1. It’s also possible that it’s an online order of some sort. They’re waiting for a product to be mailed to them or something — and it’s from an actual just one person in their house who makes and sells them or whatever.

  2. The couple are assuming they are real people, which is fair enough*, but they are also assuming that any request typed into their computer is processed within an entirely automated and computerised system until the resulting output is displayed on their screen. They are blissfully unaware that “the system” is in fact partially comprised of a decision node constructed out of a frail flesh and blood human** with needs, foibles, inadequacies and down-time – just like themselves.

    *Of course, no-one should tell them they are drawings
    ** Or him.

  3. I’m inclined to mostly agree with ianosmond. Andrea, if it were an email and they were waiting for a response, that would mean they know her, and would not be talking about “the system”.
    My only hesitation about Ian’s version is that, if they are waiting for a delivery, why are they on their laptop?

  4. Afraid I can’t entirely parse narmitaj’s comment and qualifications, but elements can be extracted and combined with the ianosmond/deety theory. They indeed ordered something online, for physical home delivery. But now, as it hasn’t arrived, they are looking online for some notification, or are using a “trace your order” page which is what the talk of “working its way through the system” is all about.

  5. I also think it has to do with an order placed to a one-man (or woman) shop.

    When I order things, there’s usually some kind of ‘processing delay’ before the tracking on the shipment goes live. For a much-anticipated package, I’ve checked the status, and after a day or two, find that sometimes, it still hasn’t actually shipped.

    It’s still working it’s way through the system… 🙂

  6. I think it matters not at all what they submitted. They may have submitted it days ago or even moments ago. It doesn’t matter for the joke. We see an instant in time when they expect to have a response so they are checking on the computer, but obviously whatever it is they are looking for hasn’t happened yet. They chalk up the perceived delay to “the system”, which most people would think is either a computer or bureaucratic process. In this case, “the system” is a person that manually needs to process whatever needs to be processed. And this particular person is shown to be someone that consumes “red cow” (play on Red Bull, no doubt) and has now crashed.

  7. Hey, I know her! She went out with my roommate for a while.

    She could get moody and a little mean. Then we’d call her The System of A Down.

    But when they ere getting along well, Kevin would remind us his outlook on life involved bucking the system whenever he could.

    Their fave performer was The Weeknd. But the also like Chance The Rapper. And Megan Thee Stallion.

  8. I’m with TedD, and think this is a Covid thing also. Usually the person responding to the request would be in an office, working with her boss looking over her shoulder. Now she’s at home and taking some down time.
    The people on the laptop are just waiting for confirmation, not a package. Yet.

  9. I think everyone has it but… it’s not a good joke.

    It assumes we accept that when we say “it needs time to work through the system” we actually have any idea what that means. All we really know is it takes time for things to do things and if we expect instantaneous results and they don’t happen immediately … well, we don’t know why but… things to time so lets take a break and hit refresh. And if the think you are expecting is a package order…. well, of course part of the “system”= chain of events will include human being and company time so there’s nothing surprising there.

    When I us the phrase “working through the system” I usually think of changing an url or a password or a user icon and waiting for it propagate. ANd that of course has nothing to do with human lag time (although it might have something to do with me not seeing the change as I haven’t cleared my cache). If I ever do have a case where I make and order and I’m sitting waiting for it to process, and waiting for it to ship, and waiting for the tracking number etc. I never would think it is entirely do to machine sending code or tagging alerts and I’d assume the lag would be some human got the memo but hasn’t had a chance to physically walk to the store room to take it off the shelf and tag it or however the heck “the system” works. It might satisfy a sense for morbid cynacism to think it’s just a person on a couch sleeping and ignoring it but, that’s just me being critical. Of course human lag time is reasonable.

    But…. this makes sense to the cartoonist and her room-mate I guess, and they assume we’ll get it. And we do but…

    This is a six chix strip.

