Recently, I have secured two more visas: South Africa and Egypt. The South African consulate took quite a bit to process my application (5 days) and on top of that, they sent the package back with FedEx "express", which took about 4 days to arrive... hence the quotes around "express". I have never had good experiences with FedEx when it came to residential deliveries that require signature. What working yuppie is at home on weekdays between 11am and 4pm?
The weirdest thing that FedEx does is, if your package arrives a day earlier than the estimated date, they put it on the delivery truck and drive it around all day, in sort of a "stand-by" mode, just in case they have some time left after all the deliveries scheduled for that day. Nothing wrong with that; but the annoyance comes from the fact that you can't tell them to hold the package at their location until they have tried to deliver at least once, so pretty much, you lose a day, since it's almost guaranteed they won't deliver it that day. I had to ask for a supervisor to add a "hold" note to the shipment in order to make sure that if I couldn't make it to their office that evening, the letter won't be on the truck the next day.
The Egyptian consulate was the fastest so far: they got my package in the mail on Friday morning and the next Monday, they had already mailed my passport back with the visa, via USPS this time, since I chose the carrier by sending them a prepaid envelope.
Really, is there any reason why granting or rejecting a tourist visa should take more than a few minutes? Long live bureaucracy!