Twitter has had a lot to say regarding this “invention” that is looking to get rid of the beloved corner stores. The ironic thing is that they basically dismiss the idea and name it Bodega. You won’t find any bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches here.
If they hadn’t said that they wanted to get rid of the corner stores, then maybe it would’ve been a dope idea. But you cannot diss something that is cultural and then name it that. For lack of a better term, these two ex-Google employees have ventured into a startup in which they expect to make corner stores a thing of the past. Yeah, okay. As someone who worked in her dad’s bodega in New York City, I got a major problem with it.
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.”
What’s even more ironic is that they said that they asked the Hispanic community if they would be offended if the name were to be taken. They didn’t have to ask that question-it goes without saying.
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.”
In case you haven’t noticed, I dislike gentrification with every fiber of my being. In addition, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Twitter has been at it with the best of reactions and in our fashion, we make sure to bring you the very best in Twitter reactions.
Then to actually NAME it "Bodega" after the exact thing they're trying to gentrify & put out of business? Wow. Such disrespect
— Persephone (@ASamantha) September 13, 2017
Weird that they're calling this heinous vending machine "Bodega" and not "Gentrification Box" https://t.co/xPCozclRRD
— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) September 13, 2017
if you replace my bodega with a fucking box i will launch you into the sun
— leon 🐣 (@leyawn) September 13, 2017
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