First WebTV, Now WebVan
2000-01-28 15:30:33

Digital Gar Gar Gar!
The fear was most excellent, but the loathing could use some improvement.
-- Head Freezin' Gene


Man, the people of earth want to use the Web! It's crazy! First they put the Web on the television machine with WebTV, and now people are using this here Webvan thing to get the Web brought to their house. Beaujolais!

Now, I haven't used Webvan at all, so don't take this as, like, gospel or something. But I've seen plenty of these crazy Webvan trucks going around the City, and I've talked to some friends who've used it, and I think I understand how it works.

The deal is that you contact these WebVan guys at webvan.com, and you schedule like a one-hour window when they will come to your house, kinda like SuperShuttle. The van comes, which is like a little small corrugated panel truck like you see all the time delivering beer, except it's got "WEBVAN" written all over it.

You get in the back of the truck, and then they drive away to go pick up or drop off other people. While you're in there, they drive around, and you get to use the Web. They must have some Ricochet modems or something, because OBVIOUSLY you can't be dragging, like, twisted-pair cable behind one of these things. That'd be ridiculous!

I haven't seen the inside of these things much, but it looks kind of uncomfortable, since there aren't any windows or anything. BUT people LOVE the Web, so I can imagine that it's worth it for some folks. From what I've heard that have all these health-nut snacks that you can chomp on in big plastic buckets. But no beer, because, like, DUH, you're driving around in a van. Even if it wasn't illegal, you'd probably collapse from heat exhaustion in the back of those trucks after just a couple of Heinekens. You'd go into convulsions and shit. Which is too bad, because I mean, BEER is the best part of using a computer.

Anyways, these WebVan guys are savvy goddamned businessmen, you know? They get the same essential clientele as a cybercafe or something, but NO REAL ESTATE OVERHEAD! No rent, no expensive bathrooms or property taxes or even janitor guys! They just drive their customers around in the back of a van like illegal immigrant lettuce pickers or something! Dying of heatstroke and NO BEER! And they're PAYING for the privilege! Then the Webvan guys hose the truck out at the end of the day, and beaujolais, you've got a BUSINESS MODEL!

Personally, I woulda thought this would never work, since it's so disgusting and dehumanizing and stuff being treated like cattle in the back of an 18-wheeler. And EVERYBODY's got a computer now anyways, right? But I see TONS of these Webvans driving all over the place, so it must be good business. God bless these guys. Go check it out!

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.


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