Thursday, August 15, 2013

Compound-backed loans? NMR tube-backed loans?

From the Wall Street Journal, an interesting report of handbag-backed loans:
HONG KONG—When 30-year-old homemaker Maggie Wong is tight on cash, all she needs to do is reach for her designer purse—and then hand it over to a loan officer.  
Say hello to the handbag-backed loan. While typical lenders often ask for cars and homes as collateral, Hong Kong's Yes Lady Finance Co. deals in borrowers' beloved handbags. The four-year-old company accepts purses on the spot, bringing in assessors from affiliate Milan Station Holdings Ltd., a chain for luxury secondhand purses, to check the bags' condition and authenticity. 
Yes Lady provides a loan within half an hour at 80% of the bag's value—as long as it is from Gucci, Chanel, Hermès or Louis Vuitton. Occasionally, a Prada purse will do the trick. 
Secondhand classic purses and special-edition handbags often retain much of their retail prices.
A customer gets her bag back by repaying the loan at 4% monthly interest within four months. Yes Lady says almost all its clients quickly pay off their loans and reclaim their bags. 
The company recently lent about US$20,600 in exchange for a Hermès Birkin bag, but Yes Lady's purse-backed loans start at about US$200.
This is basically a pawn shop that specializes in purses -- they're offering a 48% APR for loans of a handbag.  (Twice as much, one notes, as a credit card in the US.) Knowing how some people treasure their handbags (just like others might treasure a pair of boots or an especially beloved multitool), it makes a lot of sense to me, especially since Milan Station and Yes Lady have probably worked out a deal to take possession of the purses if the loan is not repaid.

Is there something as valuable and fungible to a chemist as a purse is to a Yes Lady customer? I dunno. Can't imagine a marshal coming to chain up one's NMR or HPLC. "See here, mister, you're gonna hand over all the drafts of your thesis -- and then you're gonna pay me back..." 

9 comments:

  1. If you or anyone you know has a secret stash in their lab of _______________, then the answer to your question is yes.

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  2. I would just take the KNF teflon pump from their rotavap, it even has a handle to carry, and is worth a grand even as used one (a new one goes for 2.5 to 3k). Welsh crappy pumps they can keep themselves

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    1. In grad school, I replaced our aspirator with a KNF pump. I was amazed at the new range of solvents I could pull off my reactions.

      Still, every time I turned it on, I had to sing in my head, "KNF is going to rock you: entrance approved"

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXEOESuiYcA

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    2. I know this is off-topic, but any idea how they compare to a Buchi diaphragm pump (V700: http://www.buchi.com/diaphragm-vacuum-pump.4697.0.html)?

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    3. I love Buchi rotovaps (the most basic model model without a vacuum/auto lift controller, with dry ice cold finger). But I had to service Buchi diaphragm pumps in my job about 8 years ago and they were absolutely awful - they overheated and auto-shut down because of the overheating sensor all the time. Also they had a control cable connecting them to the vacuum controller on the rotovap - the thin control-cable connection was flimsy and tent to shake off and lose connection by vibration, which caused the pump to cut off without warning. I do not have any more recent information about their pumps - maybe they improved - but I would heartily recommend KNF pump, KNF-Nueberger pumps, or Thermo-Fisher MaximaDry pumps which are actually KNF-licensed US-built version of the same. (Sometimes Fisher sales reps can give far better additional discounts for Fisher brand stuff than for the foreign brands - ask him/her for a written quote on the KNF and Fisher-brand pumps that have the same specs, and see what they come up with)

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    4. Disapproving headnodAugust 16, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      If Welsh = Welch-Gardner-Denver, then I am in total agreement. The people that work there are also very incompetent and customer service is one of the more aggravating experiences you'll have. If you're able to actually get someone on the phone, you will wish you hadn't in a short amount of time.

      On the other hand, KNF pumps are great and so is their customer/technical support.

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    5. Thanks for the extremely useful information. Unfortunately I don't have much to compare it to, but on a good day it'll get down to 13-15 mbar when something is already pretty dry. The membranes sometimes stick together and will come undone with some acetone, but so far I haven't had to replace it yet.

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    6. Welsh = Welsch-Gardner-Denver, formerly Welsh-Rietshle and they do blow ass. Their direct drive oil pumps have shitty bearings and leak oil, the teflon pumps always break down after few months of use, etc. The only thing i would ever buy from them is the old-fashioned belt driven oil pump; the design is very much from Victorian era and they are unwieldy and heavy as a pig, but rugged

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  3. "This is basically a pawn shop that specializes in purses -- they're offering a 48% APR for loans of a handbag."

    Depending on the place, though, it may be substantially less than the fee on a payday loan (whatever they call them to evade the usury laws and other laws in states like OH) - at one point, the effective APR on such loans was >300%. However, credit cards and payday loans are unsecured, while these loans are secured with property worth more than the loan value, so that probably is steep.

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