We’ve come a long way since the days of mail-order catalogs where you placed your order and then waited and waited for your items to be delivered. Now we live in an era of two-day shipping, but sometimes even two days is too long.
What happens when you absolutely must have something right away, but you can’t just run out and get it yourself? Don’t fret. If you live in the right place and know what to do, you can get almost anything delivered in about an hour.
Check out these services that specialize in near-instant gratification for clock-watching shoppers:
Postmates might sound like a pen-pal service, but it’s actually a full-featured on-demand delivery company that uses a network of couriers to get your order to you fast. The service’s motto is “Get anything delivered in minutes.” Last year, it delivered everything from eclipse glasses to an engagement ring, as well as lots and lots of restaurant food orders.
Postmates is currently operating in dozens of cities ranging from Phoenix to St. Louis to Mexico City. The company is also in the process of expanding its Postmates Fresh 45-minute grocery delivery service to more locations. It charges delivery and service fees, but users can also opt for the Postmates Unlimited $10-per-month subscription, which includes free deliveries for orders over $20. After you sign up, you can place your order online or through the Postmates mobile app.
Amazon Prime Now
Amazon Prime Now offers up this simple proposition: “Thousands of items, 2-hour delivery.” The Prime Now menu of products includes household essentials, groceries, produce, beauty supplies, and even electronics. You can order up a butternut squash, some paper towels, and an Amazon Echo if you'd like. You check out using your regular Amazon Prime account.
Some Prime Now service areas also let you order up food from restaurants, which is delivered within an hour. Fees may vary based on the size of your order. If you can’t wait two hours, then you can upgrade to one-hour delivery for $7.99. The catch is that Prime Now has a limited service area. But if you live in the right ZIP code, then this is a handy Prime perk.
Need groceries? Instacart is a service that specializes in grocery deliveries from big national names like Whole Foods, Costco, and Petco, as well as regional chains. You shop from an online selection, which also includes fresh produce and dairy options, pay a delivery fee (starting at $5.99) and get your shopping list delivered to you at home or work.
While you may be able to get your groceries within an hour, Instacart says most customers choose to have their orders delivered within two hours, though you can also schedule a delivery up to six days in advance.
Instacart covers a lot of large and mid-sized metro areas as well as some smaller towns, so it’s available in some places that Amazon Prime Now doesn’t reach.
TaskRabbit may be famous as the service that sends a person over to put your complicated IKEA furniture together, but it can also be used for fast deliveries. TaskRabbit is available in 39 metro areas, though not every location supports same-day tasks. You can book tasks ahead of time in any service area, which will work if you know you will need something delivered the next day or later in the week.
For places with same-day service, you will need to choose the “delivery & shopping” option from within the TaskRabbit app (or use the TaskRabbit website) and give the details of what you need. TaskRabbit will assign a person to your job and give an estimated time for completion.
TaskRabbit excels for its flexibility. You can send a Tasker out on a very specific quest, such as locating a hard-to-find toy. TaskRabbit charges by the hour and that rate can vary, so keep an eye on the pricing before you hire your Tasker.
Google’s Express shopping and home-delivery service is notable for the big-name stores it lets you buy from, including Target, Walmart, Costco, Walgreens, PetSmart and The Home Depot. It also offers free delivery if you buy a minimum amount from a particular store. There is no membership fee.
Delivery times from Google Express can vary widely depending on your location and which stores you are ordering from, so it may not be your best option if you need your item immediately. If you have a little more flexibility, then look for the same-day delivery option at checkout.
One advantage of Google Express is that it has a wide reach across the U.S. Your deliveries might not be instantaneous, but it may be available in areas that aren’t serviced by some of the competitors.
Looking for Amazon Prime perks without the price tag?
From a free trial to student discounts, there are ways to experience Amazon Prime advantages without paying full price.