I mailed out that submission to NGC on Jan 14th. It got to the Sarasota distribution center around midnight on Jan 20th, processed through there in about half and hour and was marked as in route to the destination facility. And then... Nothing.
Today is the 26th. It has not been scanned in 6 days and about 10 hours.
Starting Monday I started sending emails and trying to shake things out because if it isn't at NGC by COB on Monday the 31st the new pricing comes into effect and the cost of the box goes up $32.
Well, turns out it has been in a container for 6 days, between the Sarasota distribution hub and the local PO, and they have apparently a line of about 25 containers they're working on, and they've been having delays because of lack of personnel and lack of drivers and...
But.. 25 containers. Wow. Talk about bottlenecks.
It has been stuck in Sarasota, waiting to be sent to the final destination longer than it was in Transit from my local PO in Texas to the Sarasota distribution hub.
I would have thought that 17 days would have been PLENTY of time for something to get there. Normally it takes a week or less. Clearly in this case, absent this one bottleneck at this one leg of the trip, it would have been there in 7 calendar days.
Normally this would have been fine. But this isn't normal.
The very nice, polite woman at the Sarasota post office that called me (not being sarcastic at all here, she was very nice), was hopeful that it could come through today based on what she was seeing. So I'm just going to cross my fingers that they can make it happen and get it to NGC by Monday.
If not, using Registered mail might cost me not just the $13 for Registered, but $32 for the price increase, making that a fairly expensive safety measure. But, if that happens, I'll just let it go. At the end of the day, after all the work that went into those coins, if that box had gone missing I would have gladly given up $32 to get it back., and even if it costs me I still think it was the right choice. $32 won't break me this month. Not even close.
It is just very frustrating in the moment.
Edited to Add:
So... Only about 40 minutes after she called me the first time, the USPS worker I'd talked to called me back again and let me know that it had hit that location / come out of the container and that it would be continuing on today. So, YAY! it should easily get to NGC by Monday.
I had nervously run the tracking number a few times this morning and it must have just come out just a few minutes after we talked the first time or something.
She said she'd had a list of ones she was watching for / tracking because she apparently has a few people making inquiries that a freaking out or in a near panic. I can't say I don't sympathize with them but hearing that did make me laugh a little. Misery loves company I suppose and it's nice to not be alone in your crazy.
Side note but I am increasingly resigned to the fact that these coins are going to be away for... a... VERY. Long. Time.
I am just increasingly glad, as the reasons add up (the long turnaround times, the price increase, this shipping delay...) that I did not drag my feet and I just got that box out. I'm increasingly convinced that, if I want to make another submission this year, and have confidence in it getting here by December, then I need to make something happen more in the March / Early April time frame.
None of this is harshing NGC - I know they're working hard over there - just stating facts. Nothing is going to be fast this year; we're all going to have to have longer time horizons, and for some things, unless you're planning to pay extra for speed, the effective cut-off for the 2022 award season might be a lot earlier than some of us realize.
I wonder if there's ever been a case of someone paying for Walkthrough service on something cheap and/or modern just to get something back super-quick to win something in the Registry. There could be a funny and amusing story out there.
Also: It's worth noting that, in discussing this with Shandy, she also very much shared my concerns over this box last night and referred to them as "our coins."