After chatting with a friend who has USPS connections, I've found out that - due to BOMBS, of all things (eek!) - there have been some issues with shipments to the US from the UK.
While Royal Mail is telling me that my postmarked 1/11/01 parcel "has been passed to the overseas postal service for delivery in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" - My USPS connection has confirmed that it has yet to even be scanned by the USPS. (And indeed, after learning that it's an international tracking number, the USPS tracker says "We have received notice that the originating post is preparing to dispatch this mail piece.")
Which means my samples are sitting around with a bunch of other packages waiting to be cleared... But why did jwise get his package BEFORE his anticipated delivery date? His order took approximately 12-13 days... That applied to my order would make my delivery around the 17th or 18th. Perhaps MoM jumped the gun with January 15?