Amazon’s Prime Now, which offers two-hour delivery for Prime members, launched in Seattle today. We tried it out.
Early Tuesday morning, I started developing a strong hankering for Sour Patch Kids candy.
I could have strolled down from our office in South Lake Union to one of the many minimarts, or used one of a large variety of grocery delivery services.
But on Tuesday, I had a new option — Amazon Prime Now. The service, available only to those with the $99-a-year Amazon Prime subscriptions, allows for fast delivery of thousands of products. One hour delivery costs $7.99 and delivery in a two-hour window has no added cost.
In the name of research, this technology reporter had to test it out.
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Using the Prime Now mobile app, I selected Sour Patch Kids (240 individual pieces for $12.49), and Oreo Mega Stuff ($2.98, for my nearest co-worker), but needed something else to hit the minimum $20 limit. I threw in a Contigo water bottle to replace one I had lost last week.
The first things I noticed in ordering was that there were way more items available than I had expected, and that the billing automatically adds an optional tip of about 20 percent, which goes to the delivery person, who comes from a pool made up of contract workers and Amazon employees.
You can change or delete the amount.
Another thing to look out for: The two-hour delivery model isn’t exactly what you might expect. Amazon splits the day into two-hour delivery windows beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at midnight. If you order at 10:30 a.m., for example, delivery will come within the noon to 2 p.m. window.
I placed my order at 12:01 p.m. and did not opt for the one-hour service, so delivery was expected between 2 and 4 p.m.
I spent the next hour constantly checking the tracking map on the app, watching to see if the purple pin that delineates one of Amazon’s small warehouses would move toward the red pin where I was.
Amazon has a facility on Ninth Avenue and Lenora Street, just three blocks or so from The Seattle Times office.
At about 2 p.m., a purple dot appeared in the Amazon facility and began moving toward me. I could watch its every movement on the Prime Now app.
My order came to our front desk at about 2:10 p.m., delivered by a driver who had come from the facility. He verified my name, scanned a bar code that confirmed the paper bag had been delivered, then took off.
He had about five more deliveries to make during this two-hour window, many at the nearby Amazon campus. Then he was headed back to pick up orders for the next window.
Two hours later, the Oreos were severely depleted, and I had put a good dent in the Sour Patch Kids.