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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon announced recently that it’s going to prioritize orders containing “essential items.” The company is also dealing with the fact that some of its warehouse workers are walking out due to disputes over working conditions. Both of these circumstances, combined with a surge in demand for a limited amount of stock, has led to shipping delays of over a month.
Amazon continues to live up to its name as “the everything store,” and should be considered before making many purchases, but if there’s something you need quickly, we’ve found a number of other retailers that are still shipping items within a few days. These sites are still stocked with everything from staples like paper towels and medicine, to work-from-home gear like an external monitor or desk. We’ve also been sure to include places to find music, books, games, and movies in case you’re looking for a welcome distraction.
It’s important to recognize that while these items are in stock and shipping quickly at the time of publication, this could change at any time as stock dwindles, new restrictions get put into place, and demand continues to surge. Some of the larger brick and mortar stores offer free curbside pickup, which would allow you to get the items you’re looking for that day, though that depends on your location and availability as well.
Shipping delays should be expected for the foreseeable future, so if you need something fast, we’ve found some good Amazon alternatives you may not have considered before. The shipping times may vary by item, and expedited shipping may cost an additional fee, but it’s better than waiting around. Here are the best places online to pick up your new essentials.
1. Toilet Paper, Paper Towels and Coffee
Staples is known for its office supplies like printer toner and stationery, but it’s currently one of the few places where you can stock up on toilet paper and massive rolls of paper towels. This six-pack of paper towels offers 3,600 sheets, which should be enough to handle a few week’s worth of spills. Each roll is significantly fatter than an average paper towel roll, so it may not fit onto your rack, but that’s a small inconvenience all told.
Staples has toilet paper available for next-day delivery too. See what’s in stock here. We’ve seen delivery times for toilet paper on Amazon slip as far as May 12th, so this is the clear alternative.
Another surprising find at Staples? The site also stocks pre-ground coffee, which has become increasingly hard to find over the past few weeks.
Boardwalk Center-Pull Paper Towels (6 Pack / 600 sheets per roll), $32.49, available at Staples
2. Pet Food
Need food fast for your dogs and cats? Walmart has hundreds of pet food brands on sale and available for same-day curbside pickup or fast delivery. It’s also the best place to stock up on cat litter, chew toys and pet accessories (think leashes, beds and blankets) if you’re running low or need a quick replacement. Walmart’s “Pet Pharmacy” is also open 24/7 online so you can refill any allergy medications or flea treatments easy and conveniently.
See full selection of pet products at Walmart
3. Cleaning Supplies and Disinfectant
If you’re stocking up on cleaning supplies, Walmart still has Lysol sprays, bleach, and multi-purpose cleaners available as of this writing. They’re all available for in-store pickup or can be delivered to your door.
One thing to stock up on: this highly-rated hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is not a substitute for hand sanitizer, but the disinfectant should be kept on hand to treat cuts, and to wipe down your countertops. Be sure to read the directions on the back of the bottle to use this properly — it needs to be diluted to different degrees based on what you’re using it for.
This food-grade hydrogen peroxide, available at Walmart, is safe for disinfecting produce you pick up from the grocery store too.
Hydrogen Peroxide, $14.99, available at Walmart / See Walmart Cleaning Supplies here
4. Prescriptions and Medicine
This will only apply people with certain medications and certain health insurance plans, but CVS is currently offering prescription deliveries through their app. All you have to do is submit your prescription, and choose a one or two-day delivery using Shipt. The store also has common medicines like Advil and essentials like tampons in stock. Keep in mind over-the-counter drugs are available for delivery.
Amazon doesn’t currently offer a similar pharmacy delivery service, and basic medicines still take over a week to get delivered, so this is a good option. If you can’t get your prescription filled at CVS, it’s also worth looking into whether your local pharmacy offers a similar service.
Get your prescription filled at CVS here
5. Diapers and Baby Supplies
Babies are blissfully unaware of what’s going on in the world, and if you’re a new parent, you’re going to need diapers. A lot of diapers. Now. If you can’t wait over a week to get some from Amazon, we recommend getting some from Honest.
Honest offers diapers in packs of 18 to 35, depending on the weight of your baby. The diapers have a custom “True Absorb Core,” which the company says allows the diapers to absorb 17x its weight in liquid. It’s latex and chlorine-free, and has no additional lotions or fragrances built into it. The diapers’ elastic bands allow them to fit comfortably around your kid, and their “sure-fit” cuffs and fastening tabs prevent blowouts.
The retailer has an entire baby section full of essentials like diaper rash cream and body wash. All orders over $50 ship free. Honest’s diapers get a leg up over Amazon’s selection simply by shipping sooner.
Honest Diapers, $10.95, available at Honest
6. Work From Home Furniture
If you’re working from home for the first time, it’s possible you’re scrambling to create an office space you used to take for granted. You can work from your couch (we’ve got suggestions if you do), but you’ll probably be less productive if you work that way all the time.
The cornerstone of a good home office is its work desk, and Wayfair’s Ermont is a solid choice. It’s 41.5 x 18.5 x 28 inches, and has two shelves on the right-hand side for storage. Its metal legs and manufactured wood top give it a minimalist look that’ll fit in with any type of home decor. The desk ships free and will get delivered in under a week.
