Scott Adams (fellow Hartwick alum) continually tells people, “No, I don’t work at your company,” because the problems he lampoons are so widespread.
Allyson points out a problem that is less so, that of purchasing within government regulations, in the shoe bomber theory of purchasing regulations. So in this case she does work at my company, in a sense. I feel her pain. And this is exactly right.
In 2001, a jackhole named Richard Reid got on a plane and attempted to make it go ‘splody by lighting a bomb in his shoes.
Now we all have to suffer the indignity of standing barefoot in line at the airport while the security goons X-ray my Hello Kitty flip flops. An appropriate punishment for Mr. Reid would be to chain him to the metal detector at various airports and then we could all smack him in the chops with our shoes before boarding the plane.
Likewise, somewhere out there, some jackass probably used his government p-card to buy a hooker, forty-eight pounds of veal, a case of absinthe, and a weed whacker for a groovy night of debauchery at a conference in Madrid.
Then some bored reporter showed up to blow the lid off this travesty as if s/he had discovered a Woodward and Bernsteinesque plot, it all ended up on the evening news, and suddenly I need to get sixty-eight approvals from the head of NASA all the way to my mom (hi mom!) to order a box of Kim Wipes. I hate waiting for stuff.
Most of the “solutions” with which we purchase card holders are burdened are the result of poor oversight. The probably-not-so-farfetched scenario Allyson describes would normally be caught in the routine audit when the jackass submitted his statement, and it was reviewed by the next person up the chain — no need for any additional regulations at all, if the reviewing official was doing the job properly. But somehow lapdances and sushi are purchased and not discovered until much later, and the solution is to add more rules to the mix. The problem is that it doesn’t really do any good — incompetent review hasn’t changed, and if someone is hell-bent on defrauding the government, they (by definition) don’t follow the rules, so a new layer of them won’t matter. Especially if the new rule has huge loopholes in it, as it usually does.
So I heartily endorse the solution
Whenever a new control is put in place that causes me to wait additional time for an approval, I believe that the new approval process should be named after the jerk who caused the problem to begin with.