A startup has caused Twitter to show its claws.
Their product is a 5-foot-wide pantry, controlled by an app, that stores non-perishable items one would find in their local convenience store.
Ashwath Rajan and Paul McDonald, who founded the startup, would like to install the pantries in apartment buildings, offices, dorms and gyms.
They’re also calling the product “Bodega” and the logo is a cat.
Bodegas, which take their name from the Spanish word for grocery store, cellar or warehouse, are corner stores commonly ran by New York City’s Latino and immigrant communities.
Aside from selling milk, diapers and delicious breakfast sandwiches, they oftentimes house a cat. The stores are also typically viewed as the heart of immigrant neighborhoods, where employees know the names of all their customers and vice versa.
can it argue with me about the world baseball classic— Rembert Browne (@rembert) September 13, 2017
can it hold one of my spare keys
can it put 6 sugars in my coffee
no it cannot
With this in mind, Fast Company asked McDonald if he felt that using a name like “Bodega” for a product that aimed to make real bodegas obsolete was culturally insensitive.
“I’m not particularly concerned about it,” he responded. “We did surveys in the Latin American community to understand if they felt the name was a misappropriation of that term or had negative connotations, and 97% said ‘no’. It’s a simple name and I think it works.”
Many people on Twitter disagreed, causing the word “Bodega” to trend on Wednesday.
Wealthy tech bros are so uncomfortable interacting w working class POC that they think a glorified vending machine is better than a bodega. https://t.co/wPWhfkwBrx?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313— vero bayetti flores (@veroconplatanos) September 13, 2017
what kind of level 9 gentrification https://t.co/dJTOqvPPsO?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313— no (@miskeencore) September 13, 2017
I would eat off the floor of the sketchiest bodega in NYC before I bought something from some tech dipshit's cabinet.— Bryan (@StuckInTheIV) September 13, 2017
I've never longed for anyone to be mauled to death by actual bodega cats but here we are https://t.co/mgG5WtD2Vd?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313— Andi Zeisler (@andizeisler) September 13, 2017
it's blatant. they want the convenience of the bodega without having to interact with the people whose neighborhood they invaded.— king crissle (@crissles) September 13, 2017
Those hi-tech ex-Google dipshits fail to realize a Bodega isn't about the shit you BUY; it's the neighborhood ppl you buy FROM. https://t.co/lohfFdOLnq?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) September 13, 2017
Weird that they're calling this heinous vending machine "Bodega" and not "Gentrification Box" https://t.co/xPCozclRRD?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) September 13, 2017
Then to actually NAME it "Bodega" after the exact thing they're trying to gentrify & put out of business? Wow. Such disrespect— Persephone (@ASamantha) September 13, 2017
I thought tech was supposed to be solving the problems of the world. This is a solution to a nonexistent problem— Nathan Doyle (@trivianate) September 13, 2017
Because consumers have been at the mercy of Big Bodega for far too long... https://t.co/GmPvEgSr47?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) September 13, 2017
Yo, they are calling their venture Bodega, but if they actually launch it their cabinets will be Pinatas.— Mateo Guerrero (@spookshowcinema) September 13, 2017
Rajan and McDonald have responded to the backlash on Medium, saying they were not trying to put corner stores out of business and that they’re aware the name “Bodega” could be interpreted as “misappropriation.” Still, they insist they did their homework.
“But it’s clear that we may not have been asking the right questions of the right people,” they wrote.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.