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The 25 Foods You Can Actually Buy from Vending Machines Around the World Slideshow

The 25 Foods You Can Actually Buy from Vending Machines Around the World Slideshow

You won’t believe what you can purchase from these dispensers now

The 25 Most Bizarre Things You Can Buy from Vending Machines Around the World

These days it seems everything is at your fingertips — from Amazon’s one-hour delivery service to the shows and movies we can now binge watch without ever having to get up from the couch. Blockbuster who? That same concept of instant gratification has been applied to vending machines over the course of the past several years.

What was once only seen as a machine that dispensed chips, candies, and select drinks can now be viewed as a 24/7, item-specific convenience store. In vending machines around the world you can find everything from fresh heads of lettuce to bottles of champagne and even raw meat. But instant doesn’t exactly mean fresh. The idea of any perishable food product coming from a machine (rather than from a grocery store with proper refrigeration) is a strange concept to wrap your mind around. Don’t think buying raw meat from a vending machine is weird enough? Here are the most bizarre vending machine items you can buy around the world.

Moët & Chandon Champagne: London, Las Vegas, New Orleans

Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.com

Located in the popular Selfridge’s department store in London, the Möet & Chandon vending machine dispenses 200-milliliter bottles for $29 a pop. It should come as no surprise that Sin City is the first place to implement these vending machines in America, with one located at Sky Bar. The next place to have a champagne vending machine? New Orleans’ Arnaud’s French 75 Bar.

Fresh Produce: Chicago

Set up in countless locations around Chicago, the Farmer’s Fridge vending machine brings farm-fresh produce to the heart of the windy city. Instead of soda, candy, or regular vending machine fare, Farmer’s Fridge is routinely stocked with salads, fruit, and other healthy meal options. Whatever isn’t sold that day is donated to a local homeless shelter to bring nutritious meals to those who need it most.

Fried Food: Amsterdam

www.hollandfoto.net/Shutterstock.com

Got the munchies in Amsterdam? Look no further than the fried food vending machines owned by Dutch company FEBO. With nearly 60 locations in the Netherlands, FEBO has found the perfect customer base in Amsterdam, where they have over 20 vending machines set up. FEBO serves classic treats like frikandellen (The Dutch equivalent of a hot dog) and kaassoufflé (which can be compared to a hot pocket of melted cheese wrapped inside a thin wrap of dough). If you don’t want fried food, check out the food truck that sells pigeon, pony, and other “unwanted” meat.

Kosher Food: Boston

Orthodox Jewish baseball fans used to be left out of stadium grub, until Boston start-up Hot Nosh installed kosher vending machines in Fenway Park. Hot Nosh stocks its machines with kosher mozzarella sticks, baked ziti, and more, and has vending machines throughout Boston.

Baby Food: U.S.A.

Busy moms on the go can get access to baby food and formula from some vending machines. The WeGoBabies machine also dispenses baby essentials like pacifiers and diapers.

Raw Milk: Europe

In the U.S., raw milk is a controversial food item, and consumers of the unpasteurized dairy go as far as to join illegal buying clubs to procure it. Not so in Europe, where not only is the milk legal, it can be found in vending machines from France to Poland.

A Hot Meal: U.S.A.

A piping-hot meal isn’t just a sci-fi vision of vending machine dining anymore. New technology has developed vending machines that produce hot burgers, two-minute beef noodles, and more.

Eggs: Japan and Romania

Egg vending machines are popular in Japan, and have also been established in Romania. To avoid cracking the eggs — as you’re probably wondering — the eggs are kept in individual compartments. Once you pay, you can open the door to take your egg without it having to take a drop.

Rice: Japan

In Japan, vending machines dispense everything from cigarettes to umbrellas, so it’s no surprise then that there are even vending machines that sell rice, a staple of Japanese cuisine. The idea of all of these vending machines in Japan is to make it convenient for you to purchase essentials once the convenience stores have closed for the day.

Baguettes: San Francisco

Paris has no shortage of boulangeries churning out freshly baked loaves of bread, but that didn’t stop one entrepreneur from creating a baguette vending machine. The invention didn’t quite take off, but a Le Bread Xpress vending machine is now in San Francisco, and it bakes fresh baguettes as you order them.

Caviar: Moscow

If that bag of chips just isn’t up to your culinary standards, you can find caviar in vending machines in Moscow as well as Los Angeles. You might, however, need a little more than pocket change to fulfill this craving.

