A: TLDR: Barring any problems or questions, an order placed Day 1 should be able to ship out as early as Day 2 AM, but at least by Day 3 AM, but because of weekends, however, that can make for a fair amount of variation. And yes, random delays do sometimes happen. Here is the long version of the process:
1) (Day 1) The customer places the order, and the system sends a confirmation email. The order status is now Pending Fulfillment.
2) During work hours, at various points during the day, we look over any newly entered orders, make sure everything is set right, and check a box that says “Ready.” (this is as early as later in the day Day 1, or, if not, sometime during the day on Day 2)
3) At that point the order becomes visible to our warehouse partner in their print queue.
4) The next time they are fulfilling orders (weekdays, early in the morning, for most consumer orders going USPS) they fulfill it. (So, morning after it gets marked Ready, either Day 2 or 3, depending on the timing of the order placement.)
5) When our warehouse partner processes the order in the system, the status changes to Fulfilled, and our system automagically sends the customer an email.
So weekends can make that take a while, since neither we, nor our fulfillment folks work those days, so if the order is placed on a Thursday after work hours, the earliest it could be checked over and marked Ready is Friday, during the day, which is too late to ship out Friday morning, but it should go out Monday morning. Or, if the order is placed after the work day ends on Friday, it might get checked on a Sunday night if one of us is working some weekend hours, and be marked Ready and ship Monday morning early, but, more likely, we will see it the next work day, which is Monday, mark it Ready and it will go out early Tuesday.
That’s the longest it should take (order placed Day 1, marked Ready Day 2, shipping Day 3, but with Saturday and Sunday inserted in the middle somewhere). That’s barring any need for extra communication, or some random delay of a day or two, which does happen, mostly for completely inexplicable reasons, i.e. we ask our warehouse “Why hasn’t this gone out?” and they say “Oops! XYZ happened. Sorry! We’ll get right on it!”
The shortest would be if the customer placed their order during the day on a M-Th, we saw it the same day, marked it Ready and it could go out the very next morning. Order placed Day 1, marked Ready Day 1, shipping Day 2 AM.