When it comes to identifying the numismatic-related news of the week, you cannot ignore the fiasco caused by the U.S. Mint. It is a repeat of every significant release for the last 15 years: underestimate demand, make purchasing policies that are out of touch with the demand anticipated by the industry, not have the infrastructure in place to meet the demand, apologize and promise to do better later.
Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Collectors are not taking this situation in stride as they previously have. According to congressional staffers who spoke on the promise of anonymity, the calls to their offices bordered on outrage. The stories were amazing.
One staffer said that their district office received a call from an assisted living center in their district. Five people were on the call. Each made a statement and passed around the telephone, so they could all tell their members of congress how upset they were. One of the people told the staffer about buying his first proof set from the U.S. Mint in 1958.
Another staffer said that the House Financial Services Committee redirected calls made to their offices. Someone investigated and decided that something I wrote the day of the sale prompted the calls.
A source with the Treasury Department said that they logged a lot of calls on Wednesday. Although they would not break down the distribution of the calls, sources suggested that calls made to the main Treasury caught Secretary Janet Yellen’s attention.
Although members of the numismatic industry called, everyone I spoke with said it was the public’s outrage that caused the U.S. Mint to take quick action.
Instead of putting up with bad service from the government, the people stood up and asked for answers. The government responding to the people is the best news of the week. Now let’s hope the U.S. Mint does not waste this moment.
And now the news…
I have thought about this and my advice to the Federal Government would be to ask the private sector for advice. I retired after 16 years with a major retailer. Believe me, online ordering gets very busy during the Christmas season but we got through it every year without the problems you describe.
It’s like healthcare.gov with less urgency.