Wednesday, September 13, 2017

About Bodega, a start-up that aspires to be the new neighborhood market


[At the former Golden Food Market on 7th and 1st]

A story today at Fast Company that may be of interest... From the article, titled Two Ex-Googlers Want To Make Bodegas And Mom-And-Pop Corner Stores Obsolete:"

Paul McDonald, who spent 13 years as a product manager at Google, wants to make this corner store a thing of the past. Today, he is launching a new concept called Bodega with his cofounder Ashwath Rajan, another Google veteran. Bodega sets up five-foot-wide pantry boxes filled with non-perishable items you might pick up at a convenience store. An app will allow you to unlock the box and cameras powered with computer vision will register what you’ve picked up, automatically charging your credit card. The entire process happens without a person actually manning the “store.”

Bodega’s logo is a cat, a nod to the popular bodega cat meme on social media – although if the duo gets their way, real felines won’t have brick-and-mortar shops to saunter around and take naps in much longer. “The vision here is much bigger than the box itself,” McDonald says. “Eventually, centralized shopping locations won’t be necessary, because there will be 100,000 Bodegas spread out, with one always 100 feet away from you.”

And...

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.”

But some members of the Hispanic community don’t feel the same way. Take Frank Garcia, the chairman of the New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who represents thousands of bodega owners. Garcia’s grandfather was the head of the Latin Grocery Association in the 1960s and was part of the original community of immigrants who helped settle on the term “bodega” for the corner store. “To me, it is offensive for people who are not Hispanic to use the name ‘bodega,’ to make a quick buck,'”Garcia says. “It’s disrespecting all the mom-and-pop bodega owners that started these businesses in the ’60s and ’70s.”

Bodega began trending on Twitter this morning...






Updated

NcDonald addressed the backlash and offered an apology in a follow-up post on Medium.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fuck this, man! Fucking evil.

Anonymous said...

Oh but the focus group results say its ok. thank god for focus groups, thanks to them we can circumvent any and all potential problems amiright? how can you say I'm being culturally insensitive? i have focus group results!

Anonymous said...

Terrible.

Ronnie said...

Absolutely NOT... I'm so loyal to my local bodega and it's owner who is from Yemen and i know his children and now his grandchildren that i would never shop at any other bodega! this heinous "start up" is only for people that walk into a bodega and pick up items, purchase them, yet all the while talking loudly on their cellphones and never acknowledging nor looking at the bodega owner/worker...

Anonymous said...

This sounds horrid.

olympiasepiriot said...

My favorite contribution on Twitter was this: https://twitter.com/BrandyZadrozny/status/908000210399440896

Scroll up and down.

What a fucking stupid idea.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a rip off of an iconic name and it's cat.

Anonymous said...

Decent enough idea (for those with a credit card) really sloppy branding and flat out evil intent who starts a business with the idea of wiping out mom and pops uggg, what a nice splat of "disruptor" hubris wonder what community they did the survey in? 97% i call bullshit, if the plan was to to bring affordable healthy nutritious food to the food deserts then maybe and it's a big big just maybe the appropriation of the term bodega wouldn't be met with quite so much Nope. and this idea wouldn't be so distasteful

sophocles said...

What I would really like to see replaced are my overpriced doctors and dentists. Man do they need disrupting.

dja said...

Is this a plot by 7-Eleven to make them seem less awful?

Anonymous said...

Watching people on Twitter freak out about this is laughable: you can't police what people call stuff. Also, this is the dumbest idea ever and will fail.

Giovanni said...

It's not a Bodega, it;s a Bro-Dega. And dont you dare ask it to sell you any loosies or for a quart of milk on an IOU. Those machines are for Bros who charge even the most minor purchase on their phones and never carry cash. If only these Google geniuses had just called ther silly boxes a Bro-Dega everyone would have laughed and they would have no problems. Instead they will have the people out with their torches and pitchforks looking to have the boxes removed. Every tagger and vandal in the neighbohood will be looking for these to make their mark. If only they had Googled "bodega" instead of having a focus group, maybe they would have understood the issue of gentrification that they are only helping to accelerate.

Anonymous said...

I have been saying this for the past few years in regards to the dick wads making money in Silicon Valley, they have zero imagination, don't actually create anything new but instead look for other business models to "disrupt" (a word they love to throw around) by inserting their lazy asses between such business owners and their customers to get a cut of the action. The mob was famous for shaking down mom and pop businesses in this way and that was considered illegal. Today it's been labeled the "sharing economy" when it is really the "extortion economy".

Look at Uber, they have devalued the taxi medallion in NYC cutting it's by 50%-60% Air B N B cheats cities out of hotel taxes. Luxury online market 1stdibs does the same to it's dealers by demanding a 15% commission one all items sold via contact with that website.

Until someone in city, state or federal government puts a stop to this bullshit the little guy (globally) will get the shade down from these new tech mobsters and independent businesses will keep on disapproving.

The reason lame fucking ideas like "Bodega" can work is because a generation has been raised to only think about themselves and their urgent need for immediate gratification. A generation which rather communicate via the cell phone than have to interact with another human especially if that human is a stranger. The social stunted geniuses of Silicon V are creating a society and economy in their own image. Heaven help us.

cmarrtyy said...

