As of yesterday, Amazon.com is offering a service called Prime Now, which will offer one- and two-hour delivery services for those in the area.
This program will be beneficial to students, especially to those living on campus or without vehicles.
Most of South Tampa, downtown Tampa, New Tampa, Ybor City, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Apollo Beach and Plant City are covered with the service. USF is thankfully available for the two-hour delivery service.
Prime Now includes tens of thousands of items for delivery. These include groceries, household supplies, video games, health care items, office and school supplies, pet food and more.
Instead of catching a bus to the Fletcher Wal-Mart, students can order groceries from their apartment and know they will receive the items in less than two hours.
There is even an option for one-hour delivery for a slight upcharge of $7.99. Students just need to go online or download the Prime Now app to see which zip codes are available for the service.
A more limited alternative, the app "Shipt" allows students to create a grocery list of items from grocery stores like Publix. The service is also $99 per year, but the selection of items is smaller than that offered by Prime Now.
The question that remains to be answered is how this will work with the USF mailing system. Students that order items online often do not receive them upon their immediate arrival due to the slow nature of USF mail.
With items like perishables, this kind of delay will not work. It will be interesting to see how USF adapts to the new delivery system in order to allow students to benefit from the service.
Publix charged customers $99 for an annual membership and kicked off the program August 4. Prime Now is exclusively offered to Amazon Prime members.
However, standard customers can be included in the service for a $99 annual membership.
The good news? Students are offered a special exemption. By signing up with your student email you receive a free six-month trial which includes not only free two day shipping on most Prime products online, but also unlimited photo storage, movie and TV show streaming and free music streaming.
Once those six months are up, students are offered an annual membership for half the regular price. For $49 a year students can buy and rent textbooks, stream movies and now order groceries to their door.
Delivery services like Prime Now are a great way for students to fully experience college life. They can pull all-nighters and rush to exams without having to worry about an empty fridge.
While taking a bus to local stores is an option, this takes time. The time spent waiting for the bus, shopping and returning can now be dedicated to studying, working out or spending time with friends.
Let’s be honest, students tend to procrastinate in every aspect of their lives. Does the car need gas? Students will wait for the gaslight to come on. Is an assignment due at midnight? Better get started at 11:30.
Now when they realize the fridge is empty, they can have it restocked in two hours without having to leave campus.
When you realize you have an exam that afternoon and never picked up a calculator or pencils you won’t have to run to the bookstore and pay triple what it’s worth just to be prepared for class. Instead, you just go online and it will be at your door in plenty of time to take the test.
Textbooks are not available yet for the quick delivery, but other study materials are — like exam prep books and study guides.
Prime Now is a major benefit to those living in the Tampa area and will be sure to ease the lives of college students.
Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.