Author Topic: "What is this chemical used for?"  (Read 5234 times)

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  • Guest
"What is this chemical used for?"
« on: November 22, 2002, 11:51:00 PM »
I notice that people are always asking what excuse they can use for buying toluene, DCM, PdCl2 etc etc in this and every other forum. Why do people need an excuse? Are photo-chem suppliers or hardware store clerks in the US actually asking people what they are going to use the chemicals for? I've never experienced anything like that here in my part of the world - it's none of their business, if a customer asks for toluene, then they either go get a bottle, or they say "I'm sorry, but we don't carry that - perhaps you are interested in (xylene/naphta/whatever) instead?"

...or are the people here just unsure of themselves, so that they feel the need of having an excuse to be confident enough to go down to the store and ask?


  • Guest
over here
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2002, 12:11:00 AM »
In my part of the world, they don't give a damn about what you ask. No questions as long as you show shiny pennies.
When I was like 14, I bought some organic chems as absolute alcohol at the local pharmacy. He sometimes asked what I was going to use it for, but that was more out of curiosity (the whole local comunity knew I liked to play with organic substances). Many years later, I can still go to stores and buy chems and no questions asked. 5 L or 20 L hydrochloric acid. Who cares? I pay, they sell. This place of the world even counts a couple of places where you can buy good quality sassafras oil. And I can guarantee you the shop owners have no idea what it can be used for. On the other hand, I have to admit that my place of the world is a little bit known for these circumstances.
...or are the people here just unsure of themselves, so that they feel the need of having an excuse to be confident enough to go down to the store and ask?
I think that must be it.

Ave Hive, synthetisandi te salutant!


  • Guest
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2002, 02:30:00 AM »
you've never had anyone ask you what youre using stuff for?

i get employees asking me all the time what im using stuff for i always just figured they were trying to be friendly or are just curius. like its just part of there job to make conversation.

but when i order iodine over the internet i never get asked end use. i usually ask the guy to label it as "photo processing material" cuz the border police are snoopy mofos.


  • Guest
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2002, 02:46:00 AM »
I think it's more wise to go into an acquisition with as much knoledge as possible, in the event someone does pop the question..

I've been asked what I needed certain things for.. simple things too, like sulferic acid and KOH. I think the question may have been asked for my appearance is young. Just turned 18, 2 months ago! Imagine a 17 year old kid askin for sulferic acid and some KOH, in person. If you worked there you'd probably ask too, just out of sheer curiosity.


  • Guest
times are changing
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2002, 02:56:00 AM »

times are changing and not to the better one. As I was 13 years old I went in the pharmacy and got me half a kilo of carbide. The answer: "it´s for my dad´s old motorcycle lamp" was sufficient. The poor fishes....
Now the question for formaldehyde 40% brings the man near to a nerveous breakdown - also I wanted it for a legal business. And the EU will bring this to all europeans sooner or later. There will be always backdoors but its getting harder. If you look at all the new household chemicals made after EU preregulations you´ll see that soon no poisoned chemicals will be left OTC.

And yes, I´ve always been asked in pharmacies with suspicion, in professional business only for true advisement. And it´s probably not on my lookout as I never got controlled on any border.


now or never


  • Guest
Swims a US bee, and there is no 'meth epidemic' ...
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2002, 03:35:00 AM »
Swims a US bee, and there is no 'meth epidemic' anywhere near his town, last time he went to a paint supply to get some toluene, he got the third degree- even after he had already told the guy that he was in the process of running errands for his lazy assed uncle who happened to bee the one who needed the tol.  When asked, swim said 'I dont know what the hell he wants it for...for painting would bee my guess'.  Then the guy asks swim whats the company name etc...  You never know, a good boyscout does his homework- bee prepared!

Im not the bearded man upstairs, Im a bald guy with a healthy penis. So open yer pie-hole!


  • Guest
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2002, 03:56:00 AM »
I doubt the clerk thought you were going to use it as a non polar solvent to disolve freebase in.. probably thought you were a "huffer"  ;D


  • Guest
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2002, 04:21:00 AM »
shit...that didnt even cross my mind

Im not the bearded man upstairs, Im a bald guy with a healthy penis. So open yer pie-hole!


