Seven US cities will get same day delivery today from, but not for free. Casual customers, says Reuters, could pay as much as $18.99 for a computer or other heavier item, but Prime members, who pay a $79 premium per year for 2-day shipping on all orders, get a better deal at $5.99. Baltimore, Boston, Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, DC are the first to test out the service, which will be available for orders placed before 10am in some cities. Residents of Seattle can order same day until 1pm. In the coming months, Amazon will expand to three more cities - Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix.

While "Local Express Delivery" may have been introduced to court instant gratification-centric holiday shoppers, the service will continue after the end of the year. This steps up competition for brick-and-mortar shops, whose last bastion of relevancy was immediate purchase. Girish Lakshman, Amazon's vice president of transportation, believes that customers will now have a viable alternative option besides the last-minute mall visit for a birthday present or book club buy.

Amazon will use courier services Dynamex Inc and A1 for the new delivery plan. Dallas, Texas-based Dynamex is a 24-hour courier service in the US and Canada. A1 customarily covers Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

While comparisons are being made to bubbles that burst in the first Internet commerce frenzy, this business model is more realistic. With a price that will discourage using the same day service merely on a whim, Amazon sits apart from or UrbanFetch. The Consumerist remembered these now defunct delivery sites today, complete with their lack of minimum purchase or delivery charges.

Local Express Delivery is not the only new arrival. The Seattle-based company is altering its two-day shipping policy to cover Saturdays. This change will mean that qualifying Thursday orders will arrive on Saturday instead of Monday.