Who needs a carton of oat milk delivered in less than 15 minutes?

More than 15 years ago, Amazon seemed to bend the laws of physics with the promise of two-day delivery. Today, Vice writes, we’ve reached the “logical endpoint of a delivery-speed arms race.” Billions in venture capital are being poured into a crop of new grocery delivery startups promising busy urban dwellers a bunch of bananas under 15 minutes—roughly how long it might take someone to run down to their local corner store and back—without any delivery fees or excessive hardship for workers. One of the startups, Jokr, said it is pursuing a sustainability mission by purchasing stock based on data-fed algorithms and directly from local producers, along with sourcing local brands, all of which supposedly helps the company stay competitive without delivery fees. But workers at a competitor, Gorillas, are already revolting in Europe over grueling work conditions, and experts are wondering how many of us actually need oat milk delivered so fast. “All these companies are pushing this optimization scheme as though optimizing and efficiency are what people want,” one urban planning professor said. “One of the reasons that people like to live in Manhattan is because you like to get out of the house.”

The Counter Stories by our editors.