scrape the barrel

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scrape the barrel

To use or select from the last or worst of the resources or options from a particular range or set, even if they are not satisfactory, because there are no others to choose from. We used to get hundreds of qualified candidates, but lately I feel like we've been scraping the barrel with the applicants we bring in. A: "These were the best you could get?" B: "Sorry, the selection was already picked through, so I really had to scrape the barrel even to find those."
See also: barrel, scrape

scrape the barrel (or the bottom of the barrel)

be reduced to using things or people of the poorest quality because there is nothing else available. informal
See also: barrel, scrape

scrape (the bottom of) the ˈbarrel

(disapproving) use things or people of a low quality because all the good ones have already been used: TV is terrible at the moment, it’s nothing but old movies. They’re really scraping the barrel, aren’t they?
See also: barrel, scrape
References in periodicals archive ?
The Irish manager is following Jack Charlton's policy of searching for talented second or third generation Irish players, but he will not scrape the barrel like his predecessor.
We have never had a dull episode and we don't want to get to the stage where we have to scrape the barrel for stories.
But if a motor manufacturer can use a naked Claudia Schiffer to try and interest you in changing your car, why shouldn't a much worthier organisation scrape the barrel of a young man's brain to try and get him to change his life?
SCOTLAND, sporting more bumps and bruises from their thrilling 3-2 weekend win over Estonia than old Braveheart William Wallace collected on the battlefield at Stirling, have had to scrape the barrel to get a team together for tonight's qualifier at Pittodrie.
Which just goes to show that when you need a minister from the Lords you really do have to scrape the barrel.
Tait said: "We are in a great run and it was another good win on the road, but there is a lack of strength in depth in the squad and there may be times when we have to scrape the barrel.