Terms of Sale / Use
CR Scientific
FAQ / Questions and Answers

For "How to Order", please see Order Info

I. Ordering, Payment, & Delivery questions

CHECKS (CHEQUES) - Do you accept them?
CREDIT CARDS - My credit card is good, but it won't work
CREDIT CARDS - Do you accept Visa / MC over the phone?
CREDIT CARDS - Why is there a $50 minimum for Amex phone orders?
FAX NUMBER - What's your FAX number?
MISSING PARTS - missing rod from my support stand?
PHONE - what happened to your phone line?
RETURNS - Will you pay return shipping?
W9- Why can't you just use email to send W-9's?

II. Lab Products, Availability, & Uses

Do you sell larger containers of Hardman epoxy?
Can you answer my questions about adhesives?
How do I use the Brownlee Electrolysis Apparatus?
How do I distill water?
How do I make a sand bath?
Are your stoppers OK for analytical work? How about winemaking?
Can you run a lab test to see if a product will suit my application?
Can you fabricate a special product you don't normally sell?
Can you tell me where to get a product you don't sell?
Where can I buy a particular chemical?

III.  Mineral Specimen
Do you have any pitchblende?
Wholesale Minerals - Do you sell them?

IV. Miscellaneous

EMAIL - Why didn't you respond?
EMAIL- I asked you a technical / science question. Why didn't you answer?
FACEBOOK - Why didn't you respond to my invitation?
Why won't other companies sell in small lots?
Can you direct me to literature that supports one of your articles?
What if my question isn't answered here?

Ordering & Payment questions

Q:  I tried placing an order with a known-good credit card. Why won't it work?

A:  If your card is a debit or check-card (even if it has a credit card logo on it) this may be the cause of the problem.  It is our understanding that address verification systems sometimes reject debit cards, even when the card is good. 

Please note that this issue seems to be intermittent; you might use the card on-line 10 times with no problem, and the 11th time it might not work.  It appears this can happen with any site that accepts on-line payments, even the US government.

There is, however, a possible work-around.  If you tried making the payment via Google Checkout and it rejects your card, try using Paypal instead.  If all else fails and you don't have another card to try, we can of course accept money orders through the mail.

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Q:  What's your FAX number?

A:  We no longer have a fax line.  Too expensive.  Please email purchase orders to us.  Contact info available here.

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Q:  Why won't you use email to send W9's?

A:  Sending any signature-bearing document by email is a serious security risk.  Email can be intercepted easily by third parties.   You would never know that it happened until it was too late to do anything about it.

Once an identity thief has your signature, they can easily forge any number of documents in your name.  Although many people are not aware of this risk, that does not diminish the fact that email is a bad way to transmit these kinds of documents.   If your I.T. department is not aware of this risk, they should be.

We mail all W-9's by regular mail.  If your PO's bear a signature or other sensitive data, you might want to consider mailing them to us instead of emailing them.

If your IT department can set you up with GNUPG (, we can send the W9 via email using PGP encryption.  To encrypt the document for you, we will need your public key (a block of code that can be copied and pasted into an email).

Just because it seems that "everyone" sends important documents without encryption, that doesn't change the fact that it is dangerous.  There are also starting to be laws and regulations that mandate responsible data handling.  In some jurisdictions it is already illegal to send cleartext documents that contain signatures, etc. 

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Q:  Do you accept payment by Check (Cheque)?

A:  Yes.  However, please be advised that checks take ten to twelve business days to clear.  Your merchandise cannot ship until that time. 

Even though the banking systems are computerized now, they deliberately take their time so they can collect interest on the float (as well as fees if the recipient spends the money and then the check bounces).  A check "should" take only a few moments to clear, but even in 2013 it takes about two actual weeks.  

If you want to place a mail order and want your goods to ship sooner, please pay via USPS Money Order or certified Cashiers Check.

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Q:  Do you accept Visa or MasterCard over the phone?

