How is Paypal still in business anyway?

I’ve been sitting here all weekend waiting for money in Paypal to hit my checking account so I can actually use it, budgeting out doc appointments and stressed that I’ll lose my health insurance along with my job this week, and it just struck me as I see the transfer has still not posted: how is Paypal still in business? There’s no other financial institution I have to deal with that delivers such shitty service as those assholes. Nothing even close. I can move money from a savings and loan to a checking account at another bank in another state over night, but Paypal can take up to a week or more to do it.

Obviously they don’t want you to take your money out of Paypal, they would prefer you buy stuff from eBay or Amazon or some large online retailer, clearly they have allowed obstacles and delays to remain or fester to facilitate that business model. I think that’s a mistake, Paypal could be great, or could have been great. It doesn’t have to suck like this.

Banks also don’t want you taking your money out, but have nevertheless learned that people like having actual access to their own money. The faster and better the access the happier the customer. “Like” having access is too weak a word, people like it so much that banks, working in a truly competitive market, find they prosper by offering it. People like it so much that they become irrational and even violent at bullshit delays at getting to their money, this is widely known and has long been known by every human on earth including, presumably, the clowns running Paypal.

So these delays are intentional, no doubt about it, and the clowns don’t give a flying fuck about their customers getting our hands on our money, or they would have fixed basic shit like that a long time ago. I understand all that, I get that we’re all forced to use Paypal and therefor they get to be assholes for the time being. What I don’t get is how another company that does all the basic stuff Paypal allows you to do, but doesn’t play games with transfers and commit the other screw ups Paypal is notorious for, hasn’t arisen and taken them out by now. It’s an absolutely necessary piece of Internet infrastructure. Paypal does some things well, sending money by email is so incredibly handy, it almost has to be available these days. But taking a week to transfer money to yourself is incredibly inconvenient and opens a textbook vector of attack by competitors. I bet that that happens sooner or later.

I’d switch in a second and I bet a lot more people would too. I’m not that worried about having a big useless Paypal balance, I am that worried about getting money into my checking account that pays every bill, that receives every direct deposit paycheck, that has thousands of ATMs around the world networked in if I need cash, that handles several auto-debits every month, that has 24 hour live customer service if I have a problem with getting my money, and that has branches all over the world where I can walk in and talk to an actual human being or withdraw cash anytime I need to. When a company arises that allows us to send money via email as easily as Paypal, and which allows us to transfer money to ourselves as easily as we can email it to friends, that’ll be the end of Paypal as we know it.

In fact lets just rant about the entire Internet: it sucks. The PC I’m on right now and the networks it’s attached to are supposedly super fast and advanced compared to what I had a decade ago, but from my perspective they don’t seem one bit faster than they did then. All that extra advertised speed gets soaked up by everything having to run through AV software on my end, or an obscure plug in I don’t know about not being updated, or one single tiny ad being slow to load on the webpage that’s hanging up on the other end, and on and on and on, until our end result is surfing the infobahn is just as slow and frustrating now as it was circa 1997.

I was bitching about this a few weeks ago, when a developer/network friend gave me the most honest explanation I’ve ever heard. He said something to the effect of blame the companies, not just Paypal, MSFT, IBM, and those guys, but Johnson & Johnson, Sears, etc, all of them, every last one, because when it comes to networks and hardware, large and mid-cap corporations have acquired a raging case of delusional thinking over the last ten years: they think they can pay Hyundai prices and get Ferrari’s.

They get these systems at the most rock bottom price they can, cut every corner and every last cent to the bone, put the system out there without enough internal or external support, and then run them balls to the wall 24/7 like Speed Racer until many glitch and some crash, and then act shocked. Even though the department heads and corp officers were probably told that that’s exactly what might happen. One can almost picture the self-absorbed 0.1 percenter CEO of a dogfood company announcing to his or her cronies at a luxury retreat “We’ll save millions for our bonuses by buying a couple of notches below what the IT vender configured for us and tweak it into play internally, but we’ll make it all work just as good and probably better, because we’re so super bad ass at making dogfood …” And every one nods and applauds his super genius.