In many major cities, using bike messengers and services like Seamless can be a daily occurrence. Add in less-specialized services like TaskRabbit, and the odds of getting nearly anything delivered are in your favor. But for those random errands that pop up without a moment's notice, the recently launched iPhone app Postmates can be a big help. Currently available in NYC, San Francisco and Seattle, the service connects you to an actual person—with a cellphone number—allowing you to purchase lunch, groceries, office supplies or any number of other things from any Foursquare-recognized location in the approved area. And delivery within the hour is all but guaranteed.
Within seconds of placing an order we were informed of our "Postmate" and given a look at his current GPS location. From here we were able to track his progress towards the destination and then to CH HQ for delivery, all the while being given relatively accurate ETA updates. As we mentioned, there are other companies that provide a similar service, but the ability to accurately watch the progress of your delivery gives Postmates a critical bump.
Once your delivery arrives, a swipe of the finger on your Postmate's phone completes the transaction. Cost is determined by an algorithm weighing time, distance and location specifics, plus the price of your item. And if you'd like to tip your delivery person, there's an option for that as well. All in all our experience was positive. Even when our Postmate couldn't find what we sent for, not only did he call us—as did the San Francisco-based HQ—he even went to a second location to try to find what we were after, without being asked to.
Postmates is currently available in NYC, SF and Seattle. Download the Postmates iPhone app for free from iTunes.