Today, Google Shopping Express -- Google's gift to hermits, misanthropes and anyone otherwise averse to movement everywhere -- made its way into the cities of New York and Los Angeles. After trying out the service for ourselves, we can finally say with confidence that, yes -- we are all doomed.
Don't get me wrong; using this same-day delivery service was a dream. Anyone who's ever purchased anything on the internet before (read: all of you) should have no problem navigating around the many potential purchases that await. The only real conceivable complaint isn't even really a complaint: The number of choices is absurd. Pretty much every food item, toiletry and sundry you could possibly ever want is just waiting to be Prius-ed over to your doorstep.
After settling on a bag of cookies, it barely took more than three or four clicks before a store-bought bag was scheduled to be driven halfway across Manhattan and hand-delivered to my office. But in that series of clicks, somehow, I'd even managed to sign up for a Google Shopping Express membership without ever actually intending to do so.
The only noticeable warning of my new membership to the club of the inertly gluttonous came in the form of an email congratulating me on my new membership and letting me know that it will renew itself automatically -- and at no cost! After six months, though, all bets are off. And assuming Google will want to remain competitive with Amazon Prime, the annual fee will probably hit somewhere around the $US80 mark. Maybe less to help break into Amazon's turf, maybe more since it is same-day after all.
Of course luring in potential customers with a free trial is nothing new. The terrifying thing here though is that, at least in this case, it's almost certainly going to work. This was, without question, the most absurdly easy way to indulge in laziness that I have ever experienced.
I did absolutely nothing but desire something. It cost me absolutely nothing (first $US10 are on Google). And at 2.23pm, a kind deliveryman walked up four flights of stairs to bring me a bag of cookies. I am a monster, I know. But it still felt fantastic.
For context, I actually enjoy interacting with humans and experiencing sunlight occasionally. There are plenty of people who don't, and surely some of them live in Los Angeles and New York. And with same-day delivery toilet paper at your disposal, it has never been easier to give in to your worst impulses. It's Shipping: The Drug.
Imagine, if you will, a time not too far from now. Where even in the heart of New York City, the only sound for miles is the gentle hum of hundreds of Google-branded Priuses zipping off to appease the masses' whims. Google delivery bags tumble slowly through the empty streets in tangled masses more reminiscent of rat kings than tumbleweeds.
Inside, people sweat anxiously, awaiting the doorbell's buzz. A few grunts to acknowledge the human in front of them give way to panting as they make their way back to the couch. Winded and drenched in sweat, they eat the cookies.
All this and more, coming to a city near you.