What's the purchasing equivalent of labelling a goat?

31 January 2012
This weekend, a friend told me about a book she had stolen from her dad that she thought I might like. When I asked what it was called, she said: “‘50 ways to name a goat’, or something like that.” As I put those two pieces of information together: “a book I think you’d like” + “it’s called ‘50 ways to name a goat’”, I was torn between taking offence (I AM NOT THE KIND OF PERSON THAT NEEDS HELP NAMING GOATS) and intrigue (I wonder what method number 50 offers that the other 49 don’t cover?). Anyway, it turns out the book is actually called How to Label a Goat: The Silly Rules and Regulations That Are Strangling Britain and it takes the same view as me, nobody needs help naming a goat and even if they did, they wouldn’t need a 17-page dossier on how to do it. It’s a book that picks out the most humorous, and in the author’s view, most useless pieces of legislation, regulation and guidance the UK has to offer. As I was reading the blurb, it got me thinking about procurement, and more importantly, what regulations or bureaucratic nonsense buyers really hate or find ludicrously nonsensical. I’m pretty sure architects would say it is the PQQ, and if the rumours that Vodafone has a 70-page document defining what a saving is are true, then I’d imagine that might be a prime candidate. And let’s not forget those bastions of bureaucracy in Brussels.  But I want to know what you think. As per usual, leave your comments below.
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