Random Ephemera

Amazon Prime Now Has Come to Houston, It's Weird and Amazing

Living in the future is awesome.

Years from now, humans will figure out a way to put computers in their brains and fly cars and defeat death, but I'm pretty content to live in the Golden Age of There's an App For That. That I own a device that I can keep in my pocket that does pretty much everything but kill someone and have Internet access at an event with more than 1,000 people is something special, even if we're already numbed to how special it is.

And so it was this week that Amazon brought its Prime Now service to Houston, allowing those of us with a smartphone and an inclination to be lazy the ability to order a limited selection of goods and get them sent straight to our homes or places of business in hours. Amazon isn't the first to offer a service like this, but it's a big move from a company that's already made some of us give up going out to do our non-grocery, non-emergency shopping.

As with any great leap forward, I couldn't help myself but try it out. But what to order?

Obviously you can't have the whole of Amazon at your fingertips, but if you're the type that just needs some snacks, home goods or some Amazon branded electronics, you have a pretty solid selection of choices to choose from. If you're just in the mood for a new book or a comic or a board game well... stop being weird or just accept that the best you're going to do is Thug Kitchen and Monopoly.

Myself? I ordered some ice cream, Oreos for the office snack pile, cereal for my personal snack pile and some socks, because new socks are one of my top 5 favorite things in the world. Unfortunately, one hour delivery is not available in the 77004 zip code, which meant that my 11:45 a.m. order was going to show up during a 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. window.

The app allows you to keep tabs on your delivery, watching as the dot moves on a map closer and closer to you. It's only kinda creepy; I mean, if I'm tipping $5, I feel I at least have the right to silently judge someone's route to my place.

Just before 3:30 p.m., Samantha showed up with my order in two bags, one of them containing my non-frozen goods, and the other, comically large bag holding my single pint of ice cream. Don't get me wrong, I respect Amazon's wanting to make sure my ice cream stayed cold, especially because apparently summer lasts until mid-October now, but it did make me feel awfully silly looking down in the bag.

(They probably weren't supposed to leave the freezer bag, but I haven't decided if my delivery person just forgot or this is an elaborate prank to see if I knew how to dispose of dry ice. Spoiler alert: I don't!)

My ice cream was cold, the items I ordered were the items I received and I didn't even have to pay a delivery fee. Given that I'm already an Amazon Prime member, Amazon Prime Now is a pretty killer addition to the lineup, and a total game-changer for those times you get sick/are too busy to shop/are too hungover to be effective. (Amazon doesn't deliver alcohol, so you're going to have to rely on a different service to keep the party going, but they can drop off some more red Solo cups if need be, so there's that.) I suspect I'll still keep going to the grocery store on a weekly basis, but it's nice to know that on those days where I'm too lazy to go buy toilet paper or mac & cheese or a football that Amazon has my back.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia