When you think of vending machines, things like soda, candy bars and potato chips probably come to mind. Around the world, vending machines are used to sell a surprising variety of items. Below are some of the world’s most innovative — and weirdest — vending machines.
If you’re ever in China and have a yen for crabmeat, just head to the nearest crab machine. Your crab is guaranteed to be alive. If you get a dead one, you can exchange it for three live ones.
In Japan it’s lobsters that are available for a few coins in a machine, but there’s a catch: You have to catch one. The Sub Marine Catcher is a claw game with live lobsters as the prizes.
Need a bike, right now? If you’re in the Netherlands you’re in luck; they have them in automatic dispensers. The bikes are for rent not for sale, so they must be returned to a bike dispenser when you’re done.
A Let’s Pizza machine doesn’t simply sell you a pizza, it also cooks it for you. The machines are from Italy (of course) and they cook your pizza from scratch in less than three minutes.
This is not truly a vending machine, because you don’t get a dog out of it: You put a dog in. The Dog-O-Matic is an automatic dog washing machine. It was invented in France in 2009, and similar machines have appeared in Japan. Animal lovers are split on whether the automatic dog washers, which can also be used for cats, are a matter of convenience or a cruelty to animals.
As marijuana becomes more legal in the United States, it is also becoming more convenient to purchase. California-based company Medbox already has medical marijuana vending machines in states where medical marijuana is legal. You need a prescription and other identifying information to use one of these machines, but Medbox is hoping to eventually have recreational marijuana machines in states like Washington and Colorado.
By now most of us have seen DVD movie vending machines, so why not books? Book lovers who scoff at electronic books might find book vending machine to be a technological compromise they can live with. Some libraries have book machines for convenience, and a bookstore in Toronto has one that adds a touch of gambling to mix: When you insert your money, you get a random used book.
If having money that’s merely backed by gold leaves you feeling dissatisfied, you can trade it in for actual gold at any Gold-to-Go location. Gold-to-Go is a vending machine that sells gold bars and coins. The first one appeared in Abu Dhabi in 2010, and now there are about 30 of the machines in the world. Due to the rapidly changing price of gold, the machines are programmed to update their prices every minute. Here’s a sure-fire way to save money for your travels; do an online comparison at Kanetix.ca to compare travel insurance quotes offered by various travel insurance companies. With Kanetix, you can save up to an average of 50% on your travel insurance. Compare quotes and save up your money for the gold you always wanted!
Getting Coke from a vending machine has been possible since the 1930s. What’s new is the currency a recent model of Coke machine takes: Hugs. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine has the words “Hug Me” on the front. The first one, in Singapore, received many hugs and dispensed many Cokes in return. Coca-Cola plans to spread the machines, and the hugs, across Asia.