a happy young millennial uses a 'bodega,' a new connivence machine made by two former google employees
Photo: Fast Company

Two Tech Idiots Gentrify Bodegas With a Glorified Vending Machine

There are some mornings when that smell of breakfast meat and fat hit your nostrils and you just know you have to step into that fine spot on the corner for a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. For a fiver, you can get yourself a delicious breakfast sandwich, a coffee, a loosie and a bottle of water to start your day right. Then there are some mornings when you check your newsfeed and lose every ounce of faith you had in humanity because hipsters don’t know how to leave anything tf alone, including the sacred bodega.

As reported by Fast Company, two former Google employees, Paul McDonald and Ashwat Rajan, came up with a fascinating idea. They made a vending machine, folks. Yes, a vending machine that will make every rich NYU kid and trust fund baby’s dicks a little wetter. And guess what they called this vending machine? The fuckin Bodega.

The Silicon-Valley version of  a Bodega is a five-foot wide glass box filled with daily essentials that could also be picked up by simply walking one block over to your local convenience store. What got Bodega its investor money are some technological gimmicks. Customers unlock this glass box with an code from an app, a camera inside the box identifies what one picks up and then the customer’s credit card is charged. The box also has AI ,which can figure out what are the most purchased items in the area its servicing and change its stock accordingly.

Wow, mind blowing stuff right here. Once again, how is this not just a overpriced vending machine and how the fuck is this even called a Bodega?

If there is no alcohol, Dutches, actual cats, quarter waters, honey buns, handballs or any other item I actually need as a resident of a city then this cannot be called a “bodega.” And it especially can’t be a bodega if there isn’t your friendly deli man selling you those dollar Backwoods under the counter.

Unfortunately, this Bodega has actually been up and running for the past 10 months in 30 locations throughout the Bay Area. Of course it has been tested in places like dorms, apartment lobbies, offices and gyms. I guess that’s the type of crowd that is too scared to step outside and go to a real bodega anyway.

McDonald said the company will unveil 50 more Bodega locations on the West Coast and he hopes to have a thousand more glass boxes set up by the end of 2018.

“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,” McDonald told Fast Company.

Get the fuck outta here! Come on, bro, you really think bodegas won’t be necessary? Maybe in this weird bubble of affluence you live in where every single building is a condo or dorm filled with lazy af rich kids. As if Bodegas are going to pop up in five-floor walkups with no elevators or the projects.

And more importantly, this whole concept of shopping convenience, whether it be bourgeoisie vending machines or Amazon Fresh, is exactly the type of shit that kills gentrifying neighborhoods. These two say they did a survey in the “Latin American community” to see if naming their product Bodega was insensitive and 97 percent of the respondents said “no.” But maybe a better question is, “How do you feel about this idea that could possibly hurt small businesses in your community?”

It’s incredible how rich folk want to move into ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn or the Bay Area, but not support the very businesses that made the community attractive to them in the first place. Instead of ordering your groceries from Amazon, how about going across the street and supporting the community that you are now a part of whether you like the ice cream truck jingle or not. When wealth comes in, the rents go up, and these businesses need the support.

There are very real effects to this. McDonald and Rajan should take a trip to New York, take the A Train up to Washington Heights and see what real Bodegas are going through right now.

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