At the tender age of 15 I had the opportunity to be an exchange student in Japan for 3 weeks. I attended several classes to learn polite greetings in Japanese, and some important things about the culture. Nothing prepared me, however, for how different things were over there. It felt like I was in some kind of biodome, for I don’t think I had ever felt that kind of smothering humidity pressing down on me before. The family I stayed with was wonderful, and kindly checked on me every few minutes while I was in the bathroom to make sure I understood the system of sitting on a little stool while soaping up and rinsing off with a bucket before climbing into the tub. Awkward! One of my more shocking discoveries were the unusual vending machines that dispensed cocktails. Beer, wine, mixed drinks, they were all available from vending machines, out in public, with no ID required to make a purchase.
Baguette Dispenser In France
What could be better than popping a Euro in the slot and getting a freshly baked baguette? Well, yeah, I could make a list, but this is still pretty fantastic. This may be a lifesaver for people who can’t live without their fresh baked bread, especially at times when the bakeries are closed. Many boulangeries shut down at lunch time, and close for long summer vacations. The owner and inventor of these vending machines loads them with partially baked baguettes that finish baking to order when a customer pays. Many bread snobs are sceptical about the quality of the loaves but those who have tried the bread say it is terrific.
Cupcake ATM in Las Vegas
Cupcakes have become more popular than donuts in recent years, so I guess it stands to reason that people need, or want, 24 hour access. The Sprinkles cupcake machines hold 600 cupcakes and are priced just slightly higher than those sold in the stores. Sprinkles plans to launch more machines across the country, and include other products like cupcake mixes, Sprinkles apparel, and dog treats.
Let’s Pizza in Italy
In a country where you can literally get fresh pizza on every corner, it seems a little mad to introduce a pizza vending machine. The Let’s Pizza machines have been launched in malls and at Malpensa airport in Milan. I don’t know if it can compete with the incredible speck and brie sandwiches available at Malpensa, but I’d be willing to give it a try. An individual customized pizza pops out in about three minutes. You can even see the machine kneading the dough.
Gold to Go in Abu Dhabi
A German company developed this ATM that offers 320 items made of gold, even customized coins. 24 carat gold bars in sizes starting at 1 gram are sold in gift boxes complete with a description of its purity and price per gram. Also available are South African Krugerrands, Canadian maple leaf coins, and Australian kangaroo coins. The machine checks the current gold market and updates it’s prices every ten minutes.
Live Bait – United States
A machine that dispenses a dozen live nightcrawlers and an icy cold coke at the marina at 4am sounds like a dream come true for the avid angler. Because just about everyone shops online these days, small bait and tackle shops are disappearing. These vending machines are available from a company in Pennsylvania in a variety of configurations to suit the location.
What is the most unusual vending machine you’ve encountered in your travels?