The delivery dilemma: Postmates vs. Seamless

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

If you're feeling lazy and are not afraid to shell out some cash, Postmates or Seamless make food delivery from restaurants like Chipotle easy and customizable.

Grace Gannon | Assistant Culture Editor

After a long and stressful day when you’re too lazy to grocery shop and you’re sick of eating from the hot bar at Whole Foods, that’s when you turn to Postmates.

Postmates is the delivery app that can bring you nearly anything you want, unlike the more narrow options available through Seamless. Order yoga pants from LuluLemon or birthday cake truffles from Milk Bar and have them delivered to your door in under an hour. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Postmates couriers roam the streets of D.C. in bikes and cars, waiting to bring you whatever your lazy self desires. Not all superheroes wear capes.

I first started using the app last year when, coming in from a late-night flight, I had no food in my room and did not feel like trying to direct the Dominos delivery man to my dorm on the Mount Vernon Campus.

So, I decided to order a Chipotle burrito bowl through Postmates, which my friend had recommended to me earlier in the year but I had dismissed thinking I would never be that lazy.

With the delivery person’s phone number, I was able to text her detailed instructions for how to find Clark Hall (this function has also allowed me to communicate with deaf couriers.) Thirty minutes later she showed up, simultaneously satisfying my guacamole craving and turning me into a Postmates addict for life.

Now, anytime a weird craving strikes me at midnight and I don’t want to leave my dorm, I can just have Postmates bring me my order of whipped cream, the latest issue of People Magazine and that nail polish remover I’ve been meaning to buy.

Those trying out Postmates should beware, however, of the delivery prices, which vary depending on the restaurant. While Postmates currently partners with more than 30 stores in the area, including Noodles & Company and Melt Shop on L Street, with a $4.99 standard delivery fee, other popular places like Chipotle charge upward of $7.50 for delivery. Postmates also uses “Blitz Pricing” during busy hours, with delivery fees almost twice the cost in normal conditions.

The most I’ve ever spent on a delivery fee is $13 for some Ben and Jerry’s and Diet Coke from Safeway during finals week (whatever stress-eating purchases happen during finals week stay in finals week.)

The app itself is sleekly designed and easy to use, with not too much information crowding the homepage. A map tracker shows you exactly how long until the food is picked up and how long until it’s delivered. The excitement of watching that clock count down to zero nearly makes up for the guilt of watching your bank account balance do the same.

Regina Park | Hatchet Staff Writer

The number of times my friends and I have sat in Gelman Library craving international cuisine and frantically searched the web for vague phrases like “delicious noodles delivery in the District” is impossible to count.

Since my friends introduced me to the handy delivery service app named Seamless, our 3 a.m. craving sessions were never the same.

Getting Chinese food delivered to Gelman at 3 a.m. for six people? $70. The pleasure of slurping chow mein between bites of orange chicken when you would have otherwise gone for a boring crepe? Priceless.

Seamless immediately took the indecision out of the process, streamlining it so we only had to wait about an hour for our food instead of three (two of which would inevitably be spent on the great Mexican vs. pizza debate).

Oh, and don’t forget the special instructions. One of my best experiences ordering on any delivery app was thanks to those nifty special instructions. Sure, you could be boring and just write, “no onions” or “extra cheese.” But why hold yourself back when you can go the extra mile?

Once, when I stumbled home from a rather late night, I asked in the special instructions to “draw me a pretty picture.” Approximately 45 minutes later, my wings arrived along with a drawing of a butterfly scribbled in sharpie on the top of the Styrofoam case.

Seamless will go that extra mile for you. Seamless understands.

On the basis of price, Seamless is the penny pincher of delivery apps ($11 for empanadas plus delivery? Tell me you’re lying!) Although the extra fee varies with distance and the base delivery minimum asked by the restaurant, it’s easily the least exorbitant of any delivery app around (I’m looking at you, Postmates.)

In fact, the beauty of Seamless is in the simplicity of it. As soon as you log into the app, it asks you your address so it can immediately locate nearby restaurants that are open for delivery – or if you so prefer, pick up. Reminiscent of Yelp in its design, the Seamless app is clearly interested in one thing and one thing only: giving you the information you need to order some food.

Seamless also gives you the restaurant’s rating, whether or not it takes coupons, the price range, the distance from your location, a rough estimate of when your food will arrive and the delivery minimum.

Seems like a load of information all at once? Somehow the design of the app condenses everything you need for the best delivery possible into an easily digestible format.

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