  • Guest
Call it luck
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2002, 07:11:00 AM »
but swim has only been asked once what swims end use would be. Swim has been called asking about such things as did you know this item is hazardous and we (the chem supplier) will need to charge you a hazardous material handling fee. Always bee prepared. The answer is "yes I know it is hazardous but was under the impression that a hazardous shipping fee was included in price.
No problem though how much more to the price are we talking about."
Just stay kewl remember you field these type calls all the time.
The hardest one came on a call back from an essential oil supplier about 3 years ago because swim had ordered such a large amount. Swim answered phone with "good morning ************* may I help you."
Yes this  is ********* at ******* we recieved an order for X amount of oil did you know that this item is on the DEA watch list?
Swim "What list again?"
Them "the DEA list?"
Swim " Why is there a problem with my order?"
Them "We just need to know what reason you have for buying that particular item"
Swim " I am owner operator of a candle shop and am planning on using this oil in scented candles but if its a problem you can cancel the order"
Swim "is there still a problem?"
Them " OH no we will ship your order this afternoon"
If they ever did anything with that info Swim does not know but swim has tried to keep out of the Watchers eyes since that day and has not had to order that particular olefin again.

"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." Satchel Paige


  • Guest
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2002, 08:44:00 AM »
Did you actually have to ask the clerk i order to get the Tolly? My line of reasoning is that if you cant find the stuff yourself, then at least ask where 'paint strippers' are. I mean, how many people come in and know that they need toluene exactly, and dont look like a construction worker or roofer at the same time?
Or did he ask you at the checkout?


  • Guest
Now that swim thinks about it, he's only been ...
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2002, 09:08:00 AM »
Now that swim thinks about it, he's only been asked once what the tolly was going to be used for. It definitely makes me more confident to in fact know what a chemical is used for, and the excuse of what I am supposedly going to do with it.

After all, it would look bad to be asked what you were using tolly for... and you didn't have an answer other than "uuhhh..." Of course the bee doing any purchasing should in fact know what a chemical is used for, versus ordering a chemical they just heard of last night.

Buying pseudo is the scariest aquisition for me. After all, there's only a few uses for cold medicine, one of which has been highly publicized..


  • Guest
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2002, 01:27:00 PM »
I´ve actually been asked what I would do with the 25 L toluene I bought at the paintstore.

Clerk: -What do you use this for?
Me: -I use it to clean my anal cavity, it´s really dirty you know. Why?
Clerk: -There is no need to be rude.
Me: -There is no need to be nosy.

I´ve never been asked again.

Catalytic hydrogenation freak


  • Guest
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2002, 11:13:00 PM »

Me: -I use it to clean my anal cavity, it´s really dirty you know. Why?
Clerk: -There is no need to be rude.

Ohhh damn. That just made SWIM's day.

SWIM has only been asked what his purposes were on a couple of occaisions.  One was while getting a tank filled with Argon at a local welding supply place.  "So... Whatchya doin with the this here Argon?" SWIM: "Gettin into a bit of welding, actually." (SWIM didn't know shit about welding) "Ahhhh, you going to do some MIG welding?" SWIM: "Yea, some MIG welding!" at that point the clerk laughed, "Hahaha! I sure am glad you didn't say TIG welding! I'd have told you you'd better hit the books some more! Phew"

Moral of the story there- Let the clerk do the talking, as he was only being friendly...

Another time, SWIM was picking up a 5 gal drum of acetone from a local chem supplier. This was for legit reasons, for a company SWIM was working for. They had SWIM sign some DEA shit. SWIM's comment, "You know, we used to just pick this up fromt he hardware store by the gallon, but that was getting to be inconvienent. What's all this about?" The clerk responds, "I know, it's these crazy meth-heads got the government all worked up. Making it a pain in the ass for us all, eh?" myself, "I hear that. Damn those druggies!"

