Vending machine startup hopes to put bodegas out of business

I see how much businesses the vending machines get in our airport terminals vs. the stores and carts - they’re a niche market at best.


So its a vending machine, except its attached to the Internet and that makes it MAGIC.

I wonder what the Venn diagram overlap is between people who shop at Bodegas and people who have credit cards?


Already out there… We’ve got one in our office. Guy comes by 2x per week to restock.


There does seem to be a bit of cognitive dissonance going on here, though – when fancy vending machines are reported on as existing in Japan, they are generally viewed with awe as a “wonderful thing” that we don’t have in the US. But aren’t those Japanese vending machines hurting Japanese small businesses as well?


So why worry about them - if they never take off in a massive way, they are unlikely to cause any major disruption, no?


Clearly - for my portfolio.


I think the outrage is mostly about how out of touch these guys are. The bodegas they want to destroy are pretty important and often beloved parts of a lot of communities. I used to stop at a Bodega on my way to work to buy terrible coffee and a piece of fruit every morning and I miss that now (I moved).

I think somebody else has it right. These guys don’t actually intend to do the hard work of building a business that would mostly be boring old logistics. They are building a technology piece that can be aquired by somebody that actually makes products.


If it doesn’t dispense individual cigarettes for 75¢, I doubt it will affect the bodegas in my neighborhood.


So it’s basically just yet another “disruptive” technology idea which is actually just doing something that has been done for centuries - only not as well.

I particularly love this kind of thing:

In his [that is - Mr. McDonald’s] initial observations of consumer behavior, he’s noticed that people seem to enjoy learning about new products. “One woman in a dorm stopped by the Bodega every day for a packet of microwave popcorn,” he says. “On day three, she picked up nail polish remover, and on day four, she picked up a cookie. This happened because she was coming into contact with these products every day.”

Such stunning insight into the retail experience. I’m sure corner shops and supermarkets will be thrilled to learn this.


Its likely that these vending machines will have pretty limited items for sale. What about alcohol? Hot coffee? sandwiches? etc, etc. A corner store has the ability to offer a better selection because they have the luxury of space. A vending machine is likely to be a little bit useful for certain items but i could not see myself using one anyway if my apartment complex had one of these machines.


I think you are right about the source of the outrage. But the “these guy want to destroy the bodegas!” line is very much a conjecture borne out of a collective tribal disdain for Silicon Valley. The invention is a glorified vending machine with a couple of extra bells and whistles in the payment and demand-responsiveness areas. It does not intend to replace the social aspect of buying miserable coffee from a friendly local face and it fundamentally cannot. If bodegas do start going under en masse as a result, it will be because the customers don’t actually care about that aspect enough to inconvenience themselves by not frequenting the machines.

Also, to the degree that the outrage spreads their publicity - you have been played.


Aye. But they can be open 24/7 without charging a premium for that.


You do realize that lots of people with high skills end up working menial jobs like this, too? The meritocracy is a lie.


Likely the application will very limited if allowed–i.e., only on possibly competing systems. Possibly an easy challenge in court if someone wants to.

PS–I’m from Boston, so I think I will implement a competing system called “CornahStoah”.


Yes, but this way you need to have a good credit score and a bank account to buy trivial stuff. So there’s an upside.

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I would love to see an idea like this on Dragon’s Den. I can’t imagine what someone like Duncan Bannatyne would make of it.

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Do they? It’s somewhat tautological to me that if you have high skills (and wish to put them to use!) you don’t have to take up a menial job. If you are forced to take a menial job, then you don’t have the skills.

I understand that in the US this is somewhat distorted by the incarceration rates and resulting complications for ex-convicts. But that’s more of a criminal justice problem than anything having to do with technology. Ditto lousy economic policy resulting in high unemployment.

EDIT: I have been persuaded that my line of thinking on this is incorrect. The categories of people unable to put their skills to economic use for various reasons outside of their control are too vast.

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I don’t think their little cabinet of items will easily replace a full bodega’s inventory. How much time will the restockers have to spend feverishly dashing around San Francisco and back to the warehouse for more stock. Imagine the out of stock alerts pinging the poor restocker’s cellphone.

Also, I can easily imagine bodega owners buying these machines for their bodegas, or for prime locations near their bodegas. Similar to RedBox machines that are often operated by the old video rental store owners.


Well, then you are wrong. :slight_smile:


Fancy vending machines are fine .

laser-guided effort to disrupt a vulnerable small businesses model that has well-established “positive externalities” for communities


internet of shit


the smarmy narcissism of Silicon Valley


the problem