Video: ten crazy vending machines from around the world

To most of us, the vending machine is where we get a can of Coke or a bag of Cheetos – in other parts of the world, the vending machine is a grocery store, or a discreet porn retailer. We’ve collected ten downright crazy vending machines from around the world.

Machine number 1 is a pizza vending machine – and not just crappy microwave pizza – fresh made pizza from scratch! Looks delicious.


Condos, a Bentely, a 1965 Corvette? Gold plated handcuffs? Items from $10 to $1.2 million All available using your credit card from the vending machine.

24 hour casual hot food – the Japanese really do get the best vending machines…

Largest vending machine in the world – more like an automated grocery store.

More Japanese vending options – ice cream, t-shirts, socks.

Pets from a vending machine? Of course!

The usual lineup of soda, candy, porn DVD’s and used panties

In the future, all vending machines will be operated by humans. Literally.

Medicinal marijuana vending machine? Wild Cherry on demand. You still need to show your prescription once at the window, but the rest is all handled at the vending machine.

Live crabs “could also be sold this way” – obviously something we won’t be seeing in the US any time soon.

Wine vending machines debut in Pennsylvania

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus… and he seems to favor Pennsylvania.

The state known for its tough liquor laws is testing out a rather casual convenience: wine vending machines. The Associated Press reports that these wine kiosks are located in two of Pennsylvania’s grocery stores and if they do well, more of these gems will be placed throughout the state.

All you need is a valid driver’s license and a credit card, and you can buy your wine. Stop off at the vending machine, take a quick breathalyzer test and smile for the camera, then pick your vintage.

While some people will certainly question the concept, I’m sure others see the brilliance in this plan. Until now, Pennsylvania law requires that alcohol only be purchased for home consumption only in state-owned stores. Now, one-stop shopping makes it easier to buy a bottle for a last minute dinner party, or let’s face it, after a long day at work.

The state hopes these new kiosks help boost the archaic laws into modern times, and allow more buyers of legal age to purchase wine at convenient locations.

We don’t know what brands are being stocked in the vending machines, or even if they are stored at the appropriate temperatures, but we do know this: Pennsylvania just got a whole lot cooler in our book.

[via @SlashFood]

Experiencing Japan through vending machines

One of my favorite ways to experience a place is through street foods. Young and old, rich and poor, men and women all enjoy a quick pick-me-up at some point, and that makes street feed the great equalizer. When I was in Japan in May of 2008, I was mesmerized by the sheer number of vending machines on the streets that supplement (and, in some neighborhoods, replace) street vendors.

Not one to pass up an opportunity to enjoy some local flavor (pun alert!), I purchased a bottle of amino suppli3 on my first day. Amused by the name of the beverage, I snapped a photo of the bottle. Later that same day, while waiting for a train, I purchased an Ice Cocoa on the platform because the metal bottle caught my eye. Again, I snapped a photo and then enjoyed the cool, chocolaty liquid. It was at that moment that I realized that I was on to something: Japan (or at least Tokyo) is less about street food and more about street vending machines. And I was going to document that.

Over ten days in Japan I purchased and drank 26 different beverages from vending machines. And I took a picture of every single one of them. Some, like Pocari Sweat, were great. Others tasted like Robitussin. All of them, however, were part of one of my favorite activities in Japan: exploring the local flavors. Because of that, they are all fond memories.

How do you explore new places? Have you ever created an interesting album of foods or drinks from a specific trip? Share your story with us in the comments.


Venice: brought to you by Coca-Cola

Venice has always been a huge tourist draw. This city of majestic canals, picturesque medieval architecture and serenading gondoliers has long attracted visitors from near and far for its historic beauty and aesthetic charms. In fact Venice hosted nearly 20 million visitors in 2008, an increase of more than 30%.

Yet all is not well in this visitor-friendly Italian tourism magnet – in addition to severe flooding problems this past December, the city is threatened by crumbling architecture and severe budget deficits which make restoration difficult. In order to provide funding for much-needed restoration, the city recently signed a $2.7 million dollar deal that made Coca-Cola an official city sponsor. The deal reportedly includes over 60 Coke vending machines spread across historic city, including the venerable St. Mark’s Square.

What’s the big deal, you might say? It’s just a couple vending machines. And yes, in the grand scheme of things, there are worse problems than having to sponsor a monument or a city – it will ensure Venice is around for future generations. But still, for a a unique one-of-a-kind city like Venice, renowned the world over for its beauty and charm, the dire circumstances that forced this situation are troubling. It cheapens the city’s cultural heritage and suggests that such landmarks are nothing more than objects, waiting to be bought and sold. Not to mention the vending machines add a new eyesore to a city known for beautiful preservation of its historic buildings.

Still for the cash-poor Italian government, this may be one of the only options for Venice’s continued sustainability. Expect to see more of this sort of sponsorship deal in the future…

Went to Beijing without your condoms? Buy a bus card

Safe sex is going high-tech in Beijing. The old, bright yellow coin-operated condom dispensers were finally ditched by the city’s authorities. They will be replaced by state of the art vending machines that look more like touch screen ATMs than the final stop for those who are about to get their naughty on. The government has installed 411 of the machines already. thousand’s more will be popping up over the coming months. They will be located near bars, nightclubs, in hotels, and adjacent to construction sites.

The Beijing AIDS Prevention Committee has made a deal with the city’s public transportation arm. All you have to do is swipe your OneCard (used for bus and subway fares) and out comes your prophylactic (which costs 5 yuan). And it talks too. (No, not the rubber, the machine). The brightly lit LCD screens will broadcast safe sex and anti-AIDS messages throughout the day.

[via Danwei]