“Oh s**t! I didn’t buy a present for [child’s name redacted to protect the innocent]’s birthday party this afternoon.” 10.21am in our SoMa apartment, sometime in the recent past. True story, that ended well. To resolve this minor catastrophe did I:
a) Rush around Target on that busy Saturday morning, jostling with families and grocery shoppers to get to the toy aisles for an item I might not find?
b) Dispatch my husband to do the jostling?
c) Log onto Amazon Now and brew another coffee while waiting for the presents to arrive at the door to my apartment one hour later.
Tempting as it was to go with option b) for some peace and quiet, there was no real contest. Online shopping is a dream come true here in San Francisco. How did I survive without Amazon Prime for my shopping needs and express shipping until now? A couple of weeks ago I came home to find two chairs and a table I had ordered online left outside the apartment door and it was a couple of days after I placed the order. I am sitting in one of the chairs on our little balcony, writing this blog. Amazon Prime is amazing, it is generally no more expensive than the shops, it can even be cheaper and delivery is so fast.
This week alone, a last minute book ordered and delivered for my daughter’s book report, Jazz dance shoes for my younger daughter, hard-to-find English soup for me, GoPro for my husband …. Maybe the above is common enough where you are living but on many International sites there is no delivery, in Singapore for example, so while the concept is familiar, the actual experience is pretty new. No doubt the novelty will wear off soon or the credit card bills will put a stop to it. I bet there is a book I could buy that will teach me how to spot when I am addicted to online shopping (and if I buy it in the next 59 minutes I will get free delivery tomorrow!)
And it’s not just the usual Amazon fare that you can order online now. It seems that any little thing you might need around the house can be had with one click or by loading an app. Groceries can also be bought online and delivered via Instacart, Google Express, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Pantry. These are the most popular in San Francisco.
Dinner comes courtesy of Munchery (and it also sell alcohol),Uber Eats, Amazon Restaurants and trycaviar to name a few of many. Of course you can also order take out in Singapore and in a similar way to Munchery – lots of different restaurants but there, choices are not as great and delivery is not done in such a timely manner on an App from my phone. It just works so well here.
One Friday evening, I found my husband pacing up and down the sitting room. Asking what he was waiting for he informed me that he had a 12-pack of cold Lagunitas on the way from http://www.sauceyapp.com (booze delivered in under 30 minutes, and again it works well, uncomplicated, the beer was very cold and arrived on-time). There are other alcohol apps like Thirstie, Minibar and Drizly that are also used widely here. For a country so strict regarding alcohol I am surprised the alcohol delivery doesn’t come with a waiver to sign that no one under 21 will be consuming the alcohol. There is a lot of waiver signing here in San Francisco, I carry a pen in my pocket for the sole purpose of waiver signing wherever I go, it usually has to do with my two kids, God only knows what I am waivering away.
In the first few months of moving here when I embraced all the online shopping opportunities with gusto I had visions of never leaving the house again, maybe never leaving the sofa. Like a modern Miss Haversham, housebound in a digital prison.
It’s possible to have a computer or phone by your side binge watch Netflix and iTunes (and believe me although both services are now available legally in Singapore there is nothing like the choice there is here) while ordering all you need online. Having experienced both the ups and downs of shopping via a device I will be more selective in the future; although Amazon Prime is going to be a difficult habit to beat. Excuse me a moment, a package has just arrived. It must be the gluten free, organic, slow-churned, fair trade, non-melting ice-cream that even pets can eat (take note Princess Kate and William), in a biodegradable container that I ordered – it is San Francisco after all! Must dash.