The Weird Tale of Juicero, the $400 Wi-Fi Juicer That’s Worse Than Your Bare Hands
Like so many things in recent times, the story of the Juicero is the kind of thing you’d read in a book and think, “Nah, this is too on-the-nose. Not realistic. The point of this story is cartoonishly obvious,” and yet, it’s very real. It was already a silly enough sign of modern times that investors poured millions into a connected “Internet of things” juicer, and things have only gotten worse from there.
And no, we didn’t even hit bottom when the thing debuted and it was discovered that the juice packs could easily be wrung out with your own bare hands, though that’s pretty bad in itself. Juicero ships you proprietary Produce Packs to pour your perfectly pressed glass of juice. Whether or not those juice packs are worth it for all the rad, super hip health benefits they’re promising from Mother Earth is up to you, and fresh-squeezed juice isn’t a bad product on its own, but there’s absolutely no reason you need a fairly expensive appliance to make use of those packs.
This was demonstrated perfectly by Bloomberg reporters, with a video showing that using your hands on the Produce Packs works just fine to produce a glass of juice. Of course, after taking in all that investment money on an idea that already sounded like it was concocted by 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy (“Juice, but with the Internet! Two things people love! Synergy!”), the Juicero PR machine had some damage control to do on the idea that their product managed to render itself obsolete.
So, their CEO explained everything in a Medium post that he opened by saying he’d only been the CEO since November, as though subtly hinting that none of this shit is his fault, and oh God how did he wind up having to defend this thing? He was just an investor and board member who thought they’d be able to sell an unnecessary juice machine to some rich, health fad-prone dummies!
Anyway, defend he did, explaining all the great benefits the Juicero provides, like digital rights management that allows them to remotely shut down contaminated or expired juice packs, juice packs that are of consistent quality (which has nothing to do with the actual juicer being worth it), the fact that thing will juice the pack for you and thus save you valuable time, and hey, the Produce Packs themselves are a quality product that require that DRM to maintain a proper supply chain, so please pay $400 for a pointless machine out of appreciation!
For those playing along at home, only one of those is an actual reason that the juicer itself is helpful, and it’s not an incredibly convincing one. The rest either assume you’re unable to read expiration dates on your own—or your on-the-go lifestyle just makes you too damn busy to do so, you always-connected worker of the future!—or that you should really buy the overpriced juicer because the juice packs themselves are such a great product that you should be willing to spot them some a few hundred extra dollars on top of the $29.99 per week Produce Pack cost.
The PR defense post does also include a (downright laughable) video attempt to debunk the fact that the hand-squeezing method works, where they cut the juice pack open for no reason at all, since that’s not a thing the Bloomberg video did. For the record, Bloomberg’s video demonstrated that it was possible to simply squeeze the bag with your hands the same way the juicer would—no incision necessary—not try to make a weird craft project out of it.
Who cares if Juicero’s video doesn’t at all debunk the uselessness of the product? It’s 2017! Words have no meaning anymore! Your claims are debunked because an absurd, straw man version of them has been debunked, and that’s all there is to it. Rock on with your flavonoids! Fist bump Mother Earth! YEAH!
(via Gizmodo, image: screengrab)
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