We Know What’s Best For You #2,572

In future, every time someone suggests that the “government” should look after people’s needs, I am going to quote this story:

Thousands of school children in Rio de Janeiro have been left bitterly disappointed this Easter after council nutritionists replaced their traditional gift of a chocolate egg with a bag of rotting carrots following a major food ordering blunder.
Instead of buying 2,300 kilos of carrots, bungling officials mistakenly put a decimal in the wrong place and purchased a whopping 23,000 kilos, leading to a massive budget overspend of £15,860 (74,000 reais), ten times higher than the normal tab.

Let me count the ways:

  1. The “government” (doesn’t matter which branch) decided that kids would be better off getting carrots instead of chocolate treats, so they unilaterally changed the tradition because health. (Note the “we know what’s best for you” arrogance.)
  2. The same “government” no doubt decided on carrots because the vegetable needs no preparation, just washing. Also, carrots have a long shelf life before rotting — unless one stores them in plastic bags, which reduces the shelf life by 50% — more if stored in a warm, damp climate (such as can be found in, say, Brazil).
  3. The old “decimal place” problem: stupidity compounded by lack of oversight or controls.
  4. The article suggests that the replacement of Easter eggs with carrots was to cover up the ordering cock-up. Given that the carrots were sent in bagged portions and not in bulk makes me skeptical, ditto the inclusion of recipes for carrot cake etc. in the bags.

Frankly, I’m amazed they didn’t send fresh eggs instead of Easter eggs. In baggies.

Then we have yet another example of stupidity, this time at the local level:

Staff were left in a pickle as they tried to devise ways of getting rid of the mega-supply which needed to be eaten before the vegetables went off.

Milo Minderbinder’s chocolate-covered cotton comes to mind. Had I been on staff, I would have sent the bags of rotting carrots back to the council’s offices, to make it their problem. But you can’t expect any such initiative from government functionaries like school administrators because a.) they’re stupid and b.) they’re too timid to lash out at moronic managers.

Had I been a student, I’d have hidden the rotting carrots somewhere in the school principal’s office, to let him deal with the eventual smell. But that’s just me. (And in case anyone’s still alive from that time, I didn’t do it.)

The cynic in me also wants to ask whether any of the councilors owns a carrot farm and couldn’t sell his surplus, but I’m pretty sure that even such simple corruption may be beyond these idiots.

The best part of this comes at the end, when discussing the overspend:

The scandal comes at a time when thousands of council workers have been waiting for months for back-dated payments of late salaries.

One wonders of anyone will be fired for this gross incompetence… oh, who are we kidding? It’s government.