It seems like one of our favorite things to do lately is complain about turnaround times at NGC.
The popular narrative amongst the unhappy is that this is clearly NGC slipping but NGC says the problem is they're just slammed. They aren't blaming the problems on logistics - like not being able to get enough slab parts or inserts. They're just getting 800+ packages a day and that working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day isn't keeping up. That suggests that they're dealing with double or more the peak volume they're normally equipped to handle.
But I can't help but wonder WHY they're so slammed.
Through most of 2020 when there were delays I thought it was probably CoVID related and had to do with pandemic protocols slowing them down, and maybe it did, then. But that's not what they're dealing with now. The CoVID restrictions in many places in the country - including most conservative states like Florida and Texas, are lifted.
Also interestingly, things seemed to be getting better and turnaround times were getting shorter in the first part of the year.
They're just getting crushed by strong demand now... but what's driving that?
I feel the usual temptation to think maybe it's the stimulus checks and people spending time at home instead of out and about so they're looking at and sending in coins, but does that explanation hold water? The stimulus checks were rolling out months ago and people in may places are out and about again. I don't feel like that explains why they'd still be getting crushed with packages in June.
Maybe all that TPG marketing and CAC marketing is finally paying off and more people are getting into graded coins and grading coins? But that's a pretty rapid increase for a normal, organic increase in interest.
Some in the forums would blame the "everything bubble" and the financialization of the hobby but I don't know that that would be good enough to explain this sudden up-tick in the last year or so. Especially since I don't think that graded coins are quite as common, "sexy" or in vogue as, say crypto-currencies for most people.
I do wonder if inflation fears might be renewing interest in old coins and the history of money, but people that are worried about inflation I think are more interested in accumulating metal, not necessarily collecting graded coins. But the two interests are sympathetic and I do see a lot of silverbug posts with graded NCLT...
So the whole thing, the whole situation, just seems odd to me.