Rubbish grub

11 January 2012
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementSt Homobonus, the patron saint of shoemakers, tailors and purchasing, has a monthly column in SM... Rubbish grub Imagine being sent out on duty to protect the public from rioters with only “rubbish sandwiches” for sustenance. That’s apparently what happened to London’s Metropolitan coppers who bemoaned the catering supplies provided in the summer. The Metropolitan Police Federation polled 8,500 officers about their views of the riots and by far the most passionate criticism related to the food on offer. If the peace is to be protected, ensuring the 
police have proper grub appears to be a priority. Sneaky dealings Two farmers, apparently fed up with alleged bribery demands, emptied three bags filled with snakes in a busy tax office in northern India, according to a report in the Daily Mail. The paper quotes a state official who said: “The 
40 or so snakes of different sizes and species – including at least four deadly cobras – sent clerks and villagers climbing atop tables and scurrying out the door to escape the office. Snakes started climbing up the 
tables and chairs.” On the box Finally, I can settle in with a cocoa and watch something good on the box of an evening. New HBO comedy Enlightened’s lead character is a corporate buyer. Laura Dern, who plays the main part Amy Jellicoe, is a self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and becomes determined to live an enlightened life, creating havoc at home and work. As an enlightened saintly being, 
I can relate. Busting budgets We all know about departments rushing to spend their full budget at the end of the year for fear of losing it in the next, but China has taken this approach to another level. Government agencies in the country are paying three to four times the average price for goods because if they don’t spend it, it will be taken away. So while governments in the West fret about dire finances, Chinese bureaucrats were wondering how to spend as much as 4.5 trillion yuan (£450 billion) by the start of this year. Funny business After doing some advisory work, bosses at one banking giant were given some free comedy lessons in return. According to reports, 10 chiefs from Lloyds Banking Group got the chance to attend comedy school to brush up on their leadership and communication skills. But CPO Mike Whitby told us he wasn’t among them. “I don’t do fun,” he joked. I’m not sure how they are putting this new knowledge into action at work, but I’m assuming banking jokes weren’t on the agenda, so here’s one I found for them… “Why are bankers’ hearts popular for transplants? Because they’ve never been used.” Greatish day Commiserations to director of logistics Trevor Ashworth and his chums who failed to claim the top spot in the UK Christmas charts last month. Ashworth, on keyboard, is part of an eight-piece band of Co-operative employees, with group chief executive Peter Marks on drums, known as Angel Square. The Manchester-based band released their own version of the Take That hit Greatest Day on 9 December to raise money for Mencap and sister charity ENABLE Scotland. The guys have already played a gig in Manchester with covers of tracks from Maroon 5, The Black Eyed Peas and The Rolling Stones. Well done chaps – I was there with my lighter in the air. Butter fingers Norwegians are facing a severe butter shortage, partly as a result of a low-carb diet sweeping the nation that leads to a higher intake of fats. Others blamed a wet summer, which reduced the quality of animal feed and decreased milk production. Sales suddenly soared by 
20 per cent in October and 30 per cent in November and some shops ran out of the 
fat completely. Hole in one And finally for all those planning a corporate golf 
day – a word of warning. 
A recent Court of Session case awarded £400,000 in damages to a man who lost his eye while playing the game and tested duty of care legislation. Double ouch. Tweet of the month Just overheard procurement raving about lobster thermidor... I’m tweeting about Greggs... #verydifferentpaygrades @NeilDrage  
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