October 11, 2017

By Gonzalo López Martí - Creative director, etc / LMMiami.com

 

  • Some lame Silicon Valley start-up is trying to “turn bodegas into a thing of the past,” to quote its founders.
  • It’s called Bodega: https://www.bodega.ai/
  • You might’ve read about it somewhere.
  • It’s a fancy, mobile phone-operated vending machine.
  • I’m no luddite but I don’t think that bodegas are going anywhere for a while.
  • Bodegas are the cockroaches of the retail ecosystem.
  • The real dominant species.
  • Evolutionary perfection.
  • Purveyors of tacos, pastelitos, arepas, tamales, flowers, money orders, lotto tickets, gossip, babysitting, pirated pay-per-view programming, tobacco, alcohol, firearms.
  • If behemoths such as Walmart and CostCo couldn’t extinguish them, what makes us think that these nerdiots can pull it off?
  • In any case, a little competition will do them good.
  • Mom & pop bodegas I mean.
  • It will push them to try harder.
  • Even the controversy will help them too.
  • It will raise the profile of a retail concept that has become a part of the multicultural fabric of America yet, by the same token, was running the risk of getting too comfortable for its own good.
  • Bodegas are beginning to become wallpaper.
  • Or wall flowers.
  • Speaking of which, it is indeed a funny spectacle to watch how Bodega’s founders managed to alienate various left-wing digerati.
  • The bleeding heart blogosphere is crying wolf, denouncing in a state of hysteria the heartless, callous greed of the Silicon Valley’s nouveaux riche predatory plutocracy.
  • Hey hispters, lemme tell you something: thank you for your feelings, your sympathy and your support, but you know what?
  • Those small businesses you’re trying to protect from the Silicon Valley bogeyman are owned and operated by folks who survived brutal dictatorships, paramilitary groups and armed militias, drug cartels, inept governments, communism and coyotes.
  • They crossed deserts and shark-infested oceans.
  • They thrived in a business environment they were not familiar with in a language they sometimes did not understand.
  • They can take care of themselves no problem.
  • The subtext of the bleeding heart blogosphere is pretty manifest: mom & pop bodega owners are so vulnerable that they need to be protected from the evils of tech capitalism by activistrs out of a coffee shop in Oregon.
  • Vulnerable, stupid, clueless.
  • In short, thank you for your support but, you know what, it kinda reeks of tokenism.
  • Condescension.
  • Well-intentioned condescension, if you will.
  • Post condescension.
  • Condescension lite.
  • But condescension nonetheless.

 

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