Like many things that sound too good to be true, there are certain rules and restrictions for Amazon's same-day delivery. They're pretty simple, though, so once you learn the basics you could start getting those smile-stamped boxes at your front door in no time.
Here's how it works. Order an item that qualifies for Amazon same-day delivery before noon, and it will arrive at your home by 9 p.m. Order it after noon and you'll get it the next day. The service is even available seven days a week (except in Boston, where there's no Saturday delivery), but don't expect it to be available on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day or New Year's Day. Other holidays and major shopping days will mean limited availability too.
You'd think that kind of speed would be expensive, but it's really not. If you have an Amazon Prime membership ($99 per year), same-day delivery is $5.99 for orders under $35, but if you spend more than that, it's actually free. Without a membership, you can still take advantage of this fast shipping option, but it will cost a bit more — $8.99 plus $0.99 per item.
So what's the catch? For one, Amazon same-day delivery is available on only about a million items. While that may sound like a lot, it's actually just a tiny fraction of the estimated 253 million products for sale in the company's massive online store [source: Grey]. It even pales in comparison to the 20 million items currently eligible for free two-day shipping through Amazon Prime.
Same-day delivery is also limited to customers living in just 14 metropolitan areas: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. Including suburbs, that's about 500 total cities [source: Chang]. Enter your zip code here to see whether you're eligible; if you're not, you'll just have to wait for those packages the old-fashioned way.