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Startup Bodega’s glorified vending machines are sparking major Twitter backlash

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.

Jack Dorsey himself says that he’s digging this new “bodega defense Twitter.”

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.

A big source of concern was bodega cats. Where will our cuddly neighborhood felines live and nap without the bodega?

But maybe the bodega cats will actually save the bodega?

ES