Yogi Berra, the affable former manager for the New York Yankees, was once quoted as saying, "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore." In spite of his confusion about the value of money, Berra's statement addresses the financial concerns of most professionals, be they athletes or scientists.

Small products like pipette tips, large ones like automated DNA sequencers, and a wide range of equipment in between constitute the tools of the scientific trade. The cost and quality of these products directly affect a scientist's output. Many have experienced the frustration of substituting a cheaper product in an established protocol only to end up losing valuable samples or time and to be left wondering, "What the heck went wrong with the results?" Then there are those who purchase only top-of-the line lab equipment. However, buying the most expensive laboratory products doesn't always ensure success and can quickly shorten the economic life...

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