Only puzzling thing is: why hasn't it been widely anthologized?
Story summary.A star faring human empire spread across many worlds. Moving goods between worlds is expensive, so they're prioritized. Of course, the liqueur for an influential bureaucrat on an outworld has higher priority than equipment needed to make the place habitable!
We get to view a fat bureaucracy in action, as a well intentioned insider games the system to get the cargo shipments' priorities right...
- Eric Frank Russell's "Major Ingredients" (ed Rick Katze).
Fact sheet.First published: Astounding, January 1959.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of Eric Frank Russell (annotated list).