A:  Yes, we now accept all four major credit cards by phone.  We will gladly take phone orders if your merchandise total is $50 or more.  For smaller orders, please use our website.

Please email us with your phone # and the best time to call you.

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Q:  Why have you stopped accepting American Express for under-$50 phone orders?

A:   Our minimum credit card phone order is $50.    It's not only the fees associated with Amex, but also the more time-consuming paperwork that we have to do with phone orders (e.g., manually typing up receipt / invoice).   Internet orders already provide us with all the information we need to fill an order, as well as an invoice / receipt for the customer.  We appreciate your understanding.

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Q: What happened to your phone line?

A:  Most of our correspondence was already by email.  Furthermore, we were receiving such a high volume of telemarketing calls and unintelligible messages that it just didn't seem to make sense anymore.  The expensive land line was just cutting into resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Have a question?  Please email us.  We can still process phone orders;  simply email with your company name and contact info.

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Q: How Do I Place a Purchase Order?
(And, is there anything special I should know about P.O.'s?)

A: There are a few simple requirements on purchase orders:

1.)  It is our company policy to reject "Terms of Purchase" that run contrary to our own Terms of Sale / Terms of Use. Thus, if your company's purchase order attaches terms that attempt to bind sellers into indemnity clauses (etc)., please be advised that this can delay your order until we get a signed waiver of these terms.
We will require a signed waiver of such terms, signed by someone in your company who is authorized to make that decision. Otherwise, we cannot fill such orders.
CR Scientific LLC does not in any way agree to terms which attempt to bind us into obligations above and beyond refund of purchase price of goods, or other stipulations not directly required by statute. Our having filled an order shall in no circumstance signify acceptance of such terms, even if we do not have a written agreement from you on file.

2.)  Minimum Purchase Order amount is $100 net.

3.)  We can receive PO's via email if that is convenient for you. We can handle PDF, JPG, TIFF, and Excel / Word 97 or 2000 format.

4.)  Please make sure any W-9 requirement is mentioned ahead of time.  Please note that bills for merchandise are not subject to backup withholding.  We will furnish a W-9 if asked;  however, lack of a W-9 entry in your system shall not be considered sufficient reason for non-payment of invoices.
Please see also this FAQ entry ("Why do you use regular mail for W-9's?")

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Products, Availability, and Use questions

Q:  Do you sell larger containers of epoxy?

  No; we sell only the single-use packets and the cartons of single-use packets.

We have been unable to obtain larger-sized containers of any of the epoxy types. The company that manufactures Hardman adhesives does not appear to be interested in making larger containers available, except on special orders of very large size (i.e., multiple pallets).

We continue to sell the Hardman products for the benefit of our existing customers.

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Q:  Can you answer my questions about adhesives?

A: If they pertain to products we currently sell, then yes.

We're sorry, but we do not have the time or resources to answer questions about products we don't sell.

The company that manufactures Hardman has given us no support and does not seem interested in expanding their sales, despite our repeated attempts.

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Q:  How do I use a specific product?

Q:  How do I use the Brownlee Electrolysis Apparatus?
Q:  How do I distill water?
Q:  How do I make a sand bath?

A:  Although some of our articles contain usage information to add some interest to the web site, you are responsible for knowing the basics of how to use a particular item properly.

It is entirely your responsibility to know, at the very least, how to use the item in such a way as to avoid any and all harm to yourself, other persons, property, or any combination of these.   This includes proper setup and/or disassembly of an apparatus.

We're sorry, but we cannot provide individualized usage instructions.

We do have plenty of interesting reading in our articles section.

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Q:  Are your stoppers OK for analytical work? How about for wine making?

A:  The black and the blue stoppers are probably not suitable for either purpose. They are economy / student grade stoppers.

The black variety have some kind of conditioner or oily residue on / in them; it seems likely this will end up in any liquid that contacts them, especially at elevated temperatures (e.g., distillation).

The blue variety are not noticeably oily, but they almost always arrive dirty from the factory.  We clean the stoppers when time permits, but normally we don't have time to do this.  That is why they are economy stoppers.

