You couldn’t even imagine what they sell
The vending machine industry is not that new. The first vending machine company was founded in the UK as far back as 1887. However, today Japan is considered to be the leader of this market. This country has the largest number of vending machines. Moreover, the share of trade via vending machines is no less than 60%. It means there are 20 citizens for every 1 machine. USA and EU countries are keeping pace since there is 1 vending machine for every 50-100 people there.
Today, PaySpace Magazine has prepared the list of the most unusual vending machines worldwide. The ones that sell coffee, soda drinks, snacks, or jewelry will hardly come as a surprise to anyone. Today’s consumers are rather sophisticated, and merchants have to invent new ways to astonish them. As an old proverb says – desperate times call for desperate measures.
Top 10 world’s most unusual vending machines
Not long ago vending machines offered you a soda drink can, bubblegum, or a granola bar. However, salesmen quickly understood that this business niche was vacant, simple, and most importantly, lucrative. So, it is no surprise to see the weirdest goods on the other side of the glass – from ties to cars!
Here are the top 10 world’s most unusual vending machines:
1. Carvana Car Vending Machine
The first fully-automated car vending machine was launched in Nashville, Tennessee (USA) in 2015. It is a five-story glass building that can hold up to 20 cars at a time. Therefore, a consumer buys a car online, and then uses Carvana’s vending machine, which operates in the same way as an ordinary coffee machine. All you have to do is to insert a special coin.
Moreover, today Carvana customers can now pick up their vehicles from Car Vending Machines in 10 cities: Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Nashville (Tennessee), Raleigh (N.C.), Charlotte (N.C.), Jacksonville (Fla.), Tampa (Fla.) and Washington, D.C.
2. Gold to Go: buying gold on the go
The first Gold to Go machines were installed in Frankfurt, Abu Dhabi, and Madrid. This is how you can buy golden bars weighing 1, 5, and 10 grams. You can also buy different collectible gold coins from different countries in special gift boxes. The currency exchange updates automatically every hour.
3. Umbrella vending machine
If you are in Japan and you’re in a hurry so much that you actually leave your umbrella at home, there is good news for you. All you have to do to stay dry is to find the nearest umbrella vending machine.
The Russian Arch Group company has developed a unique SleepBox. It is a vending machine that enables you to get inside and have some rest. It is endowed with a bed, laptop table, mirror, TV, and a couple of sockets. This is a good solution for airports and railway stations.
5. The Short Story Dispenser
Grenoble, France, is known for its Short Story Dispenser vending machines from the Short Edition company. Here’s how it works: it looks like a cylinder with three buttons “one minute,” “three minute” or “five minute” story. When a user pushes a button, a story (the length they’ve chosen) is printed on a long strip of paper. Today, these machines have spread all around the world.
6. Dirty Water vending machine
Dirty Water gives you a bottle of water with different disease flavors (hepatitis, dysentery, salmonella, etc) for one dollar. Of course, there is no actual disease in these bottles, it is the way UNICEF draws the attention of New Yorkers to the clean water scarcity problem, particularly in Africa. Therefore, they donate all the funds, and say “every dollar donated goes toward safe drinking to 40 children for a day”.
7. Manicure vending machine
Japanese never cease to surprise. You can find there even a manicure vending machine. It has operated since 2002, and it offers painting nails for around $2.
8. Whiskey vending machine
It is about a little retro-vintage nostalgia. The UK had the whiskey vending machine in the 1960s.
The machine on the picture mixes whiskey and soda, and it was first shown at the Second Automatic Vending Exhibition in London, 1960.
9. Marijuana and cannabis vending machine
More and more states have legalized medical marijuana nowadays. This is where you can find these marijuana vending machines. California was the first state to launch such a novelty. The machine has fingerprint identification as the purchase is legal only with a doctor’s prescription.
10. Used panty vending machine
Guess which country has these machines? That’s right, it’s Japan, the country of the oddest vending machines. Japanese schoolgirl underwear vending machine is not a myth, it is a reality. Of course, there is no child abuse, and all the women that sell their used underwear sign an agreement (verified with ID) that they are already at least 18, and no longer study at school, but anyway, the fact of the existence of such machines is weird.
Free-condom breathalyzer vending machine
The UK dating site Match.com came up with the idea of a unique breathalyzer called “Johnny Be Good”.
This machine is installed in pubs, and it measures a client’s sobriety (the scale includes Teetotal, Sober, Squiffy, Merry, Tipsy Boozy, Drunk, Really Drunk, Legless, and Game Over). Thus, a client can find out his/her intoxication level, and if they are sober enough, they get a free condom.
The machine is meant to discourage bad decisions while intoxicated and, presumably, to make sober decisions.