Purchasing stuff

How to buy stuff and spend money at Penn

Computers & software

Computer and software purchases have to be approved through our LSP (Rich King). It is best to CC Amy on any emails that involve spending money (she specifically asked me to do this).

Office supplies

There are three ways we can make non-computer purchases at Penn:

  1. Through the Penn Marketplace (preferred)

  2. Through Amazon

  3. Penn bookstore

via the Penn Marketplace

The Penn Marketplace is the preferred method for making purchases. The basic steps are to (1) search for what you want in the marketplace, (2) add it to your cart, (3) and then share your cart with Amy Forsyth (the department administrator).

Search the marketplace

You can search the entire marketplace by typing in the search box.

I’ve found this to be a bit difficult though, as it yields lots of irrelevant things. It’s easier to click on an individual supplier and search within those. The supplier we use the most is Telrose, an office supply company.

Adding items to your cart

When you click on Telerose, you will open a Penn Marketplace Punchout window. Within Telrose, you can search by keyword or browse for the item you are looking for. When you find it, you click the Add to cart button. Your cart will show the number of items in your

When you’ve finished shopping, click on your cart and click the Checkout button.

This will take you back to the Penn Marketplace. You’ll see that everything in your Telerose shopping cart is now available in your Penn Marketplace cart.

To make the purchase, click the Assign Cart button. This will open a new window. Click Search for an assignee to search for Amy Forsyth’s name. You’ll select Amy, and then click the Assign button.

via Amazon

If something you need is not available through the Penn Marketplace, or you feel the difference in price between the Marketplace and Amazon is significant, we are allowed to make purchases through Amazon. We are also always allowed to purchase books from Amazon.

To make purchases this way, Amy asked that I create a wishlist called Schuler - Linguistics and share the wishlist with her via email. The email should also let Amy know what account to charge (a specific grant or startup, for example).

via the Penn Bookstore

This is an old fashioned system, but very easy and works great. You send Amy an email with the approximate amount you’d like to spend at the bookstore and where you want to charge it. She’ll create a requisition form for you, which you then take to the bookstore and use like cash.

Other common purchases

Amazon gift cards

Amy can purchase Amazon gift cards with her procard (both physical cards and e-cards). You simply send an email to Amy with how many you want, what value, and whether they should be physical cards or e-cards.

Subscription services

We often want to pay for things on subscription services like dropbox, our digital ocean server, paperpile (our reference manager), etc. The preferred method for doing this is via Amy and her procard.

You let Amy know you'd like to do this and she will come to your office to enter in her procard on the website. She prefers to do yearly payments (must not exceed $999) over recurring monthly. If a yearly payment is not possible, we often use paypal (via Katie's account, with Amy's procard -- Amy doesn't have or want paypal) to "top-up" the account.

After the order is placed, Amy asks that you email her the receipt.

Uber gift cards

We use Uber to send our RAs out to aftercare programs in Philly. To do this, we purchase a gift card from Uber (requires special permission above Amy) in $500 increments and load that gift card as the payment method for the lab's Uber account. This purchase is in Amy's name and comes to her email account. She will forward the gift card details when she receives them.


After we finish at an aftercare program for the summer or year, we send the director a flower arrangement and card to say "thanks for helping us!". To do this, we use Roses Florists: https://www.uofprosesflorist.com/. This is an approved UPenn vendor, so we can use a ProCard.

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