We are working on adding food-grade stoppers to our line, since we get requests for wine-making stoppers from time to time. We do not know when this will be; at such time they become available, we will add them to the web site.

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Q: Why don't you carry Whatman brand filter papers?

A: Their company representative told us we had to buy a minimum of $50,000 worth of Whatman products each year in order to become a distributor.

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Q:  Can you run a lab test for me to tell me whether a product will work for my purpose?

A:  We're sorry, but we don't have time to do this.

If we have already tested something in a particular way, we will say so.
If we have not yet tested it, it is unlikely we will have time to do so.

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Q:  Can you fabricate for me a special product that you don't normally sell?

A:  We're sorry, but we don't do custom work.

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Q:  I'm looking for an item that you don't carry and aren't able to get.  Can you tell me where else I might be able to find it?

A:  Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to devote to giving advice on products that we don't sell.

We're sorry, but we can answer questions only about products that we sell; we also cannot teach you how to use a product.

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Q:  Do you sell pitchblende?  Do you know where I can get it?

A:  No. We do not normally have pitchblende, since we focus primarily on displayable minerals.

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Q:  Do you sell (or can you tell me where I can obtain) a particular chemical?

A:  We're sorry, but no.  Though our website has free chemistry articles for science teachers and the like, we can offer no additional information on where to get chemicals. You might try a web search, look on Ebay, and/or become a member of one of the science discussion boards on the Internet. All such ventures, of course, are at your own risk.

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Miscellaneous questions

Q:   Why didn't you respond to my email?

(Also:  "Why won't you respond to my Facebook request?")

A:  It may be something that's already covered in this FAQ.

If you sent us a message from a Gmail address, please read

If you sent a Facebook request, we are flattered, but we don't currently plan to use Facebook.  It has many of the same problems that Gmail has, and then some.  Sometimes, new technology is not in your best interest, even though it is marketed as friendly and helpful.  We believe Facebook is one such technology.   The amount and type of data collected is unprecedented.  It can be used in ways you may never have considered.  

The fact that such data is made available to third parties, most of whom remain undisclosed, is reason enough to avoid these services.

The data warehoused by Facebook and Gmail tend to increase the risk of identity theft in ways never before possible.    This is unacceptable in and of itself.  Consider also the incompetence factor.   First, big companies do not attach the same significance to your data that you might.   That means they're not going to be too helpful when all your detailed information gets leaked, perhaps by way of a stolen laptop.

Second, the Justice Department has in the past reported that as many as 8% of incarcerated people are innocent of the reason they were put there.  Even one or two percent would be too many, but eight percent is staggering.   Given that track record, and the fact that profile-building algorithms are programmed and administered by fallible human beings, powerful data mining tools should be viewed with some reservation.    Beyond some level of bureaucracy, which seems to have been crossed already, it becomes impossible to fix incorrect data in a system.  To borrow from a much milder analogy, it's like trying to fix a virus in Windows without disabling System Restore.    After you do all that work, the problem is still there.  

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Q:  I emailed with a technical question / comment regarding one of your articles. Why wasn't it answered?

A: We're sorry, but we do not have the time to answer each and every technical question. 

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Q:  Why won't the bigger companies sell small lots, like you do?

A:  We cannot speak for them, but from experience we have learned that it's not profitable to deal in small lots of low-priced items.  Nevertheless, we continue to do it for the satisfaction of our customers in the hope they'll want to order other things, too. 

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Q:  I'm a university student. Can you tell me more about something you've said in one of your articles / experimental write-ups?

Please see the heading, "I emailed you a technical / science question. Why didn't you answer?"

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Q:  What if my question isn't answered here?

A:  It may already be answered on our order info page. We will also update this FAQ page with more questions and answers in the future.

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Q:  My support stand arrived without the upright rod.  What are you going to do to fix it?

A:  We learned early on that these upright rods were the most popular item on which to make false claims of non-delivery. Even to this day, we are still not sure why.

