(Via Glenn Reynolds) I'm going to sum up The Enlightened Redneck's post here about what happened to the White House Easter Egg Roll ticketing system this year (not because there's anything wrong with his post: read it!): The new administration, having decided that the old system of having people engage in the time-honored tradition of physically camping out in line for tickets was somehow "unfair," instead decided to make the registration process online. The process didn't work properly - Shock! Surprise! - so people got tickets essentially via being lucky enough to be able to register before their session timed out.
Wait, it gets better. They did this distribution way earlier than they did the previous, physical ticket distributions - so, quick? What happens when you've got a scenario where you have:
- A resource for which there's a higher demand than supply;
- Sufficient time to make people without that resource aware that you have it;
- And a national communications channel that anybody can access?
Well, if you're NBC News, or anybody else with a triple-digit IQ, you immediately reply "You have a scenario where people start scalping the tickets." Which is happening even as we speak; a block of six went for a thousand bucks on E-Bay. That number's just going to go up, by the way. But don't worry: the Washington Post assures us that a "spokeswoman for the White House said it was working with Internet sites to prevent ticket sales." Which means that the White House hadn't actually thought about the possibility beforehand. So... a local tradition of using a first-come, first-served distribution system that actually worked got thrown overboard in favor of an untested, fatally flawed, unfair system that is now encouraging people across the country to engage in ticket scalping - which is, by the way, illegal. And now there are a bunch of little kids who are going to be sad because their parents didn't have the money to make sure that they got to go to the White House Easter Egg roll.
And this is why we do not meddle with processes that we do not understand. Because it makes children cry when things go wrong.
PS: Normally I don't care all that much if anybody in the Executive Branch reads this site, but since it's still sort of my birthday: if God is kind, Monday morning will find a copy of this post taped to the monitor of the administration staffer that decided to change this policy for no particular reason.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.