Sometimes a little planning in advance can go a long way. Sometimes the best way to recognize that is to live with the alternative.
Yesterday, I drove up to the FAU campus to get the signatures I needed for my master's thesis. I'd collected the signatures of my committee at the defense (successful, hooray!), but still needed sign-off from the department chair, and the college's dean. As I was walking in to the building, the department chair is walking out, on the way to lunch. He asked if I had the right pen (a felt-tip, nothing else will do, per the graduate studies standards). Having only a ballpoint in hand at that moment, I had to say no. He said he'd be happy to sign, when he returned from his lunch appointment, in an hour and a half.
I reason, well, this gives me a chance to walk over to the campus bookstore and pick up the right pen. As it turns out, after investigation and inquiry, the bookstore doesn't carry felt tip pens. Off to Office Depot, where I pick up a variety of pens, to be sure I'm prepared for the next go 'round. I manage to get back to the office by the time the chair does, and gain his signature and that of the dean's without further delay. I left the dean with one of the pens, as a sympathy offering for the next unprepared student.
But I could have saved myself about and hour and a half, and a certain amount of frustration, by reading the instructions carefully and by preparing myself accordingly, rather than depending on someone else to be prepared for me.