Systems are on my mind.
[I’m not providing details on the complexities of organizational management or about “systems theory” per se. This is just about the way some things work (or don’t work).]
An inefficient library system sends “courtesy” notices about upcoming due dates, but the notices are always received 1-2 days after the due date, and after the book has been renewed or returned. This doesn’t seem as courteous as intended, and it’s the system’s fault.
A culpable duo of computer systems—that of a local utility—has these problems, in my personal experience:
- An account screen that does not show whether a customer is set up on an automatic payment plan. (I was standing at a rep’s window, asking this question, and the rep could not determine the answer.)
- A late notice system that doesn’t kick out an e-mail until after the account is more than 30 days late. (This occurred, in my case, after a credit card had been rejected because of a renewal and new expiration date. The new expiration date, I might note, doesn’t seem to trouble some other merchants—another systemic issue, it seems to me.)
- An external payment-processing vendor that receives and registers a payment but does not transfer the credit in any way to the host system for more than three business days.
- A nice telephone representative who helps to uncover the problem detailed in #2 and #3 and who quips about the third-party payment processor (and I quote), “Oh, we don’t have anything to do with them.” As if to say the system isn’t their problem. . . .
- A very nice supervisor who, when approached in person, essentially throws up her hands in the face of all the systems problems, smiling and saying, “We’ve tried three payment processors, and we don’t like this system, either.” Again, as if to say the system isn’t their problem!
Christendom’s systems are also to be critiqued, but this post is already too long.
[Sorry, all y’all who don’t believe anyone should spend time in critique. Granted, criticism only goes so far, but if no one serves as critic, nothing that deserves challenge gets challenged. For good examples of far more important criticism, take the prophet Nathan, Jesus, Paul, Martin Luther, and Martin Luther King.]