In The Store Of The Future, The Product Is You

by MR Magazine Staff

When you mess with shopping habits, people get mad. An avalanche of rightful indignation followed the announcement of Bodega, a startup founded by two ex-Google employees that would install shiny glass boxes selling odds and ends inside pre-existing buildings instead of independent corner stores. From the questionable name to the even-more-questionable business model to the veneer of gentrification — who would these actually be accessible to? — the company seems to epitomize so much of what we dislike about Silicon Valley interfering in our lives in the hopes of profit. The product is insidious: It portends to keep track of purchases and install a box every 100 feet of urban space, disrupting local shops. But Bodega is only one of the smaller attempts to present retail as more than just a way to buy things, spinning shopping into a kind of replacement for public infrastructure as well as the communal institutions and experiences that we increasingly take for granted. Simply purchasing things isn’t enough anymore; we must inhabit the platforms that these companies construct, whether it’s Bodega, Apple, Google, or Amazon-Whole Foods. Retail brands are invading every aspect of our lives, though the companies would prefer you not notice the sneaky shift. Read more at Racked.