Fresh Cupcakes: Los Angeles and New York

Pizza: U.S.A.

We have frozen pizza and pizza delivery, but now we can get pizza from a vending machine, too. Thanks to an Italian entrepreneur, hungry people on the go can now get a piping-hot pizza in less than three minutes.

Pecan Pie, Texas

istockphoto.com

Berdoll Pecan Farm in Cedar Creek, Texas, bakes fresh pecan pies daily, but their pies are so good that they’ve taken some forward-thinking steps to keep up with demand. To meet the 24/7 cravings of their customers, the company has a pecan pie vending machine on the porch of the shop that operates around the clock.

Mashed Potatoes, Singapore

Raw Meat: Alabama and Paris

istockphoto.com

Live Lobsters: U.S.A.

istockphoto.com

Sometimes food just tastes better when you catch it yourself — at least that’s the premise of live lobster vending machines that allowed users to “catch” their dinner before eating it. The game took off in Florida but ironically didn’t meet the same success in New England.

Live Crabs: China

A lucky few in China can get their crab on the go. Shanghai hairy crab, a Chinese delicacy, is dispensed live from vending machines in Nanjing, China. Those poor crabs!

Growing Lettuce: Japan

Taking the idea of urban agriculture to a new level, vending machines in Japan use light bulbs and "nutri-culture" beds to actually grow lettuce inside the machines. A crazy idea, or a local food revolution? Either way, it’s our pick for the oddest vending machine in the world.

Live Bait: U.S.A.

You get up at the crack of dawn to go fishing, only to realize you don’t have live bait. What do you do? Leave it to Americans to solve that problem with around-the-clock vending machines serving up live bait. The bait is frozen alive for freshness.

Whole Flying Fish: Japan

istockphoto.com

The Daily Meal recently reported on the latest vending machine to hit Japan’s streets, which sells a whole fish. Even the presentation of this one is strange: It is dispensed in a bottle that contains a whole fried fish along with 500 milliliters of flying fish soup stock.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

[image url="http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4afb48630000000000fa695f/image.jpg" link="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-worlds-most-insane-vending-machines-2009-11/fresh-french-fries-1" caption="" source="" align="left" size="xlarge" nocrop="true" clear="true"]
In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.


The World's Wackiest Vending Machines

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In the US, typically, it’s hard to get too excited about vending machines. You’ve got your cans of cola, bagged chips, maybe some candy and that’s about it.

But overseas, vending machines are much, much bigger deal. Of course, Japan is the most famous for its many-splendored vending machines, which sell way more than green tea.

There’s no obvious explanation for why vending machines took off in Japan, though there are theories, such as this from This.org:

The big surge in them started with the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when millions of people needed to be served food and other goods, but since then the range of products and number of machines has dramatically expanded. One theory is that the Japanese corporate work ethic means that many white-collar workers — known as “salarymen” — go home very late at night, often after sake-drinking marathons with colleagues (hence the cut flowers and beautifully gift-wrapped sweets in many jidoohanbaiki peace-offerings to bring home to an irritated spouse). And to serve a population as large as Japan’s — 127 million — it’s essential to have easy, 24-hour availability. And the famously modest Japanese prefer buying certain products (tampons, condoms, pornography) from a machine rather than facing a sales clerk.

Culturally, too, the obsession with vending machines fit in nicely for the country that invented the square watermelon, has a well-known robot fetish, and which also struggles with an epidemic of loneliness and alienation.

The good news, though, is that America may finally be catching up. The above picture is from the BAMN Automat on St. Marks Place in NYC. There you can get hot dogs, peanut, butter & jelly sandwiches, and other gluttonous delights.

Meanwhile, RedBox, which owns DVD-vending machines around the country is becoming a true force in the movie industry. And in airports, you’ll frequently see vending machines that sell iPods.

Ironically, part of the appeal to vending machines is that they offer a lack of choice, a concept that should be familiar to anyone who has read Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.

NYT: Limited choice is evidently part of the appeal. In the venture’s early days, Lowe says, redbox actually experimented with different models, offering wider selections, including classic and foreign films (because the kiosks can hold 600 discs). “What we found,” he says, “is that today there are so many choices out there, consumers are really looking for some help and guidance.”

Between this phenomenon, the desire to cut spiraling labour costs (no health insurance mandate for a machine!) and a greater curiosity in the general public, expect vending machines to explode here over the coming year.