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Offline FlowSyn

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worst chemical quote ever
« on: June 24, 2010, 10:52:05 PM »
I recently inquired about purchasing an intermediate from a US chemical company on the East coast and this is a rundown of the exchanged emails:

Quote
Me -

I am interested in purchasing intermediate X.  Can you please provide me with a quote?  Thank you for your time.

....one week later

Quote
Mr. X,

Please use 1-PG imidazole and heck reaction to get intermediate.

Quote
Me -

Does this mean that your company cannot supply this intermediate?

Quote
Mr. X,

You are a student, you can make yourself.

Quote
Me-

<not in the email> WTF????  ???  <in the email>  I'm a Ph.D. Chemist - not a student - and I can make the intermediate but I wish to purchase it.  Please answer my question: Can your company supply the intermediate that is posted on your website?

Quote
Mr. X,

Sorry we cannot supply the intermediate.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 12:01:09 PM by Mitch »

Offline a student

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2010, 03:05:27 AM »
unfortunately the way they had spoken to you seems very familiar to me ;D

Offline DrCMS

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2010, 04:04:55 AM »
How much of the intermediate were you going to buy?  A few g or a few kg. 

As an industrial chemist I can understand their reply.  It is likely they only make the material to order and will only do that if the order quantity is large enough to justify. 

I'd charge you $1000 per day (or part day) plus raw materials (at cost+10% mark up) for lab work up to 2L
or $2000 per day (or part day) plus raw materials (at cost+10% mark up) for pilot plant work at 20-200L.

Minimum 2 days of work. 

Are you in a position to spend that kind of money?

Offline Borek

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2010, 04:50:28 AM »
I understand the economy, I don't understand why they have to make idiots of themselves.
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Offline Mitch

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2010, 12:01:51 PM »
You should release the emails. :)
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Offline 408

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2010, 12:12:45 PM »
Did you accidently email you boss instead  :P ;D

Offline OC pro

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2010, 01:33:25 PM »
I have experienced the same so many times. Looking for a compound in ACD database. Contacting the supplier...they tell that they can deliver but it may take 3-4 weeks. After 4 weeks you simply receive an email stating that delivery will be delayed. My interpretation: they have probs in the synthesis. So many small companys are on the market which sell products not from the stock but simply on demand.
But to tell you that you are a student and you can make it by yourself is unbelievable. I would have certainly contacted the CEO of this company (and this is what you also should do). The customer is simply the king.

Offline Mitch

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2010, 02:01:36 PM »
Release the email and I'll put it at chemistry-blog.com, I can remove any identifying information.
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Offline FlowSyn

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2010, 09:05:36 PM »
Mitch,

I wish I could release the emails but unfortunately its against the bylaws of my institution.  Sorry.  It is crazy that he told me to make it myself.  That's a first for me.  Time to head to the bench I suppose.

Offline DrCMS

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2010, 03:24:10 AM »
Back to my question to you,  if Mr X had said yes we can supply that intermediate and cost will be ~ $10k depending on the amount you wanted would you have been able to sign off on that kind of expenditure?

Offline s_mojel

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2010, 01:21:17 PM »
Hello !
I have a question about k2co3/MeoH .plz help me . I read an article and wanna to use k2co3/meoh but k2co3 was not solut in neat meoH.plz help !!!!
I recently inquired about purchasing an intermediate from a US chemical company on the East coast and this is a rundown of the exchanged emails:

Quote
Me -

I am interested in purchasing intermediate X.  Can you please provide me with a quote?  Thank you for your time.

....one week later

Quote
Mr. X,

Please use 1-PG imidazole and heck reaction to get intermediate.

Quote
Me -

Does this mean that your company cannot supply this intermediate?

Quote
Mr. X,

You are a student, you can make yourself.

Quote
Me-

<not in the email> WTF????  ???  <in the email>  I'm a Ph.D. Chemist - not a student - and I can make the intermediate but I wish to purchase it.  Please answer my question: Can your company supply the intermediate that is posted on your website?

Quote
Mr. X,

Sorry we cannot supply the intermediate.

Offline Borek

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2010, 02:00:00 PM »
Hello !
I have a question about k2co3/MeoH .plz help me . I read an article and wanna to use k2co3/meoh but k2co3 was not solut in neat meoH.plz help !!!!

Please do not hijack threads, start your own in appropriate subforum.
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Offline demoninatutu

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2010, 09:15:12 PM »
Quote
Back to my question to you,  if Mr X had said yes we can supply that intermediate and cost will be ~ $10k depending on the amount you wanted would you have been able to sign off on that kind of expenditure?

That is not the issue. The professional response to a customer enquiry is to supply a quote for the services and/or politely inform the customer that you cannot provide the service under the terms requested. You don't abruptly tell them to do it themselves, this is terrible customer service and OC Pro is right that FlowSyn should complain to someone higher up. Companies rely on good customer service and if there is some idiot screwing things up for them, they should know.

The reply to FlowSyn should have gone either:

Dear Dr FlowSyn,

"Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately, we are unable to supply the intermediate you requested in quantities of under 20 kg at this time."

etc, etc

and/or

"We are able to supply this intermediate. As a rough estimate, we could possibly supply 5 kg for $20,000 though this is not a final quote and should not be treated as such. If you think this will suit your needs, please contact us for a detailed estimate. For laboratory scale work, we would suggest a Heck reaction on 1-PG imidazole.

Thank you etc etc"

This reply would have left FlowSyn feeling happy with the service s/he'd received and more likely to go back to them in the future — everyone's a winner.

Offline DrCMS

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2010, 07:08:38 AM »
Quote
Back to my question to you,  if Mr X had said yes we can supply that intermediate and cost will be ~ $10k depending on the amount you wanted would you have been able to sign off on that kind of expenditure?

That is not the issue. The professional response to a customer enquiry is to supply a quote for the services

No it is very much the issue because to provide an accurate quote takes time.  You need to get raw material prices and lead times.  Based on those lead times you need to schedule the work and make sure it does not clash with other work.  Once you've done that you can send the customer the quote with expected delivery.  That process takes time and effort and therefore costs your company money for you to do it.  If having done that the reply is "I can't pay that much I thought it would be the same kind of price Aldrich charges" you've wasted time and money.


"We are able to supply this intermediate. As a rough estimate, we could possibly supply 5 kg for $20,000 though this is not a final quote and should not be treated as such. If you think this will suit your needs, please contact us for a detailed estimate. For laboratory scale work, we would suggest a Heck reaction on 1-PG imidazole.

Thank you etc etc"

This reply would have left FlowSyn feeling happy with the service s/he'd received and more likely to go back to them in the future — everyone's a winner.

Yes that would have been a much better reply and that would probably have been my responce to an academic request for custom synthesis.  I do not want to be rude to customers but some people have very unrealistic expectations about the time and costs associated with this kind of work.  Its best to weed them out as soon as possible so you can put the effort into genuine enquires that will lead to purchase orders and future business.

Offline Doc Oc

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Re: worst chemical quote ever
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2010, 08:05:48 AM »
DrCMS, you do realize that all the stuff you said would have been a perfectly acceptable and polite response.  Instead the guy acted like a jackass and looked like a moron assuming someone was a student when they weren't.

If time is short and you don't want to get into an e-mail war, just tell someone that you don't have the material and can't provide it.  That's enough to end the conversation.

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