With the United States’ federal government shutdown in affect, peripheral consequences are starting to rear their unfortunate heads. The biggest example of a previously unforeseen result is that the sold-out Navy/Air Force college football game may be canceled. Yeah. Football is being harmed. Now it’s on.
More relevant to the online world, we are seeing the unexpected consequence of websites not functioning or even being available for entry. For example…
Earlier today, I was attempting to find some information on ways I, a single childless American, could pay for a child in needs lunch. Many families don’t have enough money to pay for their children’s school provided lunches (let alone a homemade lunch), which give children the energy they need to concentrate and participate in class. I want to help some of those families.
When I searched “paying for other kids school meals” I came across the government’s site for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). I thought it would be a good idea to research what I was going to be participating in so I clicked on the natural listing.
All I could do is laugh when my screen displayed the following landing page.
Really? A website can’t be maintained without the federal budget passing?
I am unsure if the website truly can’t be supported without the budget, or if this is a political strategy (shutting down useful websites) intended to create further frustration amongst Americans, with congress. What I do know, is that this distraction has kept me from obtaining critical information which can help me deliver aid to those in need.
Regardless of whether Americans are on the side of the Democrats or the Republicans, when it comes to the issue of the budget, I think we can all agree that losing valuable information online is harmful. Acquisition of data, especially in my situation, could have aided me in acting as a helpful and supportive member of society.
This situation reminds me of websites with long or convoluted order forms. Many websites lose sales attributed to the frustrations caused by a tedious or unwieldy ordering process. For the time being, I may be a lost “sale”. I still want to help some families in need, but at this point I can’t tell if my frustration has affected my ability to concentrate and participate, or if all this wasted time Googling about school meals for kids and this follow-up post have made me hungry.