While I appreciate the U.S. Postal Service for introducing a line of stamps commemorating characters in children's literature, I don't appreciate their Track & Confirm option...because I just can't stop using it!
Whenever I submit a manuscript to an agent or editor, I always pay the extra 45-cents so I'll know exactly when it arrives at its destination. Most people use this service to make sure gifts arrive on time (if the gift's going to be late, you can call the recipient to let them know it's literally in the mail and pre-empt any disappointment). But I've never had a manuscript not arrive and I've never had anyone tell me they needed the manuscript by a certain date...usually they don't even know it's coming (I like to think of it as a pleasant surprise!).
When I learn that a manuscript arrived in a timely fashion (as one arrived in NYC on June 14th at 9:42 a.m.), then the real nervousness kicks in. There's still no way to know when the manuscript actually gets read. Why is it taking so long? Did it get lost in the slushpile? Are they taking it to an acquisitions meeting? Are they checking their bank account for the limit on what they can offer? Did they burn it, along with the SASE, and now I'll never know and just have to keep stressing?!?!?!
And then there's the agent who requested the manuscript by e-mail...