How long will it take for my Lego order to be delivered?

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Q. How long will it take for my Lego parts order to be delivered?

A. is a small business operated by just one person with occasional voluntary help. Accordingly, when demand is high (most often before, during and after national holidays) processing times can increase by a few days. The average processing time is approximately 4 days and the postal service can take between 1 and 10 days depending on the customers location. Same or next day processing service is achieved on many orders, but as the operator of the business has to undertake the full range of operations required, orders have to be processed in batches to achieve an efficiency that is practically viable. The operations required to maintain the service include the following:-
Purchasing (New Lego stock has to be purchased in order to maintain a supply of the parts needed by the customers. The majority of purchases are made via. Lego sellers who post on their unwanted collections. On receipt of these collections, they have to be carefully sorted through so that an assessment of their value can be made and a payment to seller is then issued. Processing Lego collections for sale takes approximately 1 hour per 5 kilogram in weight).
Major item listing (Major items are those more common Lego items that are popular sellers and already listed on the website. After purchasing a new Lego collection, the major items are checked for quality/suitability for resale and listed on the site via. an inventory update)
Initial sorting (Sorting is undertaken in a series of stages in order to make it as efficient as possible. The initial sorting involves sorting the Lego collection in to the different basic categories such as red flats, blue bricks, wheels, minifigures, translucent parts, electrical items etc. This process is time consuming and takes between 20 minutes and 1 hour per kilo depending on the nature of the Lego. Each of the resulting containers is then added to the corresponding mass first stage storage container for later processing. The sorting is undertaken on a 4m x 2m sorting table and the initial sort can involve splitting the collection in to over 100 different categories of Lego parts. Mass storage containers vary in size from small drawers to large tubs that can hold up to 20kg of Lego. Initial sorting includes removal of non-Lego product including imitation Lego product. Imitation products have zero second hand value, and these are put aside and stored as rubbish).
Adding new product (New product is generally added in two ways. As Lego is processed items will be discovered from time-to-time that are not yet listed on the website, so these items are physically added to a container labelled 'photo'. Periodically, the 'photo' box is taken to the photo area and the parts therein are photographed and added to the website. The second way new products are added to the website is by processing mass storage containers, updating the inventory with already listed items to discover the items available but not yet listed on the website. The process of identifying unlisted parts is very time consuming as the whole mass storage container needs to be inventoried, the different parts isolated and counted. Before being photographed, The Lego parts are sorted in to the quantity available and added to the relevant live storage box baring the example required for photographing. The different Lego parts are individually photographed and stored in files that correspond to the number of them that are currently available before being placed in the relevant live storage container. The 'live' storage containers number approx. 300 containers varying from small drawers/trays to large storage boxes that can hold up to 7kg of Lego parts. Each photograph is trimmed, edited and scaled to a suitable size. The new parts photographs are then uploaded to the website via. the 'pending' page initially before being moved to the correct page where a description and PayPal button are added. On average, it takes 23 hours labour time to list approx. 140 new Lego items which equates to nearly 10 minutes per item. The website currently contains approximately 14,000 photographed products which equates to approximately 58 weeks of full time work. The 14,000 products have been added to the site over a 9 year period, so on average approximately 5 hours per week is dedicated to adding new Lego product to the website).
Website maintenance (The website is maintained by the operator and the scope of this work ranges from general updates and improvements to correcting technical and operating problems which frequently occur and need prompt attention).
Product cleaning (some used product requires cleaning and the process is a continual one. Where required, parts are carefully washed and air dried)
Taking off orders (Lego parts orders are received via. email at directly from PayPal who manage the transactions. The orders are printed off periodically every 1, 2 or 3 days depending on volume. As the orders are printed, address labels are created and these too are printed on to label sheets. Orders are stapled and sorted in the different types and re-ordered to streamline efficiency. Orders that are clearly invalid are separated for refund (Minimum order rules are essential for overseas customers due to the system used, and although clearly stated on the website, a troubling number of potential customers will make orders that are too small to be processed in a financially viable way). The orders are then individually taken off by looking up each part ordered on the website, noting the part on the order sheet using a shorthand note or drawing, and the inventory is updated. Once complete the website is published. Once this process is complete, a further number of invalid orders may be identified and these two are separated for refund. Customers can order any item on the website, and in any quantity whether the item is showing sufficient stock or not. The reason the site allows this is covered in a separate question 'Can I order parts showing zero or insufficient stock?' Unfortunately, some customers ignore the warnings on every page regarding this and place orders comprising items that are significantly out of stock. As we can only provide what we have available, some of these orders have to be fully or partially refunded. Order values range from £4 to £200 (incl. P&P) and taking off individual orders takes an average of 10 to 13 minutes). 
