When I think of a vending machine, I typically think of a tall, heavy machine that has a big glass case and a side panel with a lot of buttons, a dollar slot, and coin return. You know, the ones that have chips, candy, sodas, and other assorted junk food in them. The ones that I probably used all too often in my younger days while working late.
Well, move over junk food – the vending machine has moved upscale! This article from VOA News describes a gold vending machine. More accurately, it is a vending machine that dispenses gold. Simply put in your cash, and choose your gold – bars up to 10 grams or coins. With gold up over $1200 per ounce as of this writing, these aren’t $1 bills people are putting in these machines as they troll for quick snacks! If you aren’t carrying around such large sums of cash, they will apparently soon be taking credit cards. Should be good news for those who frequently need a quick gold fix:)
This gets me thinking about the different kinds of offbeat things that are probably in vending machines somewhere in the world. Aside from the usual snack fare, I have personally seen a few different things being sold from machines:
- Personal items, like toothbrushes, hair gel, etc – in hotels
- Playing cards, dice at a casino
- iPods, at a department store and at airports
- Underwear (I think), in a resort town in Italy
But the one that takes the cake from my experiences was a live lobster vending machine I once saw at a restaurant. This vending machine was really more like one of those amusement crane games. The idea is that you put your money in the machine, and then you get control over a claw that you can position over your “prize” that you can see behind the glass, in a large bin within the machine. Once you find the right spot, you hit the button, and the claw descends and tries to grasp your prize. The prize is rarely caught, but if it is, its then dropped in prize bin for the person to claim. In this case, the prize is not a stuffed animal or toy as usual – but a live lobster in a tank!
The gambit was simple: if you are lucky enough to catch the lobster in this “game” which cost a few dollars in the vending machine, you would get a full lobster dinner for free. You would eat the lobster you “caught” in the vending machine.
Quite different, indeed. I didn’t participate, for the record:)
There have to be other interesting examples of unique items to be purchased in vending machines (or games). What do you think? Have you seen or heard of any “offbeat” items being sold in such machines?
Another question is: Is there anything different that you think would be useful to be sold in vending machines?
This post was included in Carnival of Money Stories at Funny About Money