here at SUNY Stony Brook, equipment that could easily be put to use elsewhere 
is either scrapped or made impossible to get at.  The rational seems to be 
that this is state property and the only concern is that it not end up 
being used by someone not in the SUNY system (shudder).  If its used PC 
equipment it is placed in the basement of an easily accessible campus 
building in a room whose door is routinely jimmied open by undergraduates who 
cart the good stuff away.  At least its being put to use.

By the way, where is this stuff you found?  I'll bet its not allowed to 
leave the premises, right?


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