Social media was in a frenzy on Wednesday after news broke that a new app could totally wipe out all the traditional mom and pop stores that are left in major cities.
According to its website, the Bodega app sets up pantry boxes filled with non-perishable items you might pick up at a convenience store and allows you to unlock the box. Cameras powered with computer vision will then register what you’ve picked up and automatically charge your credit card.
But the public’s reception of the new application wasn’t as warm as the creators would hope. On Wednesday, Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, two former Google employees, addressed all the heat they were getting in a blog post written by McDonald for Medium.com. He wrote, “The name Bodega sparked a wave of criticism on social media far beyond what we ever imagined. Despite our best intentions and our admiration for traditional bodegas, we clearly hit a nerve this morning. And we apologize to anyone we’ve offended.”
McDonald argued, “Challenging the urban corner store is not and has never been our goal. Corner stores have been fixtures of their neighborhoods for generations. They stock thousands of items, far more than we could ever fit on a few shelves.”
As for the name of the app being insensitive to people who see bodegas as part of their community, Paul 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 percent said ‘No, it’s a simple name and I think it works.”
But the seemingly forced apology couldn’t stop the wrath of social media:
Not sure if this is an appropriation issue, capitalism issue or both.