News & Politics

Now Uber Wants to Be Your Convenience Store

The company is using DC to test out a competitor to delivery apps like Postmates.

Uber's new competition. Photograph by Flickr user NCinDC.

Having already upended markets for taxis, ice cream, and long-stem roses, Uber is now attempting to disrupt the sundry market. The app-based transportation company is launching a new experiment called Uber Corner Store, in which its affiliated drivers will deliver items one usually picks up at convenience stores and pharmacies.

Too busy to walk to the nearest CVS? No problem, says Uber. Customers for whom the Corner Store upgrade appears can order off a menu that spans from allergy pills to chewing gum to heartburn medicine to condoms and lube. The items will be picked up by an Uber driver and delivered to the user, whose account will be charged just like an ordinary UberX ride. There’s no set delivery fee, but the company is setting its own prices. (A tin of Altoids, for instance, is $3, while a stick of Degree deodorant will set you back $11.)

For now, Uber says the Corner Store program will only run in DC for a few weeks and only for selected users on weekdays between 9 AM and 9 PM. An Uber spokesman did not say if it will expand outside a few small delivery areas (Most of Northwest, Capitol Hill, H Street, and Navy Yard).

While the company adds on its website that this is still a test, Uber’s aim seems apparent: It wants to compete with companies such as Postmates, whose app will take same-day delivery orders for goods from just about any store or restaurant a user desires. Postmates entered the Washington market in December and quickly took off with the same crowd that made Uber popular. Corner Store isn’t Uber’s first foray into deliveries, either. It’s been testing out a courier service in New York since April. Don’t be surprised if this new experiement turns permanent.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.