In defense of the corner store

How ironic that at the bottom of this attempted justification of a startup there is a prompt from Medium: ‘show your support’. No way. Despite the suggestion that the owners don’t want to put people out of work, that is exactly what will happen, and it will happen to one of the most vulnerable populations: immigrants.

A significant number of corner stores are owned and/or operated people who came to the United States (or in my case Canada) and in the early stages of their new life in a new country one of the few businesses they can start is a corner store (or a bodega, a word appropriated for this job-killing startup).

One might say that the job may switch from owning a store to managing the vending machine, assuring that it’s always stocked with whatever products suit the neighbourhood (or, more likely, city) where these machines will be located. What’s missing from this defense is the human element. These machines will more often than not be replenished when nobody is around, so the work will be done in solitude. To my way of thinking one of the benefits of of operating a bodega or corner store is interaction with others, which helps introduce immigrants to their new country or provide opportunities for socializing with others, something that may not be possible when you live in a large city.

Urban neighbourhoods tend to be insular, populated by people who look alike and think alike. In going to a corner store you may meet someone who has different opinions on the events of the day, opinions that may enlighten you and cause you to change your mind. What an interesting concept!

In short, if you love meeting people and the idea of living in an area where people actually talk to one another, installing vending machines that cater to your every need is certainly not a good answer.

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