I have been decanting for a year now, mostly as part of the MUA swap scene, and after Christmas I thought it would be nice to upgrade my 2.5ml size atomisers from all-plastic to those with a glass base and a plastic pump mechanism/top. So I invested in a pack of 50 from the online retailer from whom I have very happily bought most of my previous decanting supplies. Imagine my dismay when the pack arrived and I found I couldn't get the top of the atomiser to fit onto the bottom. Okay, okay, the word "crime" in the context of an ill-fitting bit of plastic is perhaps a little excessive, but I was - and still am - very exercised by this problem.
I immediately fired off a perplexed email to the company's customer services:
"I recently ordered some decant supplies, including 50 x 2.5ml glass atomizers with plastic sprung atomiser tops/closures. I have wrestled with the top and the bottom of several of these today and I don't think they are meant to go together - the plastic ring will not engage with the glass base at all, the way a plastic dipper closure would have done - the sort you shove in, rather than an atomiser top. The 5ml ones I have ordered before are all in plastic and the top screws into the bottom fine. With this mix of glass and plastic, there is no thread for the top to screw into the base, if you follow me.
Please advise, as I cannot get any of these to fit together, though I am familiar with atomizer mechanisms of various kinds."
The company replied promptly to my plea for help:
"You are not the first person to have problems getting the pumps to seat in those -- myself included.
If you look at the 2.5ml Glass Atomizer on the webstore and scroll to the bottom, there are photos and instructions on how to get them to go in. Everyone reports that after they get one seated, they have no more problems. The bright side of this is the tight fit means they are less likely to fit (sic - a Freudian slip? - FS). I would recommend doing one without perfume in it and then wiggling the pump to remove it and repeating this a few times. You should be a pro by that time.
Other than this problem, hope you are having a great day on that side of the pond."
Well, that was a nice, helpful email! And there is indeed a detailed page of instructions on the supplier's website, including close up photos of how the atomiser should look before and after closure. The bottom line is that what is required to make the top fit into the base is SHEER BRUTE FORCE APPLIED BY A HEAVY OBJECT.
I had a go using a variety of heavy objects that came to hand - a fat book, an earthenware mug, a rolling pin - but the one that worked best was that familiar household utensil, a geode! You think that is a strange choice of weapon? Ah, but my dear, late mother used to tenderise steaks with a lump of amethyst, so geological implements clearly run in the family... The geode was unbelievably heavy and the top of the vial did eventually snap in after a few failed attempts - it required extreme force to be applied whilst holding the base perfectly upright on a non-slip surface.
So far, so good, and I informed the company of my progress to date:
"I have managed that now but it was quite hard work, trying a variety of techniques/solid objects to get both the pump and the collar to go down properly. I am apprehensive about doing it with a perfume in the vial at the time, though as you say, with practice it should get better! It does look like a good fit - it is just getting to that point that is a bit of a black art. : - )"
Notwithstanding this successful test run, I could see trouble ahead. For it was all very well ramming the atomiser into an empty vial, but what on earth would happen when there was perfume in said vial? Surely the very action of depressing the atomiser to "set" it in its base would activate the pump and simultaneously deliver perfume - multiple times, if the geode didn't do its masterful business on the first attempt.
Reader, it did deliver perfume, again and again, as I was trying to decant a spot of Cuir de Lancome for Gblue the other day. Within seconds I had been hit in the eye, the neck, the elbow - I was covered in the stuff. And my trusty tool was also impregnated with the scent. This may be the first - and hopefully the last -time anyone in the history of the English language will utter the words: "My geode reeks of Cuir de Lancome".
Should I have first taped up the hole in the nozzle with duct tape before forcing it in the base? But wouldn't the pump have sprayed anyway, and just wetted the inside of the tape? And holding my finger over the hole wouldn't have worked, any more than the little Dutch boy plugging the dyke. Maybe that isn't a good analogy, as he did manage to stem the flow, didn't he, at least for a while?
Can anyone help me? I have about 46 of these things left and urgently require a reliable MO! Tips on removing odour from geodes would not go amiss either.