Thanks to the Internet, activities like “going outside” or “being a productive member of the community” are becoming increasingly optional parts of daily life. When your inner hermit feels like putting on his vampire cape, simple tricks like ordering a pizza or calling in some Chinese are old news, and only make up a small part of a much broader network of delivery services which will keep you fed, bathed, and entertained from the comfort of your sweatpants.
With our quick guide to all the best online services and mobile apps, you may never have to taste fresh air or sunshine again.
Safeway Grocery Delivery/Instacart/Amazon Fresh
First, we’ll take a look at the essentials. Food ranks pretty high up on the list of “things you’ll need to survive today”, and with grocery delivery platforms like Safeway Grocery, Instacart, or Amazon Fresh, you can take all the hassle out of waiting in line at the checkout and have your groceries brought straight into your kitchen by the bagful.
The reason we have so many different services listed is that their availability varies greatly by the region of the country you hail from. If you’re in more rural towns, Safeway Grocery Delivery is going to be your best bet. They have been doing it the longest, and, as such, have the widest maps of serviceability. That said, if you can go with Instacart or Amazon Fresh, the increase in inventory selection is substantial enough that the wait is well worth it.
You can sign into Safeway.com to get started with grocery delivery today (plus, your first delivery is free). Rates go anywhere from $6.99 to $9.99 after that, depending on the delivery window you choose and the amount of food in your cart. Instacart keeps the same fee schedule, and even has the added benefit of same-day delivery, unlike Safeway which requires at least 24-hour notice.
Amazon Fresh delivery is free with a Prime subscription, or variable depending on how much food you order if you’re not a part of the Prime club.
Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu Plus
No wonder Blockbuster went out of business.
Nowadays, you don’t even have to have a cable subscription to amass enough media content to last anyone through the nuclear holocaust. Whether you’re watching from a bunker 100-feet under the surface or just want to veg out on the couch after a long week at work, online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime have massive catalogs of movies, TV shows, and original programming that can reduce even the most stoic individuals into an amorphous blob of blankets and half-eaten Ben and Jerry’s by the time Monday morning rolls around.
Hulu Plus is the cheapest of the three at $7.99 per month, while Amazon Prime works out to about $8.33 every 30 days, but still needs to be paid on a $99 annual basis. Netflix recently changed its streaming prices to account for more content, rounding out at $8.99 per month for the non-4K plan.
Though it shouldn’t come as news to anyone who’s owned a computer in the past 15 years, Amazon is the absolute easiest way to get anything and everything you need in life dropped on your doorstep in two days or less. Lightbulb just went out? Buy a pack of 30 on Prime. Kids need a new backpack, a pencil box, and notebook? Amazon’s got a back-to-school sale for that. What about that obscure Chinese tea that only your bodega on the corner carries?
Yup, Amazon’s got it.
I won’t have to tell anyone twice just how good the deals on Amazon are compared to local stores, and as long as you keep your Prime subscription active, shipping costs are 100% free. A Prime membership also comes with the added benefit of the company’s video service, which means all you’ll have to do is pop on a few episodes of Alpha House while a robot in a warehouse does the heavy lifting.
If you’re lucky enough to live in either Dallas, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, or Chicago, forget about going to to the bars. Who wants to sit in a loud, overcrowded dive with sports matches blaring off the TV when apps like Minibar allow you to order up all the alcohol you can stomach that shows up within an hour or less?
Like pizza delivery for alcoholics, Minibar is a service which will bring any booze you and your Netflix marathon needs to really kick things up to 11 on a Friday night. The selection is plentiful, and as long as you aren’t a total beer or wine snob, it’s likely that their warehouse will be stocked with whatever your heart desires most.
So, we’ve got our food, our movie, and a 2003 Suavignon Blanc poured and ready to go. What’s left?
Toilet paper! Phew, could have been a disaster if we forgot that one. Well, have no fear, because Postmates is here. Postmates is an app and an online portal which gives you the luxury of ordering food from local joints that might not deliver on their own (Chipotle is a standout selection), as well as picking and choosing random essentials for daily living from the Postmates general store. Basics like toothbrushes, ibuprofen, baby diapers and toilet paper can all be tagged onto your burrito order or picked up on their own, all at a price which isn’t more than a few cents more what you’d pay down the street at the local Walgreens.
The delivery fee will vary anywhere between $3.99 and $9.99 depending on how far your house is from the business you order from, while a service charge of 9% will be applied to the total order. Postmates is in 60+ cities in the US now, and growing rapidly.
Working from Home
But of course, how are you going to keep paying for that monthly Hulu subscription if you don’t have a steady income rolling in? Even the laziest among the homebodies still need to put in a hard day’s work, and now with the help of the Internet, there are more ways than ever before to earn a living wage from the seat of your computer chair.
Websites like Elance, oDesk, Freelancing.com, and even Craigslist all have plenty of jobs that you can do without taking your pajamas off. Popular options in these fields include contract gigs like programming, coding, software development, freelance writing, graphic design, and 3D modeling.
With enough contracts and employment recommendations under your belt, you can keep your wallet full and your vitamin D levels to a minimum at the same time.
Whether there’s a blizzard raging on the other side of your window or you only have 17 more episodes of The West Wing left in the queue, going outside is overrated. And now, thanks to the marriage of technology and a plethora of delivery services, almost all the essentials of life can be brought straight to your door in 30 minutes or less.