Image: The offending mug. Courtesy ABC.
Some bright spark in the Department of Parliamentary Services decided to have a line of coffee mugs produced for sale in the parliamentary gift shop during the US President’s visit in November last year. A problem arose though, when it was noticed that the name of the President was spelled with two Rs.
Noticeable also is that although the visit was last year (2011) the date on the mug is 2010, although it is possible that they were produced in expectation of one of the Presidents cancelled visits for that year in March and June.
When the mistake was discovered, the mugs were crushed and buried under a concrete pour to conceal the event:
The Department of Parliamentary Services had 200 coffee mugs made to sell in the Parliament gift shop during Mr Obama's visit last year. But somehow the mugs were ordered with Mr Obama's first name wrongly spelled - with two Rs.It seems rather dramatic, not to mention wasteful, to smash and bury under concrete the best part of 200 perfectly useful coffee cups, even if they were a bit kitsch.
A total of 198 of them were subsequently destroyed, but not before a journalist could purchase two. Bronwyn Graham from the Department of Parliamentary Services has used Estimates to explain to Labor Senator John Faulkner why and how the dud mugs were crushed.
"The mugs were destroyed into fragments," she said. "They were then disposed of onsite into a planned concrete pour.”
"They ended up in a concrete pour? That's got a touch of the Mafioso about it doesn't it Senator Hogg?" Senator Faulkner said.
"I wouldn't say that," president of the Senate, Senator John Hogg responded.
Ms Graham says the concrete pour now rests at Parliament. "Senator, the sensitivity associated with the mistake that was made with the president's name - the last thing we wanted was for the fragments to be found on a garbage tip somewhere," she said. …
In the event of mistakes in our capital, concealment is more important than recycling. What the Hell would be wrong with simply getting some staffer to drop them off at Vinnies the nearest charity shop so they can be sold off for a good purpose. If President Obama is any reasonable sort of guy, he would probably see the joke. He might even want one as a memento.