Consumers – myself included – don’t want to wait, and thanks to retail giants such as Amazon and the latest technology, we tend not to have to. In some respects, the process of ordering online has become so quick and seamless that many an idle moment is spent scrolling through store apps making impulse purchases.
Forget consciously planned – and justifiable – expenditure; spontaneous shopping has become a hobby in itself!
Minimum order values for free delivery have long been a staple of online retailers. In the same way that BOGOF and 3 for 2 offers dominate the supermarket aisles, online stores rely on basket-building techniques to recoup their costs.
But what happens when we want things even faster without passing through our front door? This is where Amazon’s Prime Now comes in. Launched in selected UK cities in 2015, and growing ever since, it offers a selection of 1 and 2-hour delivery slots to choose from. A network of couriers deliver brown paper packages (no string in sight!), with “urgent” orders of umbrellas, bottles of water and forgotten birthday presents.
The sheer scale of ambition is something to marvel at; that items can be picked, packed and presented to customers in less than an hour is a masterclass in logistics. It’s a slender glimpse into how the other half live, too – I expect if the Queen wants a new pair of slippers, they’ll be on her feet before she can say “who’s a good Corgi?”
If nothing else, it’s reassuring to know the service is there as a safety net of sorts – should you leave your briefcase on the train or be wholly unprepared for bad weather.
However, it’s not the proposition that interests me most. It is the weird and wonderful items on sale that are deemed by Amazon (and customers!) to be valid inclusions within their speed-service selection.
HERE ARE MY TOP 10:
1. SASCO 2016
I can only imagine this is still available to purchase so Theresa May and Co can look wistfully back to 22nd June 2016 and remember a time before the EU referendum took place, before we had a “strong and stable” government and before fields of wheat were ruined for country folk forever.
Enjoyed the school holidays so much you forgot about term time? Never fear! Prime Now has your kid covered with a random-coloured Pringles Pencil Case ready and waiting to be dispatched. Alternatively, you’ll be sure to impress colleagues at the office with your “once you pop you can’t stop” attitude.
Having been scared witless by the thought of this, I feel there should be an unspoken rule for fancy dress and Halloween parties – if you need to rely on Prime Now for your costume, you needn’t bother coming…