Housing and Dining officials now advise students paying by Off-Campus Flex to expect transactions to take “about 45 seconds from swipe to signature.”

You can thank technology straight out of 1996: dial-up modems. Merchants use them to connect to the Flex network, and in an e-mail to Bwog this week, Michael Novielli of Student Auxiliary and Business Services confirms that the wait-times are here to stay.

He says the recent troubles at Nussbaum & Wu and Westside are indeed the result of that dial-up network, and though CUIT is being consulted about faster alternatives, for now, “a faster solution does not exist.”

Until then, before you pay with Flex, you may want to have a few self-deprecating witticisms ready to avert the fury of exasperated customers waiting behind you in line at Westside.

Novielli’s full e-mail to Bwog is after the jump.

I wanted to update you all briefly on some of the feedback we’ve received from students about Off-Campus Flex. Over the course of the past two weeks, some students have shared that they have experienced longer than usual wait times at Westside Market and other merchants. We also understand that system was down for short periods at Nussbaum & Wu and other merchants. We have worked to resolve all of these issues.


We do, however, want to be open about how long students should expect a transaction to take: Since all of the merchants currently use a dial-up modem to connect, students should expect a typical transaction to take about 45 seconds from swipe to signature. We understand that this is longer than students typically wait when making purchases using Flex & Dining Dollars on campus, and we are sorry that is the case. At this time, a faster solution does not exist, but we will work with our colleagues in CUIT to determine if a faster alternative is possible in the future


Our staff has tested Flex at several locations over the past two days, and the system is now fully operational. If you hear of any additional issues, please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention. We apologize for the inconvenience.


All the best.