The research was done at a highway rest stop. Forget them. They are using the stupidy for publicity. Don't waste anytime hating on them. They love it.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to out-compete existing businesses. It's how better mousetraps end up getting built. If they offer me better products and prices, I'll shop there as will many others. Not that there will be much danger of that at all, since it sounds like a stupid idea and even in the unlikely event it gets off the ground, it will probably crash faster than most meteors.

Also, this idea that words, fashions etc can only belong to certain races is just preposterous, stupid and actually quite racist in its own right.

Walter said...

"But some members of the Hispanic community don’t feel the same way" The contempt and dislike crosses ethnic boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Giovanni for the win!

"Bro-Dega" is genius! They are seriously considering changing their name right now.

Anonymous said...

@Giovanni: Quick, trademark "Bro-dega" before these fuckers can get their hands on it!

@4:16pm: I agree with your comment 1,000%.

JQ LLC said...

These ex-google hipshits are asking for a riot. When these start to appear on corners and in all those storefronts that have been locked and gated down for years, they will surely get it. (What happened to "don't be evil")

There is a strange sociopathy about these two maggots. They obviously want to enrage people and fast company doesn't even challenge them. Hell, there should be a video interview with these maggots just to see their expressions explaining their demonic concept.

And what about the obvious inherent racism in their plan to "disrupt" and make "obsolete" the corner store. Hey, here's something for de Faustio's enlightened cocktail party racism committee to tackle.

Bro-dega is absolutely apt. Better hurry up and license that, because the tech maggots will steal it. That's all they do, they steal. Or is that co-opt?

Die Tech And Hipster Scum

Anonymous said...

I have to install an app and register my credit card to pick up a can of chicken broth ? I'm sure senior citizens will love this store.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of when Whole Foods start to sell chopped cheese sandwiches from a cart named 1492.

A bodega isn't just about selling grocery items: it was a community hub where residents and neighbors congregate and gossip and talk about each other's lives, current events, and whatnots. It also served a de facto community watch dog.

And this thing these tech bros are trying to implement is not new. There's already one in Sweden. So they're doing nothing original,extraordinary, or revolutionary. Just another tech millenial hipster with too much time and money in their hands.

Tone deaf.

Giovanni said...

I Hereby trademark, copyright and service mark the name "Bro-Dega™ © ®" for use on any and all products and services worldwide, including vending machines for last minute purchases of SantaCon outfits, yoga pants, and tattoo removal kits, and other items not typically sold in traditional Bodegas so as not to put them out of business. And i forbid the Google Hipshits (Hipshit ™© ® by JQ LLC) from stealing this brand name becuase the last thing the EV and the world needs right now are any more greedy, dumbass, wannabe billionaire "disruptors."

Anonymous said...

It is an interesting concept in vending, but calling it Bodega is heinous. It is not a bodega. Are they going to trademark the name and forbid real bodegas from calling themselves bodegas? Sheesh! I said sheeeeeesh!

afbp said...

it's a joke 😀

Anonymous said...

Hideous. The good thing about the backlash is that it's almost certain to derail this awful idea. I don't see it catching on, but it's scary to think that someone thought it would. I wish these types would go away, not just from NYC, but from the world. They obviously don't want to be here anyway, all they seek to do is eliminate human interaction.

Anonymous said...

Most NYC people are pretty satisfied with the old-world "bodega" model, and it's certainly not going to be improved upon by some automated box. In fact the bodega is one of the few remaining uniquely NYC charms in the city and I doubt that anyone is looking for a modernized, electronic, app-based re-invention of it. In other words, a classic case of trying to re-invent the wheel.

Anonymous said...

There is already a name for this sort of thing: vending machine. They have existed for a long time, even if past versions did not employ smartphone apps, or "cameras powered with computer vision" (whatever the heck that means).

Vending machines have already entered the tech age. You can buy big-ticket item electronics at the ones at airports. There is a giant Best Buy machine at 23rd and 6th that sells thousands of different items.

I'm not seeing what's so newfangled about this "Bodega" concept.

Maybe it's better suited to communities that don't have 24-hour stores. We on the other hand have plenty, and I'm pretty sure their selections beat whatever these "Bodega" boxes can squeeze in.

Anonymous said...

I blame Tay Tay for this.

Anonymous said...

Bro-dega..👀

sophocles said...

Unfortunately Giovanni someone registered brodega.com in 2006. Go figure.

Eden Bee said...

Do they take food stamps?

Anonymous said...

"Do they take food stamps?"

No, but they'll be taking UBI credits (which is really just the same thing).

Gojira said...

http://nypost.com/video/bodega-workers-clap-back-at-the-company-that-wants-to-put-them-out-of-business/

Saturated E. said...

Not necessarily unique to NYC but otherwise point well taken.

Gojira said...

https://finance.yahoo.com/m/760bd6b3-b021-3132-be25-676e7063856d/ss_bodega-investor%3a-i-didn%27t.html