New App Threatens Bodegas And Twitter Is Not Pleased

Marco Green
September 13, 2017

"We could customize the items in one dorm versus the next". For the millions who call New York City home, the relationship with their corner bodega is special and unwavering; after all, your local bodega knows just how you like your chopped cheese.

Some Twitter users compared the concept to a vending machine.

In the Fast Company article, McDonald is quoted as saying they did surveys in Latin America asking if the name "bodega" was a misappropriation, and he said the survey's results indicated it wasn't. But now, a few former Google employees are hoping to create a way to replace that store with an app and a vending machine, thus planting the seed for the next thing Millennials could potentially be blamed for killing. When a bunch of Puerto Ricans starting calling [their stores] 'bodegas, ' they didn't intend them to be vending machines.

The machine - a roughly five-foot-wide box with a glass doors - is stocked with non-perishable convenience-store fare. If you want to take on big retailers, have at it.

God, McDonald and Rajan definitely earnestly beseeched their audience of investors to "think outside the box", didn't they? However, plenty of people have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with the startup and its aim at the demise of neighborhood staple bodegas primarily run by immigrant communities.

Of course, actual NY bodega owners are none too excited about being replaced by robo-kiosks.

I asked McDonald point-blank about whether he's anxious that the name Bodega might come off as culturally insensitive.

For the company unoriginally named after actual bodegas to position convenience as something that allows those who benefit from whiteness-including "acceptable" brown folks (I see you, Rajan)- to not have to interact with immigrants and people of color to get a pack of rolling papers or Cheetos or whatever is racist and gross.

Is there actually a chance of this start-up displacing real bodegas in New York City? "It's disrespecting all the mom-and-pop bodega owners that started these businesses in the '60s and '70s".

Aside from inquiring about the name, Fast Company didn't pose a question about running mom-and-pop stores and bodegas out of business to the Bodega founders-maybe because it's already too late.

There's also the fact that the Bodega concept is clearly marketed toward folks who are already in fairly privileged positions.

The duo has been testing 30 such "bodegas" in the San Francisco Bay area and announced it plans on opening a total of 50 by on the West Coast - with designs for more than 1,000 nationwide by the end of 2018, the Web site reported.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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