In just one day, this “pantry box” company seems to have become the country’s most hated startup.
“Bodega,” an automated retail box, uses cameras and an app to record and charge customers for purchases. The company plans to take on traditional convenience stores and set up shop near offices, apartments, gyms and college campuses.
Two ex-Google employees developed the service and unveiled it on Wednesday. Within hours, it garnered criticism and anger on social media.
Critics railed against the “glorified vending machine” for its potential to undercut actual bodegas and gentrify neighborhoods. Defenders of the physical stores argue bodegas are about community as much as convenience.
In regards to the cultural value of bodegas, the businesses are closely associated with immigrants and first-generation Americans. Some say bodegas allow those families and communities to thrive.
The company founders addressed the concerns in a blog post, saying
How to Automate Video Content Marketing in Under 1 Hour
5 Easy Video Lessons +
Bonus Free Toolkit