They are supposed to speed things up, but take a look at these recent examples.
1 - We are off to Sydney to do some big illusion shows next weekend so I went online to book accommodation. After about 15 minutes of searching I found the Crowne Plaza in Parramatta advertised room rates of $116 a night so I went on to their website, verified the rate and filled in all their online forms to confirm and pay for the two nights (another 15 minutes). When the confirmation screen came up it showed it had only booked us in for the first night. It said I could edit the booking, but I needed my reservation number, which had now disappeared from the screen. I had to wait another 30 minutes before I received the confirmation email with the reservation number on it. So I went back on line and tried to edit my booking only to be told there were no rooms available for the second night. I had to track down the hotel phone number and call their reservations department (going through several "Please press #1" selections and being disconnected twice) and I finally spoke to a human (well, I assume she was, she sounded like one but didn't act like one) who assured me I could not cancel my booking without paying a cancellation fee, but if I did want to stay the second night she could get me a room for only $220.
After explaining to her, very firmly, that the whole online booking thing appeared to be a scam, she took my number and assured me someone from Guest Services would call back.
An hour later I was called and I explained the whole story again. This person said she would plead my case to management - apparently Guest Services is not part of the hotel, but a sub-contracted firm.
Another hour passed and the robot lady phoned back and said she could offer me the second night at $158. Would I like to take up that offer. I was exhausted, beaten by the system, I couldn't bear the thought of going through all this again with another hotel. I said yes, I'll take the second night at $158. Almost as if she was rubbing it in she repeated "What would you like to do?" I repeated my request and a few minutes later a confirmation email arrived.
2 - When I bought my new Vista Laptop back in June, I discovered it would not run my old accounting software, so I contacted the manufacturer and they explained I had to buy an upgrade disc, which would cost about $109. After the Magic Festival I popped down to Officeworks and found what seemed to be the right disc, but it was $149, so I purchased it and headed home.
At home I found the disc would not play in my new computer... or my old computer. Another call to the manufacturer and they told me I was given the wrong advice. I needed to buy a different upgrade disc which was $469.
Back to Officeworks and, of course, you can't exchange software if it's been opened. They asked if I was given a special code number from the manufacturer to exchange the disc. No I wasn't. Then after I explained the situation they tested the disc and discovered not only was it the wrong disc, it was faulty, so they could exchange it.
They charged me the extra on my credit card, but I wasn't allowed to have the right disc. They didn't keep it in stock, it had to be ordered in and took two weeks.
After FISM I hadn't heard from them, so Sue-Anne was driving by, popped in, and picked it up.
Since then, I've been trying to set it all up. The process is "simple".
1 - Install the new program on my new computer - done - only took thirty minutes.
2 - Install the upgraded trial version of the 7.5 program on my old computer (twenty minutes) and upgrade the data from 7.4 (twenty minutes).
3 - Then install the 2002 version (twenty minutes and a reboot) and upgrade the data from 7.5 (twenty minutes).
4 - Next install the 2007/08 version (forty minutes and a reboot) and upgrade the data from 2002 (no idea how long that takes, I've never made it that far!)
5 - Then... somehow transfer the data to my new computer and upgrade it from 2007/08 to 2009/10.
I've done stages 1, 2, and 3 about six or seven times so far. Once I get to stage 4 the program restores my 2002 back up data and formats it ready to be upgraded... then announces the data is not in the right format or is faulty.
Then I have to go back to the start and begin again.
The irony is the name of this accounting software that I've, so far, spend over 9 hours on...
(Oh, and I've written this entire post while waiting for the 2002 version to install)