That sounds specially interesting in denser areas. Make it fast and easy for people to request and return stuff, and homes suddenly have a lot of extra space.
I agree with your basic point that commercializing borrowing a tool from a neighbor has been and will continue to be largely a non-starter.
And also with electronics, why should I go to the store if I receive the package the next day?
With B&M shopping, even if you know exactly what you want, you have no idea if it's actually in-stock at your local $store. So you drive there (wasting gas and a lot of time), wander around inside looking for it, only to find it's not even there! Then you have to go drive somewhere else hoping they have it, or get someone there to look it up and see what other store does have it, etc. All in all, this can waste a huge amount of time and fuel just to go find one single item.
With online shopping, it's right there on the website: you can see everything the shop has to offer in one place, and you can see if it's in stock or not. If it is, you click "buy" and it shows up at your doorstep. If it isn't, or there's some problem, that might mean a delay in getting your item, but you're not going to waste a lot of time and energy running around in the process.
Many stores, especially the chains, have webpages that tell if an item is available in a store or not.
And as the other responder said, those inventory counts might not be accurate; if there's only one in stock, and someone just bought it 10 minutes ago, is the webpage really updated that fast?
Amazon uses fast shipping, but they won't guarantee when it ships. I've been burned more than once (I mostly quit using them a couple years ago) because the thing I wanted didn't ship in time.
I've seen online shipping speeds get a lot faster over the past couple of years so if you have quit than you might be surprised at speed and value if you come back.
I did grow up in relative poverty, though not in a housing project. The area I grew up in, at the time, had lots of Crack but no Meth/Heroin etc. Still, never heard of it.
I'm quite sure it's an urban myth :-)
According to this site 800,000 waste pickers in the country and 300 registered on the service.
As someone who wants a more waste-free society and already keeps a running list of craigslist items for sale, ebay/cl watchlists, etc. I'd be open to innovation in this space.
"Real Life is made possible by funding from Snapchat, and we operate with editorial independence and without ads
Wonder how that happened.
The editor wrote an interesting essay that caught the attention of Snapchat CEO, which wanted more of this output.
What's interesting is that Real Life is highly critical about technology, while you would expect based on the funding a sort of think tank creating pro-tech fluff pieces.
It's not an uncommon case. Black Mirror even lampooned it back in its second episode (Fifteen Million Merits).
In my mind, this problem was solved a long time ago. We had these mysterious outlets called stores that you went to and exchanged money for product. The root problem here is that people that consumer product companies care about (ie. not poor brown people) are moving to cities, and the belt of suburban shopping centers isn't serving this population well. IMO this is a good thing, as perhaps it will enable a return to smaller scale retail in vital urban communities.
It's silly, but I don't want my neighbors thinking, "damn, they order a lot of packages" and I don't want to worry about an expensive item getting lifted. Seems to me the simplest answer is not to build a robot, but just to make smaller versions of the big box store that are essentially a small warehouse with a front office.
Big box stores are kind of screwed because they overextended on debt and used financing schemes that front-load tax benefits and create problems down the road unless you always grow.
I could imagine using this as a delivery mechanism if the price was right.