This morning, we published a profile of a startup that created glorified vending machines that can be placed inside apartment buildings, dorms, and gyms. The concept itself is fairly benign. The problem was that the founders decided to call it Bodega and use a cat–a nod to the bodega cat–as a logo. To many readers, this immediately seemed like two Silicon Valley dudes had just appropriated a term beloved to many immigrants, while simultaneously creating a business designed to obliterate these neighborhood corner shops.
The ensuing Twitter rage was voluminous and palpable. “Bodega” has been trending on Twitter all day, mostly thanks to people vociferously defending bodegas.
Long live the bodega.
We ain't lettin y'all go nowhere.
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) September 13, 2017
You not getting one magnum, a chopped cheese sangwich and a Dutch from a bodega box foh b
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) September 13, 2017
my bodega owners are yemeni immigrants and the bodega not only affords them a life in new york but also allows them to send money back home
— Jessica Roy (@JessicaKRoy) September 13, 2017
Bodegas are mini community centers, a place to check in w neighbors AND buy conv items. This is stupid. Where's the cat and $1 coffee?!?
— Ron Barone (@R0NMonster) September 13, 2017
Jack Dorsey himself says that he’s digging this new “bodega defense Twitter.”
Bodega-defense twitter is my new favorite twitter
— erica orden (@eorden) September 13, 2017
— jack (@jack) September 13, 2017
There was much thoughtful commentary about why the startup’s name is so offensive. And then, some have done some in-depth analysis about Bodega’s business strategy. This entire chain, from Eater writer Helen Rosner, is worth a read.
What's Bodega's plan for warehousing? How are they going to communicate replenishment orders to their workers? How do the workers travel?
— Helen Rosner (@hels) September 13, 2017
A big source of concern was bodega cats. Where will our cuddly neighborhood felines live and nap without the bodega?
also think of all the bodega cats. bodega cat in my old hood had *2* stores. they want to put him out of not one but TWO jobs
— Tracy Clayton (@brokeymcpoverty) September 13, 2017
But maybe the bodega cats will actually save the bodega?
— AdrienneMariaVrettos (@AdrienneVrettos) September 13, 2017