As you may have guessed, my job has certain advantages - lots of travel, building cool stuff together with lax working hours and bosses who want to be down the pub just as much as you do. However, recently things have been pretty crap. See, in the next month or so, my group here at the university is upping sticks to a brand new building 8 miles down the road.
This itself isn't the problem, after all it means brand new offices, loads of space and spanking new top-of-the-range equipment. And we have absolutely wodges of cash to splurge. Unfortunately, having to buy lots of expensive equipment comes with a catch - firstly, cos we're a university we have a very assinine procurement procedure involving multiple quotes, and secondly we need to meet with sales reps.
The multiple quotes proviso means that I have to spend hours pouring over datsheets and specifications trying to decipher bizarre standards to try and work out which product is the best. And of course, companies don't use a standard method of specifying the capabilities of their instruments and try to swamp out the bad stuff with the best. So after trying to work what each piece of equipment is capable of, you realise that you're never comparing like-with-like so a direct comparison is impossible.
Then you have to meet a sales rep because the equipment is pricey meaning that the commission is juicy so they really puch their product. So then you have sit there whilst they wax lyrical about how their offering is much better and that the other companies' are lying to in their specs and so on. So you're drowning in BS trying to cut your way through all the sales jargon to make sure you're not being taken for a ride.
And even if you say that you're thinking about going for another company, then they start doing that sort of desperate pleading where they offer to reduce the price to a 'competitive' rate. This only lengthens the process since we are pretty much obliged to take the cheapest product, which means we then need to go back to our preferred supplier and tell them that company X has knocked off 10%. And you just go round in circles.
Anyway, rant over.
I was at a bar/club last night and they played a random Spin Doctors (hey - look, they've reformed) track - Shinbone Alley from their Pocket of Kryptonite album, one of the first I ever bought. In fact it shows its age by the fact that I bought it on tape! I'd forgotten that they were a pretty funky band and since I left all my tapes at home, it's time to do a bit of searching.