Delivering The Goods

3 04 2012

I can see it now. In a few years, my kids are going to quizzically look at me and say, “Dad, you mean you grew up without this stuff? How in the world did you ever manage to survive?”

I know. I did it to my parents once upon a time. But the rate of change just keeps getting faster and faster, and now even the notion of ordering carry-out in a strange town is suddenly made easy with Living Social’s new Takeout and Delivery service.

Although it is currently extremely limited in scope (it was beta-tested in DC late last fall), it will eventually roll out to all of Living Social’s “instant” markets. And lest you Amarilloans get a little drooly here, wipe your mouth, because Living Social does not yet have an Amarillo presence. Maybe one of these days.

But the idea is great, and if you happen to either live or visit the major cities, you’ll now be able to use their latest app to scroll through thousands of restaurants, and place your carry-out or delivery food orders.

And it makes a lot of sense. Without this service, about the best we could do was rely on apps like Urban Spoon, Around Me or Yelp. But this completely raises the bar and brings everyone and everything together in one handy user interface.

Companies like Living Social and Groupon have put local media outlets and related services on notice that competition is now going to come at the national level. Instant deals like those offered by Living Social give users the ability to make extreme impulse purchases, like restaurant deals only available for a few hours. Groupons give a day or so to buy in to the deal du jour. And local firms are left scratching their heads, wondering how in the world they are going to compete.

Hmmm. Let me think about this a second. OK, how about this? Try not thinking locally, and instead focus on developing the next killer app that goes viral.

And national.

Because if I happen to visit DC again soon (and I hope I do!), I sure as heck don’t want to have to try to find a DC service that would do for me what Living Social has already done. Toss in a compelling deal for why I should order carryout from the Thai place right down the street from my hotel, and we have a deal.

I realize that a lot of “shop local” fans rue the day that Groupon and Living Social came along, but this is the new reality. There is nothing stopping anyone from doing likewise. Upsetting the apple cart is the catch of the day.

And now that I have gotten myself hungry while writing this, I just wish we had this service in Amarillo. because I sure could go for some Oscar’s breakfast burritos right about now.

Dr “Eggs, Potatoes & Cheese, Please” Gerlich

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