We have had to become pro-active in addressing this issue. We do this in two ways:

1.) We pay very careful attention to the packing of every support stand, making sure there is exactly one rod for every base. Occasionally, we even photograph the packing of the order.

2.) We normally reinforce the areas of the box with which the rods come in contact.  The chance of a rod breaking through the box during shipping is even slimmer now.

We are quite certain when we put the rods in the boxes, which is every time. That certainty will be the basis for all our further comment and activity with regard to a "missing parts" claim.

While this may seem inflexible, we have been left with no choice. We cannot continue to take losses because some people think it's fun, cute, or convenient to steal.

We will not soft-pedal on this issue.

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Q: Will you pay return shipping on item(s) I'm sending back?

A:  Although we're glad to accept returns on most items, return shipping is the customer's responsibility.

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Q:  Do you sell wholesale lots of minerals? 
What about fluorescent minerals?

A:  Occasionally we do offer flats or groups of minerals, priced at what would probably be a wholesale price. 

Aside from that, we don't generally wholesale minerals.

There are two reasons.  First, time doesn't permit us to make specimens available continuously.  There are other tasks that become more pressing from time to time.   We may unwrap and assemble a batch of nice specimens and send them off, but follow-up specimens might not be available for months.  It's not that we don't have minerals to sell.  It's that we have so many other tasks that need attention.

Second, and more important:  buyers have asked for wholesale minerals that have been individually pre-selected, measured, labeled, and photographed.   We then have to weigh each specimen and calculate the shipping.

We already have to do all that when we sell minerals individually.  If we're going to incur all that time-cost, we'll just sell the minerals through our web site.

The traditional idea of wholesale minerals is that we pick out specimens, then we offer them at a price which in our estimation allows reasonable  markup.    Depending on the wholesale price, it could just be a poundage-based lot with minimal selectivity (e.g., "these contain fluorescent wollastonite from locality XYZ").   For the buyer, this is a sight-unseen arrangement, or perhaps a "lump them all together and take one daylight photo". 

The mail-order wholesale buyer relies on our knowledge and our discretion.  There is a trust issue there, obviously, but if we want someone's repeat business, it stands to reason that we're going to be fair.

The problem is that many would-be wholesale buyers want wholesale prices with all the frills of retail.  We already sell many fine specimens at below-retail on our website, photographed and all.  We can't sell for less and still supply photographs, nor even detailed written descriptions of each specimen.

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Q:  Why didn't you respond to my Facebook invitation?

A:  We're quite flattered to be invited to Facebook.  For the time being, though, we're probably not going to use Facebook.  Here are two reasons (see also above).

1.)  Time:   maintaining this website and running the office leave no room for the "Facebook addiction", unfortunately. 

2.)  Spam:   Facebook opens up a whole new dimension of personal data harvesting.  It paves the way for increasingly invasive forms of advertising.  Have you ever seen Minority Report?  That kind of society doesn't just fall out the sky on a person;  it takes decades and decades to build.  It is quite clear that we're on that kind of track, and Facebook is one important step toward such a world.   Just because everyone is doing something, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it.

Your data, once harvested, becomes practically immortal.  Big companies have so many employees that it's impossible to guarantee it won't fall into the hands of ID thieves and other criminals.  The bigger the company, the less real incentive they have to protect your data.

If you want to know whether massive data-harvesting is really a good idea, don't bother watching what the average person is doing.  Watch what the CEO's of the data-harvesting corporations are doing.  For example, while data-aggreggation services are making sure anyone can find out anything about you (regardless of whether it's true or false), their CEO's are carefully scrubbing their own information from the databases.   

Furthermore, some old comments were recently aired from the CEO of Facebook.  We suggest you go out on the Net and find them.   Type "Facebook", "CEO", "instant messages", and "controversy" into your favorite search engine.  Or, if you like, just type "Facebook CEO" and "thinks you're an idiot".

It would be nice to have a popular social networking site that isn't "compromised" by data harvesters, but that's probably not going to happen.

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