April 29, 2003


I discovered that I may have committed an ethical no-no today. Around lunch time, the Bio-Rad salesman was doing a product show down the hall, and I (as well as just about everyone else in the building) attended in order to partake in the precious free doughnuts and candy that were being offered. The salesman had this silly RC car composed of an electrophoresis power supply on wheels. He was inviting people to drive the car around the hallway, and was timing us as a kind of contest. The person with the best time won a $300 electrophoresis power supply, and the runners up (including myself) got to select from some other fabulous prizes including a CD boom box and a Weber charcoal grill. When it was all said and done, I was full of doughnuts and the proud owner of a new grill.

However, tonight I got an email from some administrative person at the Institute of Molecular Biology explaining how it is illegal for us (Oregon state employees) to accept "gifts" from companies. At the product show, no one was concerned about being corrupted and becoming puppets of Bio-Rad, but in hindsight, I sort of see the point of not accepting prizes from the corporate "man". What do you folks think about this? Should I throw my grill at the Bio-Rad salesman's head in disgust the next time I see him, or should I cook burgers (mmmmm burger) and gorge myself on beefy goodness with the barbeque device? discuss.


Posted by doug at April 29, 2003 09:10 PM

happy (late) birthday!

screw the man, eat the burgers.

Posted by: michele at April 29, 2003 10:09 PM

i think any ethical transgressions have been more than balanced out by your use of the traditional spelling of "doughnuts." way to fight the good fight.

Posted by: holohan at April 29, 2003 10:11 PM

You must make "doughnuts" using your new "grill". This is the only way to cleanse your soul.

Personally, I don't think the no-gifts policy makes a lot of sense.
First, grad students don't have a hell of a lot of product loyalty. We use what works the best as long as it fits in the grant. If the Fisher man gave me a new Jaguar convertible, and I found out that BioRad made a much better power supply, I'd leave Fisher sobbing at the altar.
Second, the donuts were just as much a gift as the grill was. So if you're considering returning the grill, perhaps you should also open up your septic tank.

Anyway, since there seem to be strict rules regarding larger gifts, you won't be able to get anything cool ever again. So enjoy your hard-won booty!

(PS - happy birthday!)

Posted by: Jacob at April 30, 2003 12:49 AM

I think the real gift here is the term "Bio-Rad." I'm sure it doesn't mean what I hope it means, but that can be fixed.

And Happy Birthday Doug. I think you are totally Bio-Rad.

Posted by: jason at April 30, 2003 05:20 AM

there is a new spelling of "doughnuts"? what the fuck?

Posted by: didofoot at April 30, 2003 02:57 PM


keep up with the times, girl. =)

Posted by: michele at April 30, 2003 03:21 PM

hey, happy birthday! i think there's a BioRad place somewhere around s.f. i could swear i've had a good laugh at that name before.

p.s. donut give up the grill! (sorry)

Posted by: erica at April 30, 2003 06:12 PM

Thanks for all the happy birthdays. After even more pondering, I have come to the conclusion that the U of O molecular biology administrative people are perhaps even more like "the man" than the Bio-Rad salesguy. Jacob is right when he says that grad students have no product loyalty. We are all too preoccupied thinking about experiments and blurting out words like "Phalloidin!" in Prof. Frink-esque voices to remember what biotech company gave us free pens last week. I will keep my grill, and burgers will be enjoyed by all. Thank you Bio-Rad.

Posted by: Doug at April 30, 2003 08:13 PM

And the next time you are driving down I-680 in Solano County, pull off at the Bio-Rad office and have a little corporate cookout for the man in the company parking lot.

Posted by: Bio-Raddest at April 30, 2003 11:35 PM