One of the comments to my brief post earlier today brought back some memories. Back in graduate school, we were a comparatively well-off group. That is, we graduate students lived off grant money after our first year - no more teaching assistant duties. Compared to some of the other professors, whose students were TAing in their fourth years and beyond, this was luxury.
But luxury went only so far. We still had to watch our expenditures in the lab, and ordering of reagents and supplies was kept under tight control. We didn't go as far as recycling our wash acetone (well, most of us didn't - see here for what happened to the fellow who did), but If you wanted a fresh bottle of something, you had to justify it: what's wrong with the one we've got, heh?
I was pushing a big pile of material through the early stages of a long synthesis, so I (and the people like me) needed larger amounts of things. I remember getting in a fresh 800 mL bottle of borane/THF, of which I was going to use about 700 mL in one big ol' hydroboration reaction. Ready to go! Got my starting material on the pump, got my freshly distilled solvent, got my untouched bottle of. . .wait a minute. That's not on the shelf where I left it. And it's. . .it's. . .
What it was, was about half empty. Yes, one day in the lab was all it took for my pristine stockpile of borane to be raided. To add that extra emotional touch, when I unscrewed the cap and looked at the seal, the person who'd pirated the stuff had apparently used something the size of a knitting needle to remove it. The "Sure-Seal" was surely hollowed out, to the point that I could see the borane solution sloshing down there in the distance.
I didn't take it well - it was grad school, so I didn't anything too well. I went stomping through the labs, beard bristling out, hands making involuntary strangling motions in the air, asking who, just who, had helped themselves to half a liter of borane/THF in the last day? Eh? Well, as you'd guess, no one had. Nope, nobody at all had used that there borane, no-sir-ree, didn't even know it was there. Some of my colleagues assured me that they'd never used borane in their lives, and a couple of them seemed surprised to find that there was a chemical with such an odd and catchy name. What you say, boh-rain?
I never did find the culprit. Most of the time, you never do. I gritted my teeth, used some more foul language, ordered another bottle of reagent - and used it right out of the box this time, trailing little flecks of vermiculite packing material behind me.