Wayfair also has an assortment of bookcases, shelving units, and other work from home essentials which can be delivered within three or four days. Amazon Prime’s shipping perk doesn’t generally offer two-day delivery on furniture under normal circumstances — so you should keep Wayfair in mind any time you’re upgrading your space.
Ermont Desk, $105.99, available at Wayfair
7. Small Appliances
If you’re finding yourself needing to prep food at home but lacking the appliances to do so, consider shopping through Target.
Target still has an assortment of small appliances available for delivery this week including staples like a coffee maker, toaster oven, and microwave. Slipped delivery times show that Amazon has deemed these types of appliances as “inessential,” but that doesn’t mean you don’t need them right now.
Kuerig’s single-K cup coffee machine uses the company’s patented single-use cups to brew coffee without a hassle. While the machines are readily available, K-cups are not, which is why we recommend getting a reusable K-cup and pre-ground coffee.
Keurig Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker, $119.99, available at Target
8. Spare Cables
Cables are the tech accessory nobody thinks about because they’re typically so accessible, but if you only have one, and it breaks in the next couple of weeks, you may be without your phone for a few days (or longer.)
I’ve used Monoprice’s cables a lot over the past few years, and they’ve always been extremely reliable. One of the reasons I use this store is because they have every type of cable imaginable in a wide array of sizes — some of which aren’t even available on Amazon, or won’t ship for over a month.
Whether you need a Lighting cord for your iPhone, USB-C cable for your Android phone or iPad, a MicroUSB cable for your Kindle, or and HDMI cable for your TV, the company has what you’re looking for. I’ve personally ordered from Monoprice during COVID-19, and my order shipped quickly.
Monoprice Select Series High Speed HDMI Cable (6ft), $3.90, available at Monoprice
9. Smart Home Accessories
Home Depot isn’t the first place you’d think of to get smart-home tech, but the store has a lot of it. It stocks everything from the Nest Thermostat and Philips Hue smart lightbulbs to USB outlets and Ring Video Doorbells.
The first three can help reduce your monthly energy bill by giving you greater control over your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system, lighting, and phantom power-sucking phone chargers. A lot of us are going to be spending way more time at home than normal, so any energy savings is welcome.
Ring’s Video Doorbell can allows you to monitor what goes on outside your front door, and sends your phone alerts each time it senses motion. This might not seem necessary when you’re home, but according to one study, burglars prefer to invade homes between 12:30pm and 2:00pm, which is when you’re most likely to be getting takeout or going for a socially distant walk.
We’re highlighting the Nest Thermostat because it’s currently $50 cheaper than usual — this deal won’t last long, though, so you’d better act quickly. Home Depot is currently the only store we’ve seen to offer next day delivery on some items for $8.99.
Nest Smart Thermostat, $199.99, available at Home Depot
Social distancing may be helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but it’s wrecking our collective mental health.
One of the ways people have been coping is to set up virtual happy hours, or other similar gatherings to “get together” with friends and family. It may seem superfluous to lean into leisurely activities right now, but it can actually help you feel more connected to friends and family and less alone.
If you need something fast for your game night this weekend or a happy hour with friends and colleagues, consider these picks, which are all in-stock and shipping quickly from their respective sites.
Amazon halted sales of CDs and Vinyl over a month ago, so you’ll need to look elsewhere to fill your shelves. Luckily, Deepdiscount.com has a large library of physical media — some of which isn’t currently available on streaming services. If you don’t know where to start, consult our authoritative list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Deepdiscount offers free shipping on all orders over $25, and expedited shipping for $5.99.
Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits, $29.76, available at DeepDiscount.com
BooksAMillion is still shipping out orders the day they’re placed (weekdays only), as long as they have the title you’re looking for in stock. I’ve highlighted a boxed set of the world-famous Harry Potter series because the books are lengthy, engaging, and will give you something to read continuously instead of having to hunt for the next title. This boxed set isn’t available in paperback or hardcover directly through Amazon, so you’d have to rely on third-party sellers instead.
BooksAMillion also has a number of board games to play if you’ve got a Zoom hangout with friends and don’t want to spend it staring at one another.
Harry Potter Boxed Set Trade Paper, $63.46, available at BooksAMillion
Note: If audiobooks are your thing, Audible has released 600 free, streamable books for a limited time.
ALSO CONSIDER: Shop Direct
Let’s face it, sometimes we order things from Amazon to treat ourselves. The store’s ability to stock items from virtually every company on the planet makes it really convenient hit place an order, and have it arrive ASAP.
Part of the reason you’re seeing delivery delays on most items is that Amazon didn’t allow companies to send non-essential items to its warehouses for a short period of time. But that stock didn’t vanish; manufacturers held onto it, so in many cases you can get items with faster delivery times by ordering the items you want directly from them.
That applies to tech accessories like headphones, speakers, battery packs, phone cases, computers, or TVs, but it’s not limited to one category. Everything from underwear and socks to mattresses, bedding, and cookware are available this way. Not only are you supporting retailers impacted by COVID-19, but many offer exclusive discounts they may not match on Amazon. Click through our links to see some of our favorite direct retailers to shop right now.
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