People Are Roasting The Shit Out Of This Startup That's Trying To Replace Bodegas And Corner Stores

BuzzFeed News Technology 6 days ago

On Wednesday, Fast Company released a profile of a new startup called Bodega that aims to "make bodegas (the IRL kind) and mom-and-pop corner stores obsolete."

Twitter: @FastCompany

The startup was founded by two ex-Google employees, Ashwath Rajan and Paul McDonald.

Bodega / Via fastcompany.com

In case you were wondering, this is what a Bodega unit would look like. It's basically a vending machine you can buy shampoo out of.

Bodega / Via fastcompany.com

In Fast Company article, McDonald explains the project is all about giving people a more personalized shopping experience.

The duo's vision is a bunch of these little customized boxes full of stuff in front of apartments and vending machines:

“Each community tends to have relatively homogenous tastes, given that they live or work in the same place,” McDonald explains. “By studying their buying behavior, we’re hoping to eventually figure out how the needs of people in one apartment building differ from those in another. We could customize the items in one dorm versus the next.”

Of course, the startup is named "Bodega," named for the corner stores typically run by members of New York City's Hispanic and immigrant communities. McDonald was asked by Fast Company if they felt like using that as their name was insensitive:

I asked McDonald point-blank about whether he’s worried that the name Bodega might come off as culturally insensitive. Not really. “I’m not particularly concerned about it,” he says. “We did surveys in the Latin American community to understand if they felt the name was a misappropriation of that term or had negative connotations, and 97% said ‘no’. It’s a simple name and I think it works.”

McDonald may not find anything culturally insensitive about naming a startup after the very institution it intends to replace, but a lot of other people do.

Twitter: @CromerZome

Twitter: @nycsouthpaw

People on Twitter were not exactly thrilled about the idea.

Twitter: @miskeencore

Twitter: @daveexmachina

"To compete with bodegas and also use the ‘bodega’ name is unbelievably disrespectful," Frank Garcia, the chairman of the New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who represents thousands of bodega owners, told Fast Company in their profile.

Twitter: @ShaunKing

Twitter: @BobbyBigWheel

Or as someone on Twitter put it...

Twitter: @TristanACooper

Twitter: @rembert

Also, let's be real, we're talking about a vending machine here, people.

Twitter: @MattSBN

Twitter: @bomani_jones

BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Bodega team for comment.

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