Refunding (Many orders are partially or fully refunded either because we have insufficient stock available to complete the order or the order does not comply with our rules on minimum purchase value. Refunding is undertaken in batches once or twice a week depending on workload volume).
Picking and packing (Lego orders are individually processed at the packing bay. Each part from the order sheet is carefully identified from approx. 300 live Lego storage containers and the order is assembled. Parts are checked for quality and completeness and electrical items are double checked for operation. Once the order has been fully assembled, it is checked for completeness and bagged before being packed and labelled. Postage is calculated in accordance with Royal Mail rules based on size, shape and weight. Each order processed is logged on a dated packing sheet including details of name, address, value, postal costs and any notes made for future reference).
Dispatch orders(All items are dispatched via. Royal Mail drop off service. Each packing day the orders are transferred and dropped off at the Royal Mail office at the close of the day for them to process. Royal mail records all parcels and the corresponding receipts are collected when the next drop off is made).
Non-Lego purchases (Regular purchases of non-lego product are required to maintain the service and these include: envelopes, boxes, zip sealed bags, label sheets, pre-printed labels, cello tape, parcel tape, pens, storage containers, bubble wrap, wrapping paper, printer paper and cartridges as well as welfare items such as milk and tea)
Cleaning and organising (General cleaning of the work space and organising the storage containers is maintained as work proceeds as it is vital the environment is clean and well organised to maintain the quality of the service and the efficiency required to keep packing times to a minimum. As orders need to be processed as quickly as possible, and as a consequence of the resource limitations associated with a sole employee especially when workload fluctuates quickly, periodic deep cleaning and reorganising is required. Once a month, the work premises are thoroughly cleaned and any loose Lego parts are organised and rubbish is disposed of).
Confirmation of an order received (confirmation that an order has been received is automatically achieved via. the website. On successfully checking out an order the customer is directed to the successful order page which explains that the order has been received and will be processed as quickly as possible).
Confirmation that an order has been dispatched (following drop off of an order at the post office, each customer is personally advised via. email that their order has been processed and dispatched).
Dealing with customer queries and complaints (While being fully dedicated to providing a quality service, the highly labour intensive nature of providing a Lego parts service of this nature means it would be impossible to provide the personal customer service that larger organisations are able to afford. Non-the-less, customer satisfaction is relatively high (estimated at over 97% from feedback received). All complaints are fairly and reasonably dealt with. As with all non profit making service enterprises, customer satisfaction not profit is high on the list of priorities. From verbal and written feedback, it is clear that the vast majority of customers appreciate the service and fully understand the difficulties involved establishing and maintaining the service provided. One of the limiting factors faced by the operation is time as the core service of providing a large range of Lego parts and dispatching them to individual customers is so time consuming that re allocating further time to customer relations would significantly reduce the number of orders that could be handled and the stock availability. To date, gross company profit has been zero and wages paid averages £7k per year. The operator presently works an estimated 72 hours per week, which translates to an average hourly wage of less than £2 per hour. Arguably, the operation is clearly far from a going-concern in its present configuration, but redirecting time from the core service of providing and dispatching product would render the service impossible to maintain. Although time is limited, once a valid order is placed, it does receive personal attention, and any related emails from the customer will be affixed to the order and best efforts will be made to assist queries that are received. A healthy percentage  (circa. 23%) of orders are from repeat customers and many customers have repeatedly used the service for a number of years).
The above list of operations is not a comprehensive one, but while mindful that a sole operator undertakes the range of tasks needed to provide the service, an understanding of why these often quite different operations need to be undertaken in batches rather than on an order-by-order basis should be reasonably clear.
Avoiding a back log of Lego parts orders is very important to the operator as the additional stress of a backlog is clearly not favourable to the operation. Where customers feel there order has taken longer than hoped, it should be remembered that it is in the best interests of the operator to keep processing times/backlogs to a minimum. Additionally, if your order is a small or simple one that appears easy to process quickly, you should be mindful that many orders are complicated and very time consuming. Regretfully, the potential for prioritising smaller orders is very limited without creating unacceptable levels of customer dissatisfaction from those who have placed more valuable and complicated Lego orders. It is possible that the operation could be better managed and organised, but in defence of the operator, he holds a masters degree in project management backed up with more than 20 years PM experience and is a member of Mensa and Intertel, so in context, the operation benefits from a relatively dedicated, intelligent and well experienced founder and operator. Having to wait longer than hoped for an order to arrive is frustrating, but customers can be reassured that good efforts are being afforded to the speedy processing of their orders, and any time delays are practically unavoidable due to the nature of the service and the physical restraints placed on it.