|Satan enjoys tormenting souls|
When I read that Rick Scott spent $77.9 million for the Connect system, I wanted to know how one goes about procuring a contract like that. In its current form, no state would pay $77.90 for such a system. I wish the state would pay me for the hours I spent trying to submit my unemployment, but I guess the whole point of the system to prevent any payments from ever being made. Since the horrendous experience is fresh in my mind, I'll go through a few of the intricacies that made the Connect system worthy of the Prince of Darkness.
I imagine it like this: you get to hell for swindling sick people as a health care worker or for insider trading. Something evil. But Beelzebub offers you a way to escape. All you have to do is use this great website that's worth $77.9 million in order to submit your request to leave. God has even offered a $600 bonus to anyone who can get out of hell, so there's extra incentive. The fun part (for Satan, not for you) is that the website won't work. Worse, you are required to start over from the beginning each time you attempt your escape, filling out the exact same information over and over, waiting for pages to load, over and over. But you're in hell, so you keep going back to try again.
That's the MyFlorida Connect system in a nutshell. Specifically, you wait 1 to 5 minutes for EACH page to load. Then you fill out a page, and it logs you out. In fact, I needed about 10 attempts just to get to the point where I could even create an account to login. But even after I had an account, I had to start over each time from before the login screen, agreeing to all kinds of documents, like that I was using a Florida system and that I would not defraud the state. Every time. Then I'd fill in a page, hit Next, and then be logged out. Sometimes, I could fill in two pages in a row, but I'd inevitably be logged out and forced to restart.
Some information was remembered from the last time you went through the torture, but you have to remember the obstacles, like having to re-enter your email address on one page, and having to re-find your profession. But I only got through to my profession three times in about 100 tries. It was playing a really tough video game, but one without checkpoints, so you have to replay the entire game and defeat all the levels and bosses every time you die. In this game, however, there was no secret to getting past the levels. There was seemingly a 50/50 chance of restart every time the Next button was pressed.
Other dumb elements of the Connect system included having to match employer names to a database (an extra step) and having to leave out hyphens in FEID codes and your license #. Sometimes, the pages would reload onto the same page you were just on, seemingly asking you to refill the same information, as if there was an error. Usually, however, it either restarts completely or else bumps you over to another previous page for no reason. But there's no way to quickly navigate to what is still missing from your profile. Maybe that option exists in Internet Explorer 7, but not in the modern world. The Connect system also tries to get you to use its debit card with all kinds of hidden fees that are probably owed directly to Rick Scott.
The website also constantly told me that if I didn't finish filling the forms out within a day, all of the information would be deleted so that I could start over completely. Others had issues with being locked out with no way to recover PINs. I followed advice to try the system at odd hours, still unable to move forward at 12am, 2am, 4am, and 7am. But at around noon, it just boots you off without a second thought, so you feel like you have to be online when you should be sleeping.
Eventually, when the paper version was made available, I downloaded it and filled it out in about 30 minutes. Of course, Satan would never offer a paper version. Florida didn't do it until enough rich people complained. I expect that, if I get any unemployment benefits, they will be sent to me on my stupid debit card sometime in November, probably when people without direct deposit get their government checks.