Amazon Instant Pickup service gives you orders in 2 minutes

It promises to virtually eliminate wait times for the basics.

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David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon's Prime Now usually does the job if you need something in a hurry, but what if you can't even afford to wait a couple of hours? If you happen to live in the right city, you might have that quick fix today. Amazon has launched an Instant Pickup service that lets Prime subscribers grab food and other essentials (and, logically, Amazon devices) at a staffed pickup location within 2 minutes of ordering them from the company's mobile app. You probably won't have an urgent need for an Echo, but this could be helpful if you lost your headphones or want a snack while you're in the area.

The chief limitation? Right now, there aren't many pickup locations. You'll have to live in Atlanta, Berkeley, College Park, Columbus or Los Angeles to take advantage of the service, and it'll only make sense if you're close enough to swing by on short notice. However, these pickup points tend to be on campuses, making them ideal for students -- you can snag a phone charger in between classes.

About the only question is whether or not Instant Pickup will expand much further. It's highly dependent on Amazon having fully-staffed retail presences chock full of basic goods, and there's no guarantee those will spread far when Amazon's attention is currently focused on grocery shopping. For now, at least, this is more of an upgrade to Amazon's existing pickup strategy than a fundamental shift in how it does business.

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