I’m sorry, but our system is really slow right now…

I’ve heard that line a hundred times. I’m on the phone with customer service talking about my computer order, or my phone bill, or my credit card balance. Things are taking a while. “This computer is really slow today…” or “We’re having some network problems today…” or “Things are really slow here…” are the excuses almost universally offered.

I have only to conclude that the technical infrastructure underlying most of society is serious impaired. Do computers simply not work that well, most of the time?


Ann's picture
Ann on October 2, 2003 - 15:29 Permalink

I think if you replaced the words “the system is” with the word “I’m” , you’d probably be closer to the root of the problem

Alan's picture
Alan on October 2, 2003 - 17:24 Permalink

In some of these institutions, the delay is in the situation — a bottle neck slowing down everything. Either poor system design or uneven systems acquisitions with new apps working on legacy backbone.

In other cases of delay, it is cause just at the particular user. If any other tool was not being used to optimum or working at optimum, the role of the failure of users of the tool to understand the tool would be a problem of design of the tool and not a fault of the user. In computing, however, it is the opposite. I am considered by most to be familiar with personal computing and internet applications but I only use 10% of what is in the dropdowns at the top of the browser. Why are they all there for most users when all they do is confuse? If I hear of these sorts of delays I curse that designer who did not understand the simplicity of the needs of the client.

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on October 2, 2003 - 21:35 Permalink

Where I work, the computer system is absolutely underqualified to operate all the tasks that require its resources. Combine that with some pretty unsatisfactory programs bought to implement the tasks. Add to that a staff that, mostly, has no idea how to efficiently use the computers that it’s forced to use…
and you have frequent instances of ‘the system is really slow right now’. I assume the company I work for is not unlike many other companies in wanting to pay the absolute minimum in order to get just what is needed to get the job done.
At work, I live ‘our system is really slow right now’.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on October 2, 2003 - 21:37 Permalink

It was certainly my experience working with the Province of PEI that there was often an inverse relationship between the power of ones computer and the amount of intensive, important data processing one was required to do.

Ken's picture
Ken on October 3, 2003 - 03:12 Permalink

I guess the world where all systems run well all the time is a scary place, especially for those who make mistakes — humans.

Erin's picture
Erin on October 3, 2003 - 03:24 Permalink

I work part-time as a customer service rep. over the phone, and even when the internet connection is slower than usual (which happens), I don’t actually ever tell the customer that! Otherwise, it makes the company sound less professional and perhaps incapable of handling the customer’s needs. I have been fortunate enough to get strong training though, which I am unsure is standard for every company’s customer service department. Usually, I take that time to go over the customer’s contact info.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on October 4, 2003 - 01:59 Permalink

It’s not just “the system is slow stuff” that I hate but “Your call is important” on the phone — code for “your call is so unimportant that we don’t have enough operators”

Post Juan I have spent hours hearing this guff from Aliant, Maritime Electric and now Eastlink — the tree that took down our power line took down cable as well.