  10. Pretty sure TedD has it. Most of us have likely been there. You order something and are told to allow 10 to 14 days. You’re thinking why is it not just a matter of putting it in a box and shipping it out? Then you concede that it has to go through the “system”. As it turns out, the system is a person who is not all that concerned with your order.

  11. Yep. This is so familiar with internal systems here that I failed to get what would make it a CIDU until I read the other comments! That’s not a diss to any of you–it’s one to our corporate systems.

  12. I’m on a Prime trial and ordered something the other day. Estimated next Tuesday. What? I thought Prime had rapid shipping. Well, it still hasn’t shipped, so I guess that’s it.

  13. I think everyone has it, but I particularly agree with woozy about why it doesn’t work well. The joke requires you to think of the “system” as a large set of machinery that should just be continuously chugging along, and then be amused at the “contrast” of that the “system” has a person in it who’s not chugging along. But I don’t feel a lot of contrast, because that’s the main cause of delays in most systems.

  14. Hey, Brian in STL ( is that Seattle or St. Louis?). Be glad you don’t live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, (not that I am complaining, mind you.) There is no next day delivery – or even rapid delivery here. Four to five days is considered fast. That being said, Prime is a necessity simply for its free delivery. One can easily pay more in shipping fees than the cost of the item being shipped.

  15. I ordered a book from China last week, and it took them four or five days to e-mail that they were out of the book. To be fair, everyone was probably off for the week because of Chinese New Year.

  16. Guero says: Be glad you don’t live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, (not that I am complaining, mind you.) There is no next day delivery

    If you’re near the International Date Line, I thought you not only don’t have next-day-delivery, you don’t even have the next day. You only have the previous day, right?😎🤦‍♂️

  17. Having just gone through this, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that this IS the system for getting a Covid vaccine.

  18. I …. guess…. but for me, I don’t really consider the human factor “the system”. I consider it … the human factor. If I order something and don’t hear anything in days and I wonder “Hmm, should I call up and yell at someone, or should I be patient and assume this is just some natural lag time” I don’t really care if it’s “the system”. And in the case I am suspecting that it is a person loafing or just not caring about my e-mail and I am leaning toward calling and yelling. But my issue “maybe this is reasonable human interaction” is because I don’t want to nag if there is nothing it can do. Also, it …. could be reasonable it takes days… maybe. (I don’t want to be the unpleasant jerk in the universe). It’s just not funny or surprising to me.

  19. This does remind me of a friend, long ago and far away, who was an early e-tailer, selling used books from his garage. In his case, “the system” did in fact comprise a decision node constructed out of a frail flesh and blood human (as narmitaj nearly said).

  20. What? I’m supposed to do my own research?
    Salt, Tequila, Lime?
    Standard Template Library?
    Sexually Transmitted Laryngitis?
    Actually, I was just off hand thinking of airport codes, and they can sometimes be non-intuitive, (O’Hare is ORD, what???). Since St. Louis is Lambert and Seattle is SeaTac, one could swing either way. I promise, next time I will Google it.

    Mitch4, actually, we are at least a couple of time zones east of the IDL, but you are right, when it is tomorrow in New York, we are just sitting down to supper. If it were DST right now, New Yorkers would already be warming up their morning coffee as I write this. And our European brethren are already thinking about where to go for lunch, while I still have a good night’s sleep ahead of me.

  21. “(O’Hare is ORD, what???)”

    Used to be Old Orchard; my first shopping mall experience was Old Orchard in Skokie, IL. Fond memories.

  22. Roosevelt Field Mall also opened in 1956 and it seems to me that I was heard it was the first shopping mall.

    Just to bore all with info – the mall was named after the airfield – hence why it has “Field” in it’s name – it was built on which was named after (not Pres, TR Roosevelt as many believe) Kermit Roosevelt, his son who was died while a pilot in WWI.

    While not part of the shopping center, but east of same (past what was Roosevelt Raceway, a trotters track and some smaller shopping centers) is the end of the same airfield, where, long before it renamed for Kermit, Charles Lindbergh took off for his trip to Paris. There is a stone marker of same.

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