Payment sites seem to have similar issues. PayPal is painful, and those credit-card processors not only take an unreasonably long time, but add insult to injury by popping up little boxes asking you about absurd new security measures involving passwords which have to be reset every single time they're used, and what was your credit limit at the last solar eclipse, and so on.
So, why? Well, the inconvenience is obvious enough. People are getting Free Money from AdSense and Amazon and so on, and are thus willing to put up with anything. It's a little-known fact that most user interface designers are sadists; this, of course, explains things like Windows Vista's wonderful, wonderful shut-down menu. As such, they'll take any opportunity to design something really, really nasty.
And as for banks, well, the only alternatives customers have are to actually go into a branch (even if you are free for the half an hour a day your local branch is actually open, this is not a good idea; the staff are probably incompetent or insane) or to use a hideous telephone-based menu system. They could, of course, move to a new bank, but all the banks are much the same, and in any case recent legislation requires anyone wishing to petition for a bank account to present seven sorts of ID, fifteen official letters addressed to them at home, all less than three hours old, and have a form signed in quadruplicate by the Pope.
But, why the slowness? It's not as if most of the companies in question don't have far more heavily trafficked sites, and they generally seem to perform well enough. It must, so, obviously be the fact, the the presence of money slows computers. This can trivially be demonstrated in the following way:
- Place a five euro note atop your computer.
- Launch one of those large, complex GUI-based applications written in Java or similar (Eclipse is ideal).
- Remove the note to a safe distance.
- Relaunch the application
The conclusion? All money must be banned from high-performance computing centers, to prevent waste. Real-time computers should also be placed on the watch-list. The bit of the credit-card processing box you find in your local shop should be placed as far away as possible from the computer-y bit, possibly in the next county. Those really incredibly slow new ATMs some banks have introduced (the ones which say 'Starting Application' for a few minutes after you insert your card) clearly contain too much money, and should have their load reduced.