Ex-Googlers Want to Make Bodegas Obsolete—And New Yorkers Are Furious

September 13, 2017, 3:28 PM UTC

New Yorkers generally can’t agree on anything, so when the city collectively comes down hard on your business plan, it might be time to consider a pivot.

That’s the dilemma Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan are facing as word begins to spread about the former Google (GOOG) employees’ idea, which some see as a threat to the city’s bodegas and mom-and-pop stores throughout the country.

Bodegas—grocery stores that can be found all over the NYC area—are invaluable for people who need to dash out for an essential item (or, just as frequently, a deli sandwich).

McDonald and Rajan’s venture, which not-so-ironically is called Bodega, envisions five-foot-wide pantry boxes filled with non-perishable items that can be opened with an app and will automatically charge customers for what they take. The startup has already installed 50 kiosks on the west coast and plans to have over 1,000 nationwide by the end of 2018.

The convenience factor might be nice, but that’s not quelling the outrage on Twitter.

The takeaway from Twitter? If you want to take on big retailers, have at it. But New Yorkers would kill for their bodegas.

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