The Postal System changed their service levels for shipments starting October 1. No, they did not speed things up. 🙂
If your orders are taking longer to get, this is likely why. It will have the biggest impact on orders traveling long distances, which will not all be done on trucks rather than airplanes. For the holidays, plan on ordering earlier this year if you want things to arrive in time. Below is a notice from our shipping software vendor and here is a another link to a post on it: https://link.usps.com/2021/09/17/new-service-standards/
USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021 may be affected by the recent changes that went into effect on October 1st. One of those changes is an increase in time-in-transit standards for packages traveling longer distances. That means packages are going to have to be ready to mail a few days earlier than they were last year.
We have machined, hardened S7 tool steel strikers for the TX22. Customers who have broken the strikers in their TX22s have been looking for an alternative to the factory striker. We improved the geometry to reduce stress concentrations where they are breaking and machined them from the best possible material to make a striker from, S7 tool steel.
And, the less fun stuff. I think shipping for the holidays, so from the end of October on, is going to be chaos. Last year was bad, and leading up to that time the losses and delays weren’t too bad. But this year the losses and delays are already really bad before the holiday season even starts. Talking to our UPS drivers, they are working the maximum number of hours allowed right now meaning 12 or more hour days.
Yes, we are seeing higher losses than we used to with UPS too, and the postal system is still performing very poorly.
So, to make things as smooth as we can and keep folks as happy as we can, I raised our shipping rates. But, you get something for it. Our shipping protection is now on every order. We will re-ship your order if it does not arrive. We will keep looking at losses and our shipping costs and adjust them as needed.
I suggest ordering early for the holidays. Delayed shipments often mean more than a day or two and can be a week or more. Shipping is the biggest issue in e-commerce right now. But, we’ll get through it.
Night Fision has recently introduced sights for Taurus. They have some really great sights and sell front sights separately. We are now carrying Night Fision sights for Taurus, Glock and will add more.
The Taurus GX4 comes with 2 different sized back straps. So, our +2 magazine extension for the Taurus GX4 comes to fit the large, or the small, back strap and increases the capacity of the 13 round magazine to 15 rounds.
And, we have barrels in process for the GX4. Both threaded, and ported, barrels are coming off the machines and will be available in the coming weeks. The GX4 with the ported barrel is the softest shooting micro-compact available at its size!
There has been an outcry on the internet for a solution to slides cracking and breaking on the standard TX22. While we have not seen any breakage with our TX22 recoil assembly, we changed it to add a recoil buffer. The buffer absorbs a small but meaningful amount of the force going into the slide and keeps any of the steel parts from even touching the surface of the slide the spring rests on. The Buffered Stainless Recoil Assembly provides the absolute best solution available to prolong the life of the TX22 slide.
We use the postal system a bunch. For most of the years we have been doing this, the relationship has gone pretty well. We would pay them to ship packages for us, and they would deliver them with a pretty low loss rate mostly on time. The on-time part would get strained around the holidays, but people get that.
Things are different today. On-time still happens, but not nearly as much. And, not on time can mean a couple days, or a month late. That unknown shipping time is very difficult for everybody. And, that former low loss rate has gone up quite a bit.
And, if you’ve ever dealt with trying to make a claim on postal insurance, they are usually denied, very time consuming, and as much fun as doing taxes.
So, what have we done to deal with all of that? A few things:
Shipping Protection through Lakeline LLC, an easy to work with insurance for your shipment that protects against loss or theft of your order during delivery. The cost is $5 additional. In concert with offering shipping protection, we no longer will replace packages lost in transit for customers that didn’t purchase shipping protection. With Shipping Protection, contact us if there is a problem and we will make sure you get your order. We just can’t afford to do that for free with the current postal service levels.
Other shipping options. We have added Priority Mail, and UPS ground giving us a total of up to 7 different shipping options on orders over $50. Both cost more than First Class Mail, but have some advantages. Priority mail includes $50 in postal insurance and UPS is liable for loss or damage, at no extra cost, for up to $100.00 for each domestic package. UPS has been more reliable than the postal system, although they are not immune to weather and holiday delays either.
We still have low cost, $3.49, shipping. Although with the increases coming, that may not be quite that low for long. For orders over $50, we still offer free shipping. Both of those options, without shipping protection, the customer assumes the risk of loss in shipping. We don’t want to take options away from people, so will continue to provide options that allow folks to balance, risk, speed, and costs and allow us to continue to be here to serve.
On top of Covid, shipping issues with USPS, and all the other excitement, fraudster have been busy. Many people don’t realize that the credit card companies don’t suffer when there is fraud on their, rather insecure, payment system. They just take the charges out of the seller’s account.
So, to be able to stay in business and still offer good pricing, we’ve had to implement a slew of fraud prevention measures on our order and payments systems. I get it that people want to leave as small of a footprint out there on the inter-webs. So, people may use an alias, or an address that is not theirs, etc. to minimize exposure on the web.
The problem with that is when we don’t get clear, verifiable information with an order, it starts to have very similar characteristics to a fraudulent order, where the card holder’s information has been taken.
So, even though I expect we dislike having to have a system that is more particular and even having people use their time to review some orders, it is just another unfortunate reality of the business right now. It is an inconvenience for everybody. Hopefully payment processing will evolve to something a little more secure and easier to use soon.
Things were actually going along fairly smoothly at Lakeline LLC in early 2020. Then, it became, well, exciting. That’s the word I’ll use to describe the year it has been.
With Covid, came a bunch of new challenges. The good, orders went up! People are shopping from their computers and between the election, riots and Covid, it seems interest in firearms went up. On the other side, getting things built became a challenge. Not only were we busy, but everybody in firearms is busy. Just getting inventory, and new products out and built, became a challenge with everything taking longer than it would normally.
We had to figure out how to even stay operating safely early on in Covid and then how to continue moving the ball forward.
Still, we’ve introduced a bunch of new plastic parts, mostly mag accessories like sleeves, bases, etc. that improve the experience with a bunch of different pistols. We’ve introduced target barrels for some Taurus pistols, with threaded versions available and more coming. And, we have a bunch of new products that were available to support the G3C as and shortly after it was introduced. There is a stream of new products coming.
Shippers are still slammed and chaotic. We see lots more late arrivals to customers from the postal system and packages sometimes sitting in a post office or sorting center for days on end. Our shipments with UPS and FedEx are also more chaotic and sometimes later than usual.
Our lead times from suppliers are longer than normal and that has caused us to sometimes end up out of stock when coupled with the higher demand than we normally see. But, we are getting most things back in stock and we keep solving the issues that do come up.
It will be interesting to see how this all looks when we remember it in a few years. Thanks folks! We appreciate the support and patience that has sometimes been required to get things done this year.
These are the handiest things. Everybody should have one and now you can get them at Lakeline LLC. It is the easiest way to get the last rounds in those magazines and saves fingers. If you have a P365, you really know what we mean.