Here in North America, vending machines are as simple as they can be. There are two things that they currently supply; ice-cold beverages and light snacks. But in many countries around the world, others are supplying things that would blow your mind, or make you raise an eyebrow. Either way, they bring a new definition to “on-the-go”.
On a recent trip to Asia last year, I stopped over in Tokyo and found that many of their vending machines didn’t just consist of soda and water bottles. They supplied coffee, juice, energy drinks and many more; all in recyclable aluminum cans and covered with vibrant packaging. They were lined up on practically every corner. Something different that I spotted was a machine that dispensed video games! However, it is said that travelling through the city, you can spot many more in the machines; some more memorable than others. To list a few are condoms, pornography, vegetables, live lobsters, rice bags and eggs?!? (Why go to the supermarket anymore?)
On a more educational note, to promote literacy, a German publisher in Hamburg has created book vending machines. Using old cigarette vending machines, they vary in size and contain items from novels, photo books, graphic novels and collections of poetry; all by local authors.
Vending machines have definitely evolved since the beginning of time and while most of the ones out there seem absurd to us, they do offer things we need at convenient locations and times. I believe that if manufacturers saw the potential in these machines, we could be using them for greater purposes.
What would you like to see in them and do you think it’ll ever happen?
For more pictures and vending spectacles, check this out.