[ Sorry for the delayed post here - this went up on BoardGameGeek on 9/13/2012. Crossposting now. ]
So this has not been our finest hour.
A week ago I had some realistic expectation that I'd soon be able to post an update saying all of Greater Singapore Region had shipped, and that most of Europe had shipped.
Europe: Ed has only shipped to a few game stores, and is busy finishing up the packaging for all store and individual orders. Like many Amsterdammers, Ed doesn't have a car. His plan is to finish all the packaging, and then hire a truck to invade Germany ... er, drive to Germany and ship ALL store and ALL individual European orders in one swoop fell. Bad news is that, given Ed's other real world commitments, this could happen as late as October 4, 2012 (3 weeks from today). Ed's time projections are somewhat more optimistic. Mine are not. But this is a date that we should at least be able to make.
GSR (Asia/Australasia) After not hearing from our Shanghai agent for a few days, I just learned of yet another snag, which is that the air freight office in Shanghai is apparently demanding phone numbers for each supporter - phone numbers we don't have. At first I thought it was just the agent's request, so I told him that it was simply impractical to get phone numbers throughout the region. Now I'm hearing a new wrinkle.
Shanghai Agent wrote:
[9:22:14 AM] I will try to persude the air freight post office.
They have gave me lots problems in past days.
[9:28:58 AM]Casue we have not the phone number.
By tomorrow, I should either report that all the boxes have shipped, or beg you all for phone numbers so that we can ship. PLEASE don't all send me your numbers today.
Georgia Sounds easy, right? This is Georgia the state, not the place sometimes beset by angry Chechens. Well, turns out that the Groton team missed 3 pages of shipping labels, and so we basically forgot about a whole state. Worse yet, I had already told everyone that all "conforming" orders had shipped, and didn't notice the issue until I noticed like 5 emails from folks in Georgia who sure thought they were conforming. At least all the Georgia orders did go out yesterday.
Stupidity, topherr style I'm usually good about keeping up with hundreds of emails for my day job, and so last week I encouraged folks to CC me on all emails to email@example.com. Then I got inundated with a bunch of emails. Let me be clear that this should not have come as a surprise to me. But I got behind on emails, and then noticed that I couldn't actually answer a lot of the emails I did respond to without interrupting the Groton team and slowing the shipping down. So somehow I actually posted a message actually asking folks to wait a week and then email me again. In retrospect, this request is not just ill-advised, but inexplicable. BTW, I'm still catching up to emails, and probably won't be fully caught up till this weekend. Really sorry about that brain burp.
Irrelevant personal junk On top of all this, (and this is not relevant, I realize) it's been a particularly stressful week of work, dealing with difficult opposing lawyers under tight deadlines and such. In one case we represent a guy who's defending a supposed debt from a huge bank you've all heard of, for tens of thousands of dollars. The bank sold the debt to some company you've never heard of. Our client is pretty sure he already paid off the entire debt, and the holding company basically refuses to show any documentation to validate the debt, arguing that they simply don't have the information and have no duty to supply it (because hey, they just bought the debt, not the documentation!). After three years, the holding company finally offers, not the bank records, but instead a declaration from some guy at the bank saying "I've looked at the records and have determined that it's a valid debt." Really. To top it off, the law firm representing the Bank only gives out a PO Box, not a street address (something I've never seen before). So they can serve docs on our office the day something is due, but we have to mail it out 3 days in advance. Anyway, we asked to serve a motion (under time pressure) via pdf to the lawyer's email. Of course he said no. Yeah, this is my week. The cherry on top? Last night my kids and I all just got the same ... intestinal bug, so they're home from school today. My five-year old is completely non-verbal, so it's particularly challenging because he can't even point to where it hurts. Fun stuff.
To be clear, none of this personal junk is an excuse to anyone for any screw-up of mine, or of CGF. I made my own decisions about what to take on, and it's up to me to balance things and get things done. Just venting about my wonderful week....
Yeah, definitely FML.
Good News Got this from Amber in Groton earlier today:
Amber in Groton wrote:
All store shipments in the Canada and USA have been shipped. Personal shipments to Canada are being prepped today. Canada personal shipments are meant to go out tomorrow.
Yes, we haven't got to the bottom of all "conforming" orders that somehow got into the wrong pile, but I'm pretty sure that everyone in the US will have at least been contacted (if not had their package shipped) by tomorrow.
The vast majority of you have been extremely patient. And for those of who aren't, I don't blame you at all. Especially this week. This week, it's not all the hard to convince me that we suck as bad as some people think we do....
Next week will be better, I'm pretty sure. Don't worry, we haven't forgotten anyone, we're working through all this, we'll keep in touch, and we won't stop till we're done.
I'll keep you all posted with new information as I have it.
FRIDAY NIGHT EDIT: MORE BAD NEWS - As you may know, I've been busy chasing down various issues in various places - which is what happens when we're shipping from 3 cities on 3 continents, none of the cities are named Seattle.... I learned just today that we have a bigger problem on the last few dozen games to US supporters than we previously realized: we shipped over 200 games from Groton to Esvedium's US relay, rather than from Amsterdam to England. This means that the reserve inventory we were counting on is in Amsterdam, not Groton, and this means that we are short at least 30-40 games in Groton, and that these games can't go out to the last round of US supporters until we get them shipped from Amsterdam back to Groton. And THIS means, very very unfortunately, that at least some of you who have waited incredibly patiently and done nothing wrong are going to have to wait at least a week longer to get your games.
Ironically, shipping to Esvedium from Groton also had the effect of pissing off loads of folks in Europe as well, who saw the game for sale locally while waiting for their copy to ship from Amsterdam. So it served double duty of sorts
Sorry doesn't quite cut it in this situation, I know. But I am....
Here's what I can say: I've asked Groton for a complete list of unshipped orders by Monday, and by Tuesday, September 18th we'll send out a detailed email to every person whose order should have shipped but hasn't (in several cases, we're still waiting on shipping payment, so those orders were going to sit anyway). We realize that for these orders, we have totally screwed the pooch, even more than for everyone else (in Georgia and Canada, for example), and we're currently brainstorming what we can do for these folks to try to make up for this monumental screw-up. I will try to have an answer for you by Tuesday. But yeah, this sucks any way you cut it. No excuses. I'm going to go crawl under a rock for the night. I'll take my lumps in the morning....
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATED UPDATE: We haven't yet contacted the disappointed US supporters who have waited, mostly patiently, only to discover that their games are in Amsterdam, not Boston, will arrive much, and have a greater chance of minor box damage issue from getting shipped across another ocean. I've already said we're really sorry, now I have news regarding what we're going to do about it.
To all US backers who paid a copy of GTR BB and paid for shipping but whose games have not yet been sent: When we get the games in from Amsterdam we'll ship them to you along with a complimentary copy of Zombie in my Pocket. If you already have ZIMP, let us know and tell us if you'd like a free copy of Pala, Quills, or North Pole (yeah, that's my game!) instead.
To disappointed KS supporters in Europe and around the world who are also still waiting for their games: As you can imagine, deciding how to make up for numerous delays in various regions fairly, and in a financially responsible manner has been a challenge of its own. We decided to make this offer because this specific category of US backers are getting their games much later than other US backers, and because our shipping fees are obviously cheaper to US backers than to other countries (where we are offering free/nearly free shipping). We hope you understand, and hope you realize that we are working hard to get you all games, wherever you are.