Oh, come on people, really?
Look, it’s possible that my Twitter feed is skewed toward New Yorkers. That’s gonna happen when you’re following (in a clearly non-obsessive, not-at-all-stalkerish way) a whole bunch of publishing industry folk. Publishing is centered in New York, so of necessity, so are agents and editors.
But my feed is absolutely full of moanings and groanings about Bodega.
For those of you who didn’t read the story, there’s a new startup that wants to wipe the mom-and-pop corner store out of existence. How? By setting up jumbo-sized vending machines. That you can only buy from with a cell phone.
What truly boggles my mind is that anyone thought this was a good idea. Even if one ignores the cultural appropriation of the company’s name and in their logo–which is what’s drawing about three-quarters of the ire in my Twitter feed–the concept is utterly doomed anyway.
Small cash transactions are the core of a real bodega’s business. Even if you assume that everyone has a smartphone and a credit card (hint: not valid assumptions), that still doesn’t mean everyone’s going to want to charge their 3 a.m. cigarette purchase. To say nothing of how little profit you’re going to make on that transaction after Visa takes its cut.
And that’s not even talking about booze. Heck of a lot of corner stores live on sales of beer. I don’t see Bodega getting legal approval to stock alcoholic beverages.
The corner store isn’t going away and the value proposition of Bodega just isn’t there. It’s a dead duck. I’d call them the next Juicero, but I’m not even sure they’ll make it as far as Juicero did.
So can we please drop the subject and talk about something more important?
No, the porn picture that showed up in Ted Cruz’ feed isn’t more important. Focus, people, focus!
Even if they could make a profit from product sales, how much will they lose due to theft from, and maintenance of, those giant glass boxes?
And, as several people have pointed out, stocking the darn things would be a horrible logistics problem. And they’re being very quiet about how they intend to handle that problem. it’s not going to be something they can trust to gig workers, but paying actual employees is likely to be prohibitively expensive.