But they're arriving at the doorsteps of time-strapped New Yorkers after a few quick clicks at UrbanFetch.com, a Web-based delivery service. The company recently expanded to London.
UrbanFetch hatched in April 1999 as the brainchild of three buddies who met while working at Goldman Sachs & Co. Ross Stevens, chairman-CEO and president, says UrbanFetch's customers are its strongest marketing tool.
At launch, UrbanFetch offered books, music, movies and food; since then, it has expanded to game software, electronics, beauty items and gifts.
"We have an 80% customer repeat rate and a 98% fulfillment rate; we have the right products in the right time," says Mr. Stevens, 30. He projects revenues in the "mid-eight figures this year."
He attributes UrbanFetch's success out of the starting gate to word-of-mouth and non-traditional media. He says a fulfillment survey found 92% of customers recommended UrbanFetch to a friend.
"That dictates our marketing strategy. The whole game is getting someone on the site," Mr. Stevens says. Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky, New York, handles branding and marketing strategy.
UrbanFetch has focused more on sponsorships than media. It buys banners at popular Manhattan development Chelsea Piers and puts its logo on golf balls there.
Customers can also access UrbanFetch via kiosks at Madison Square Garden and Chelsea Piers.
Orders are delivered by a uniformed courier within an hour of placement, accompanied by fresh-baked cookies and the occasional gift certificate and -- in at least one instance -- a fiance.
On Valentine's Day, a customer got engaged in front of an UrbanFetch delivery person who had arrived at the man's door bearing flowers and chocolate -- that no doubt helped seal the deal.