This is from my first year blogging:
There are three main things that make our life here easier.
The first thing is available everywhere: Amazon.com. The reason why this is a huge asset is because no one really wants to tote around bags and bags of shopping. Since we live in a doorman building, we order everything we can from Amazon.com. At first we just ordered the bigger stuff- like the 20lb cat food. Then as we settled in, we found ourselves ordering just about everything from Amazon. You don't have to carry anything home, and you don't have to worry about forgetting your bag at Starbucks. We still get stuff from the corner store - here we use Duane Reade, which is like a Walgreens or CVS. But normally that's stuff we've forgotten to order and now need right away (toothpaste).
The second thing is probably available in metropolitan areas: Fresh Direct. This is grocery delivery. I thought at first this would be more expensive, but it's no more expensive than, say, Publix. Plus, there's no toting stuff home. Sure, we could get one of those wire cart contraptions like other people do to go grocery shopping, and we'd only have to go a few blocks for decently priced foodstuffs (but the crowd induced chaos in the store gives me such anxiety! Fairway is a great store, but I simply cannot shop there or I will hyperventilate over the organic food section while people are attempting to squeeze by to get down the narrow isle). We go online, order our groceries, and schedule a delivery. They have sales just like a grocery store would, and they have recipes that you can click on and get not only the recipe but also all of the ingredients you'll need. The first time I did this, I was pulling things out of the box that I didn't recognize! (I now know what a celery root looks like). A lot of people feel like they couldn't shop for vegetables or fruit online. I've not really had a problem with it since their produce is high quality, but they do offer refunds if you're really dissatisfied. We've actually saved a good bit on groceries this way, both on time and in money. I usually order our weekly groceries during a slow time at work during the week- no more roaming the aisles looking for stuff. We also keep to our budget this way. There is a tally at the side telling you how much it will be, and since you're not roaming the aisles, there is no real chance for impulse buys.
The last thing that is a huge asset is Zipcar, which is available in loads of metropolitan areas. We pay a monthly fee and have access to all kinds of different cars. We can pick a location and a car, even a truck if you need it, and reserve it for a block of time or all day. The prices range by hour/per day and are different for each car. The gas is included, and so is insurance (we get non-owner's insurance from our bank USAA to supplement what they have). You can get one of these cars in all kinds of locations. We got one in San Fran when we went there and drove it to Nappa Valley. We took one Zipcar from NY to Delaware for our Individual Ready Reserve duty, and then on to DC. We also use them for short trips, like to go to New Jersey or to take big stuff to or from storage. Some months we hardly use it- other months we use it more. And since there are several different car types, Loving husband gets to "test drive" all kinds of models. The reason why this is better than renting is, basically, every time you rent you have to go to a specific renting place and fill out paperwork. There are a ton of locations for Zipcar, and all you have to do is click on the reserve button. We could reserve a car in London as easily as we could one here. Plus, the gas is always included, unlike rentals where you have to specify that they should fill up and over pay. We really like Zipcar.
These things really make life here more pleasant. I wouldn't complain if they put in a Target or Kohls here. And if someone could tell me, why do they have huge advertisements for Target in Times Square, but there is no Target in Manhattan at all!
Updated: where we live now, I have access to Target and Kohls. Score!