Originally Posted by Chevron07
It's really hard to predict what's going to happen sometimes.
Hard to predict in advance, yes. What actually happened is clear. Your movie was in stock at the local distribution center; hers was not, and is being shipped from somewhere else.
And do you know whether the envelope she used to return her disc had a local address or not? The USPS is very inconsistent as to whether they send Netflix discs back to the "Nearest Facility" or to the actual printed address. I always relabel any envelopes that have remote addresses (including the bar code) just to make sure I don't get stuck with an extra 2-3 days of postal delay.
Letting your disc go back to a remote location hurts you another way, too. It wasn't always true, but over the last two years when a disc is sent to me from a center other than the one the previous disc came back to, it is ALWAYS shipped the next day rather than the same day. So if your disc goes back to a remote distribution center, they will usually send your replacement disc from your LOCAL distribution center - the next day. This has nothing to do with priorities (throttling), but is just the way their operations seem to work now.
In my experience, discs arrive over 95% of the time in exactly the time predicted. The rest of the time, there's just no telling. Just last week I had one which took a full week to arrive from my local center, which is normally one-day away. My wife called me just before I was about to report it missing. From NF perspective, there's a lot of extra cost involved in sending replacements out, so I can understand why they want you to give it a few days.
Conspiracy theories are hard to quash, but it would be really useful if a group of Netflix subscribers from a common location (like an apartment building) kept records to prove/disprove the notion that the time from mailing until acknowlegment of receipt depends on usage level. There's really no way to know without a large sample size under controlled conditions.