It’s eBay Now or never!
San Francisco was fantastic. Napa was amazing. I actually got a little bit of a tan on my face and a tiny bit of color on my chest when I wore a v-neck T-shirt to the beach. This just would not happen in February in England. So, yeah, it was tons of fun and the best surprise birthday gift ever. I’ll happily turn 30 again.
What I really want to talk about is this new venture from eBay. The iOS app, eBay Now, boasts items from a whole load of stores “from your phone to your door in about an hour.” My sister regaled me with stories about the service–running shoes delivered to her house, replacement ear pods sent to the coffee shop where she was hanging out. All within an hour.
You should try it while you’re here, she said. I said I would and then promptly forgot about it, drunk on sunshine and fresh air and sourdough bread.
We had four bottles of wine to bring back from our Napa trip and because Scott was going on to a conference somewhere else in the US, I was relegated to wine mule. I had done a bit of shopping but not nearly as much as I normally do. For the first time ever, I did not have enough clothes to properly pad the wine bottles.
Because Scott had so generously upgraded my flight back to London (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I found this guy on the Internet! Like so many other wonderful things in life!) I could now check three bags for free. THREE bags. 23 kilos each. That’s like 150 lbs of mostly new things!
On Sunday–our last day in California–we packed our luggage, wrapping the bottles of wine in plastic bags and T-shirts. (If you’ve been to San Francisco, you’ll know that plastic bags are not easy to find in that town. So we had two plastic laundry bags from the hotel and a random plastic bag with ripped handles.) Even with the wine, there was also still quite a bit of space in the bags. The glass bottles would not survive the transatlantic flight. No way.
So I experienced another travel first. I was actually taking clothes off to fill the bags, rather than putting layers of clothes on to get the bags under the weight limit.
The bottles were still not secure enough.
“If only I had time to go shopping,” I mused. “I could get more stuff since I can take three bags now. Of course I’d have to somehow get a third bag first.”
“Cait,” Scott said, in that voice. “It’s an allowance, not a target.”
“Target? Did you say Target? Can we go to a Target?”
We did not have time to go to Target. We agreed bubble wrap would be best. It would take up space but not much weight. Sensible. (Also, when we got to my sister’s house for breakfast, I did a quick search of her place for extra luggage. Nothing. So I wouldn’t have had a third bag anyway.)
It was 9:30 am on a Sunday. Most stores were not open yet. I also had no idea where to find bubble wrap in the city. I told my sister we’d have to stop somewhere on the way to the airport. She suggested we try eBay Now. Or maybe I remembered it on my own. Not sure. I was busy eating as much sourdough bread as possible.
I pulled up the app and searched bubble wrap. Wow, you guys. More stores sold bubble wrap than I thought. I chose Home Depot since they had the biggest range of sizes and prices. The minimum spend with eBay Now is $25 so I was stumped as to what else to get, until my sister mentioned needing a travel adapter for an upcoming business trip. Brilliant! Home Depot has those.
In less than two minutes, I had ordered bubble wrap and an adapter. I was so excited watching my order progress on the app. A valet was assigned, then at the local Home Depot, then on her way to us. I knew the valet was a woman because she had sent a text to the phone number I put in the app introducing herself, so I could be kept up-to-speed through the app or the texts. Brilliant, brilliant!
Within 45 minutes, the valet had arrived at the doorstep with my order. You can pay by credit card or PayPal upon delivery. While eBay Now is in beta, the delivery charge is only $5. (Which is so worth it in San Francisco. Have you seen those hills? I wouldn’t want to walk or park on them any more than absolutely necessary.)
Our valet was very friendly and didn’t mind my questions: what would have happened if that particular bubble wrap was out of stock? (Answer: She would have called me to check that a different brand was acceptable. I would have gotten bubble wrap, no matter what. No worries!) What if I needed to return the adapter? (Answer: No problem! A valet would come pick it up and return it, as long as it was within 14 days of the original order.) What sort of stuff have you delivered? (Answer: All sorts of things from diapers to flat-screen TVs!)
eBay Now is only in San Jose, San Francisco and New York City at this stage, but if you’re traveling through those cities at any point, use this service! I’m just sorry I did not use it earlier in the trip. I could have purchased so much more! Like a third bag.
The bottles of wine were kept safe and sound during the door-to-door 15 hour journey. The same cannot be said for the bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup I forgot to secure in bubble wrap. There goes £6 on a replacement bottle from ripoffamericanexpats dot com or something like that.
(This post was absolutely not sponsored by eBay Now. I just like it that much.)