Now the other, more serious incident came when SWIM ordered some Sodium Azide.. SWIM heard back from the company, requesting a signed statement of intent for law enforecment purposes before the product could be shipped. SWIM explained that NaN3 was further down SWIM's list on possible route to a particular compound, and if it was going to be that much trouble SWIM would get back to them later if he really needed it.  They said no problem, and by the way here's this nice link about just how poisonous NaN3 is. SWIM checked it out, and did in fact learn something... Then found another source for NaN3. SWIM thinks the concern was more based around explosive/poisonous issues though.



  • Guest
The way they make it sound
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2002, 04:04:00 PM »
it seems impossible to buy chems in the US. I actually just moved in here, from a much less restrictive environment. I come from a family who thinks my hobbies are amusing, and are in a position to pick up most of whatever I needed. Now in the US (why did I do this to myself?) and bored out of my mind, I live in an area that won't even sell me vermiculite. Before being here, I heard all sorts of horror stories (eg, cars taking your license plate number as you leave and stuff) about how hard it was. So I figure, it doesn't hurt to take precautions.
But the clerk at the store where I was buying sassy oil did ask me to remove the sassafras from her basement, but gave the kid before me this huge anti drug lecture while he bought some herbs or something. I didn't laugh until I got to my car.


  • Guest
I've noticed the increasing questions about what ...
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2002, 04:40:00 PM »
I've noticed the increasing questions about what I'm using toluene for in the last few months. I've never had these questions asked of me before and they happen at nearly every purchase now. Some of the clerks look at me as if I'm up to no good when I ask if they carry it. Of course I use in in wood finishing and can't stand the smell of xylene which is about all that is left in my nearby states anymore. Toluene has suddenly been disappearing from shelves everywhere. Im just an average whitebread looking person. I've been told by several people that I have a 'copish' look like an undercover agent. So, I see no reason why I should look like a huffer. I think the DEA has been notifying paint stores not to carry toluene or to be suspicious of buyers. I hope to got it doesn't get scheduled to the 1 gallon size.


  • Guest
The questions
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2002, 02:36:00 AM »
are mostly related to the fact some of these items can be used to produce explosives. The Government is watchdogging these items more closely since 9/11.
That alone is a good reason not to bring up fireworks manufacturing hobbies or hobby rocket motors. Just look for benign uses of these chems and expect the questions to come.

"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." Satchel Paige


  • Guest
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2002, 03:42:00 AM »
what i usually do to keep the realationship cival and casual is say what i use the stuff for to never arose suspision any way even if they dont ask.

and that is i use toluene to octaine fuel


i cook to save the planet!!


  • Guest
They think they are missing something.
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2002, 05:28:00 AM »

It is wise to have some knowledge, of other possible purposes for the substance being purchased. Just in case small talk needs to be fabricated.
 Not arousing suspicion is good, but erasing suspicion, should the oppurtunity arise, is better.
 Swim  freaked out a aquarium store clerk, for buying several pints of formalin. The clerk asked 3 times why Swim bought that much. It was on clearence for $2US each! couldn't resist, just in case. Told the clerk it was for a real big pond. Probably thought swim was going embalm someone. ;D

Iä-R'lyeh! Cthulhu fhtagn! Iä Iä!


  • Guest
Why ask for the chem?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2002, 11:53:00 AM »
SWIM has found that what works really well is saying something like, I have got paint and oil on my driveway, how do I get it off, then listen to their crap for a while then buy the HCL, if they recommended it they have no doubts in their minds that thats what you are using it for. Also when you go back next time, tell them it worked great, let them show off their knowledge, let them suggest it, and then thank them....

Worked for SWIM


Buy the ticket, take the ride.


  • Guest
no questions no answers
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2002, 12:56:00 PM »
On the east coast of the United States methamphetamine is the word. Some places like walfart only allow 1 container of acetone to be purchased whether it is a pint size or a gallon size container. It's the same with cold medicines, 3 boxes no matter what the count is 12, 24, or 96 count.
However some clerks will sell it to you by ringing up a second ticket and some of the same clerks don't even know why their is a limit,cause they will even say so.
I've never been asked any questions but i'm prepared if they do.

I'M Already Mad At The World,
    So Don't Piss Me Off...