Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!)

View of the Chemistry Academic Organic Lab

Why is there a note in my drawer?

Uh-oh, you forgot to return to the stockroom something you had checked out from the stockroom!  Checked-out equipment is meant to be shared amongst all of the courses. Stockroom staff had to go looking for it and, once it was found (or not), we let you know.

Yellow Lab Desk Slip

Orange Lab Desk Slip

Red Lab Desk Slip

Why do I have to pay if I forgot to return something?

There are two reasons for charging a fee; the first is as a service to you, the second is as a lesson. The cash value (retail cost) of the glassware and equipment you checked out can cost anywhere between $20 to $2000. Once you sign it out, you are financially responsible for loss or breakage of this equipment—this includes theft if you just leave it on the desktop for the next class to find. So, to protect you from paying for the full cost of the item lost or stolen, as a service we will attempt to go looking for it. Whether we find it or not, we will leave you the appropriate note and, hopefully, it will let you know we just saved you from paying a hefty fee for its replacement.

The second reason is the small fee serves as an annoyance which will (in theory, at least!) remind you to check and make sure you bring back the materials you borrowed from the stockroom before you leave for the day.

Do I have to pay for stuff I lost/broke?

In general, yes. In other words, unless you are specifically told by stockroom personnel that you won't be charged for a piece of equipment, expect to be charged for it. Tell you what ... check out the Lab Equipment Page. Each item will have a short description, which includes the cost (if any) for each piece of equipment. Also, please see the next question.

That sucks! Why? Doesn't the lab fee cover this?

Short answer: Kind of.

Long answer: The lab fee that you pay goes toward the purchase of all of the chemicals and reagents used throughout the semester, and for disposable supplies (this includes such familiar and common items like vials, weighing paper, pipets, melting point tubes, filter paper, band-aids, etc.).

Here's the rub: supplies and equipment that are meant to be re-used are NOT covered by this fee. It would be unfair to charge everyone a larger fee to compensate for the equipment broken (or lost) by individual students, so everyone is instead charged for breakage (or loss) on a per-item basis.

But here's the good news ... when I say "kind of," I mean that some of the equipment in the drawer is inexpensive enough to be considered "disposable;" thus, you are NOT charged for this inexpensive equipment.

OK, I understand why I have to pay if I broke something, but what if it's just missing?

I actually do get this question a lot. The answer is that it doesn't matter what specifically happens to a piece of equipment assigned to you; you're still responsible for it. If you lost it, if you broke it, if it just "turns up missing" one day, the bottom line is still the same: it's gone and needs to be replaced. It's the same as if you check out a book from the library that a buddy borrows and never returns, or it falls out of your backpack unnoticed, or for whatever reason it becomes damaged: the library's policy is the same—you must replace it.

IF, however, you lose a piece of glassware or equipment and later find it, you're off the hook. Simply bring the piece of found equipment to the stockroom and your account will, of course, be credited!  Additionally, there is a bin for "lost-and-found" glassware in the stockroom for items which are turned in.  However, because we don't know who the items belong to when they are found, items in the lost and found are returned to students on a 'first come, first served' basis.

I lost/broke something but I didn't bring any money to pay for it... what do I do?

Don't stress. Come to the stockroom and we'll issue you a new piece of equipment. You aren't expected to pay for it that day, or even the next. The stockroom staff maintains breakage records if any of your equipment needs to be replaced. At the end of the semester, we total everything up and send you a bill, so you won't need to worry about it until then.

How/when do I pay for broken or lost equipment?

The stockroom maintains records of items broken or lost for each student. At the end of the semester, the prices for these items are totaled, and an invoice is sent to the address that the University has on file for you for this total amount. You are then required to submit payment, either by mail or in person, to the Student Accounts Office in Erwin Hall (specific instructions on how and where to pay are included with the invoice).

Unfortunately, if you are issued an invoice, the Student Accounts Office places a fee hold on your account. This will make it difficult (actually, impossible) for you to receive grades, register for classes, or just about anything else, until this fee is paid. Sorry ... this is the University's policy, not mine.

You can, of course, check your balance at any time during the semester. If you want to know how much a specific item costs, stockroom personnel will be glad to help you out. Or you can take a look at the lab equipment page, which lists costs of glassware and equipment.

I don't have to check out of my drawer if I drop the class, do I?

Actually you do have to check out of your drawer. When you check in to a lab, you are basically checking out the lab equipment in your drawer. The Lab Safety Rules and the Stockroom Rules include an agreement with the stockroom to check the equipment of your drawer back to the Chemistry Stockroom once you no longer are enrolled in the class, either at the end of the semester, or when you drop the class.

If you do drop the lab class, we do ask you to check out of your drawer as soon as possible (this will help prevent forgotten drawers at the end of the semester). You can make an appointment to check out of your drawer with Dan by contacting him through the many methods offered through this website. If you do forget to check out, or otherwise decline to do so, the Chemistry Stockroom will charge an improper check-out fee. You will then have to pay for the fee at the Student Accounts Office. (See the How/When do I pay for broken or lost equipment? dropdown above)