be scraping the barrel

be scraping the barrel

To be using or selecting 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 was really scraping the barrel even to find those."
See also: barrel, scrape

be scraping the barrel

or

be scraping the bottom of the barrel

If someone is scraping the barrel or is scraping the bottom of the barrel, they are using something or doing something that is not good, because they cannot think of anything better to use or do. They must really be scraping the barrel if they want to employ him! The game designers were scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas when they came up with this one. I can accept him shouting at me, but now he's really scraping the barrel by criticizing our players.
See also: barrel, scrape
References in periodicals archive ?
This is TV scraping the bottom of the barrel - or should that be scraping the barrel of the bottom.
In last night's Coronation Street, old Blanche sneered that the Weatherfield Gazette must be scraping the barrel - "getting the man who collects trolleys from Freshco's to write a column".
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