The Juicero was always a contentious product. It launched in 2016 as a $700 Wi-Fi connected juicer designed to squeeze subscription-purchased, pre-cut veggies from a pouch into your cup–at a moment when the average American had less than a grand in their bank account. To many, it was a symbol of the Silicon Valley class designing for its own, insular problems. In Juicero’s case, that problem was, “I’m rich, but I can’t drive thru to get a morning juice.”
Juicero is basically a mini trash compactor that connects to the internet to squeeze bags of juice, and auto-replenish them as they run out. But it wasn’t until we tried Juicero for ourselves that we faced the real silliness of some of its user experience design.
If you think it’s absurd to buy fresh juice that arrives as something that is not juice, know it gets worse. Imagine spending two hours perplexed as to why the door on this silent slab of aluminum won’t stay closed–only to learn that, well, we won’t spoil the video.
In the weeks since this video was shot, Bloomberg reported that Juicero fans have learned that you can actually squeeze just as much juice from the packets by hand as you can with the Juicero machine–a development that has even Juicero’s investors upset. Apparently, Fuseproject delivered a juicer that was over-engineered to squeeze the provided, pre-chewed juice packets with four tons of pressure, even though they require nothing more than a small squeeze.
It’s impossible to know who bears the responsibility here, but one thing seems clear: The Juicero will go down in history as a cautionary tale of Silicon Valley over-design as a result. And as for Juicero the business, the company has signed on to provide juice squeezing in Whole Foods stores across California. Time will tell if it can pivot and survive, now that it’s been exposed as a very upscale Capri Sun for grown-ups.