If these quotes are completely wrong, why are they still being given out?
Because they're not completely wrong, obviously there's some logic to how Jacqueline is generating the ranges, but there's just so many variables that it's impossible to gauge how accurate those ranges actually are. (edit: also because people keep asking. There's a precedent set and it's hard to waver from it. So long as people keep asking, these ranges will keep being given out)
Even supposing that an exact position were being given, and it was 100% accurate at the time it was given, if you asked months ago and someone else asked yesterday, how many people ahead of you canceled (thus lowering your position) in that length of time? We don't know. And on top of that, she's not giving accurate measures, just ballpark guesses, and we don't know how she's arriving at those.
The mail time, however, does not change. Yes, it's the time that the mail was processed, and delays might happen, but I'm not aware of any mail server that processes mail out of order: if your mail took 10 seconds longer to be sent, every message that came after it experienced that same 10 second lag. So if your mail was sent at 16:10UTC and you haven't gotten a notice, but someone with a timestamp of 16:20UTC did get their shipment notice, it is reasonable to be worried.
Edited by WizardStan, 14 July 2010 - 02:32 PM.