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Let’s make fun of the $400 WiFi-connected juicer that couldn’t be more useless

Photo: Juicero
Photo: Juicero

Silicon Valley is renowned for technological innovation, a worldwide leader in ushering society into a future of luxury and convenience. Twitter was abuzz yesterday with news of the region’s latest invention, which had the backing of big-name venture capitalists like Kleiner Perkins and Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

The product is a WiFi-enabled juicer that squeezes ultra-fresh juice from bags you acquire via subscription. It also ensures the product hasn’t been since recalled, and incorporates “aircraft-grade aluminum and precision-forged gearing components” that “generate thousands of pounds of force to extract high nutrient and juice levels.” Here’s a video showing the process:

There’s one catch. According to a Bloomberg profile, “some investors were surprised to discover a much cheaper alternative: You can squeeze the Juicero bags with your bare hands.” The reporters confirmed this:

In Bloomberg’s squeeze tests, hands did the job quicker, but the device was slightly more thorough. Reporters were able to wring 7.5 ounces of juice in a minute and a half. The machine yielded 8 ounces in about two minutes.

Maybe this wouldn’t be such an egregious discovery if the machine itself didn’t cost $400 (it previously cost $1,200, then $700). So, if you can squeeze the packets, why do we need the Juicero again? As Bloomberg reports:

Juicero declined to comment. A person close to the company said Juicero is aware the packs can be squeezed by hand but that most people would prefer to use the machine because the process is more consistent and less messy.

Silicon Valley “disruption” is always ripe for parody and derision, so a story like this was pounced on.

Forbes rejoinders that it’s about the juice, not the machine.

Even if you absolutely love juice, you might want to know that Juicero’s magic Granate Glow or Sweet Roots is super yummy before committing to a subscription to the packs. And guess what? Now you can. Buy one of whatever flavor you want, squeeze it out into a glass, and taste. Do not pass go, do not pay $400.

For Juicero this is a win-win. More customers can sample the product and -- if they love it -- eventually buy a machine.

Unfortunately, an update to the Forbes article axes that section, clarifying, “You can’t currently buy the juice packs unless you’re a Juicero owner according to the company.”

Maybe it is all about the juice, but here’s the thing: In Silicon Valley, hardware matters as much, if not more, than the solution itself. From the Bloomberg article:

One of the investors said they were frustrated with how the company didn’t deliver on the original pitch and that their venture firm wouldn’t have met with Evans if he were hawking bags of juice that didn’t require high-priced hardware.

Deadspin responded with the appropriate amount of venom:

When we signed up to pump money into this juice company, it was because we thought drinking the juice would be a lot harder and more expensive. That was the selling point, because Silicon Valley is a stupid libertarian dystopia where investor-class vampires are the consumers and a regular person’s money is what they go shopping for. Easily opened bags of juice do not give these awful nightmare trash parasites a good bargain on the disposable income of credulous wellness-fad suckers; therefore easily opened bags of juice are a worse investment than bags of juice that are harder to open.

Listen. Many features of life in this, the Ham-Fisted Satire Of Late Capitalism Dimension, are stupid. Donald Trump got to be president by holding up the wallet his dad gave him and yelling “I fuck this wallet.” The police will beat the shit out of you for using your flight ticket. Miami Beach is literally dissolving. The only thing this dimension does well is show its ass. We might as well applaud it!

In short, Silicon Valley will never run out of material.

[Note: Deadspin, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]

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