Submission of manuscript A to journal X at Time 1.
Notification of receipt at Time 1 + 2 days, by e-mail.
Rejection by editor, including two good anonymous reviews, at Time 1 + exactly 3 months. I could proceed.
Submission of manuscript B to journal Y ( a well-known journal) at Time 1 (July 25, 2000), 40 pages in total.
Notification of receipt at Time 1 + 1 month and 2 weeks (September 6, 2000), after having sent complaints to the editor.
Intermediate conclusion of editor, including two anonymous reviews, at Time 1 + 5 months and 2 weeks (January 10, 2001). One of the things the editor asks, is a reduction of the length of the manuscript, preferably to something of 18 to 20 pages...
Submission of the reworked manuscript B' (20 pages, yes!) to journal Y, one month later (February 9, 2001).
Acceptance of the manuscript (yes!) through an e-mail by the editor, two weeks later (February 21, 2001 = Time 2). Oops, that's fast! Looks like we did some good work during re-writing... The editor asks to send some additional information (i.e., biographical statements, electronic copy on disk), but "we don't need to rush this information to him, given they have about a 9 - 12 month lag in publication". However, he is "doing things to close that lag." So, we're "in press".
I send the additional information to the editor, the day after (February 22, 2001), including many thanks etc.
Finally, 1 year and 6 months after acceptance (August 19, 2002) I send an e-mail to the editor asking what happened with the publication of our accepted manuscript. Am I a patient man? We're still "in press".
The same day, the editor answers (fast!), confirming they have a long lag, and passing the problem to his associate editor.
Some days later (August 23, 2002) that associate editor answers my question (with a cc to the editor) and estimates the likely publication date for our manuscript. "At this point, it looks to be issue 3 of 2004 - yes 2004. Due to the substantial backlog of manuscripts at Sage, the publisher". He cynically adds "If you want to send me an updated biographical statement, I will change that part of the manuscript package, since this will not the delay the publication process."
The same day, this associate mails me again! Seems like the editor was also shocked by the actual size of the lag... He wrote: "I was just talking to the editor and suggested to him that, given the substantial gap between when your manuscript was accepted and when it is scheduled to be published, it should be moved up. Based on a quick look, this would mean either issue 5 or 6 of Vol.18, which would be September or November of 2003. This is still obviously not ideal but the issues up to that point have already been sent to the publisher, so there is not much more than I can do."
About a month later (September 24, 2002) the associate editor mails me again, with good news... Due to a last minute withdrawal of another manuscript, our paper is now rescheduled to Volume 18, Issue 4, July 2003.
Indeed, for about a year, we hear nothing from the editors or publishers, and finally, July 2003, our paper is published in the journal, starting with an after all funny opening sentence referring to "a very recent issue of a journal (2000)".
So, wherever the problems are, with the journal or at the publisher's desk, we were "in press", 29 months, or 2 years and 5 months. Who does better?
Conclusion: Things that appear in journals are outdated, sometimes.
Being Assistant Editor of Journal of Adolescence myself (not the journal pointed to above) , I try to speed up things.