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Delivery app guarantees local products in under an hour

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ariana Mushnick.

Company logo, courtesy of Postmates Facebook page
The Postmates logo. Photo courtesy of the company’s Facebook page.

Step aside, GrubHub. With the delivery app Postmates customers can order anything from a classic Ben’s Chili Bowl hot dog to a new iPhone charger, or even impromptu party supplies.

The app, which came to D.C. in December, promises to deliver any item from local stores to the customer’s doorstep within an hour.

Couriers ride their own bikes or drive their own cars to local restaurants and stores, including those that don’t deliver, to pick up orders at any time of the day. Users can include details right down to which salsa they want in their Chipotle burrito or even request a list of groceries.

Similar to Uber, once an order is placed, the user receives the courrier’s name, phone number and photograph. Customers can also track their deliveries with a GPS map.

Yohan Ferdinando, the app’s D.C. community manager, said customers have ordered everything from pregnancy tests to bottles of champagne.

“You know, it’s not like Star Trek where you hit a button and something just shows up, but being at your doorstep in under an hour, that’s really cool, especially because it’s exactly what you wanted,” Ferdinando said.

Ferdinando said the app was originally created to deliver retail goods and office supplies. But today, 80 percent of Postmates’ delivery requests are for food.

“People started saying, ‘Hey, well if you can bring me a computer or if you can bring me my office supplies in under an hour, often half an hour, why can’t you bring me something that doesn’t deliver? Why can’t you bring me a steak from Smith & Wollensky?’” he said.

Senior Connor McKinney has worked as a courier since February, and said students almost always order food – even when the restaurants are just a short walk away.

“Every, third or fourth order for GW students is Shake Shack and Chipotle,” he said. “People order Chipotle and they live in Thurston.”

The delivery fee can range from $5 to $14, depending on the distance.

“I think we’ve kind of gotten accustomed to having everything right at our fingertips. Now time is just more important to people. They would rather just be able to get everything done quickly, and are willing to pay a little bit more to have their time,” Ferdinando said.

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