The person who thought of the vending machine is a genius for 2 simple reasons: you don’t need to hire personnel to man a vending machine like you would a store, and this keeps things in stock and available for the masses, 24/7. While most of the vending machines you are used to would dispense coffee, soft drinks, packaged food and snacks, these days we can find a lot more variety being offered.
Whether it is for convenience, or practicality, or to drive a concept or an idea home, here are 40 things you probably don’t expect to find in a vending machine, but now can.
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Live Crabs. Who would have thought that we’d see the day when crabs can be made available in vending machines. And they are alive! Grab one on the go if you are in China.
(Image source: The Atlantic)
Ice cream. I scream, you scream, we scream for ice cream in a machine. This one is from Japan but you might have come across the ones from Ben and Jerry’s.
(Image source: Wikimedia)
Pizza (cooked). Want to get a steaming hot 9-inch pizza within 3 minutes? Then, keep a lookout for a Let’s Pizza vending machine. Most of these can be found around Europe and lately in America.
(Image source: Aol)
T-shirts. If you are a fan of Uniqlo T-shirts, this vending machine in Harajuku, Japan dispenses the whole line via vending machines. Shame it’s no longer there, though.
(Image source: Wired)
Noodles. Instant cup noodles aren’t the healthiest of snacks but if you still have a hankering for ramen or udon, this particular machine in Japan dispenses a hot bowl of these noodles complete with meat and veggies. Yummy!
(Image source: Techeblog)
Baguettes. Get fresh baguettes 24/7 with this particular vending machine, thought up by French baker Jean-Louis Hecht who got fed up with his customers knocking on his door on all hours of the day (and night) to get their hands on his delicious baguettes.
(Image source: Yahoo)
Guitar strings. For when you are on your way to a night gig and realize that your guitar needs a fix. It also dispenses guitar picks and drum sticks. This machine resides in Portland, Oregon.
(Image source: The Beer Chaser)
Bike parts. Cyclists will love this particular machine as it dispenses bike parts to replace the ones that broke in yours. You can also get your punctured tyre pumped or grab a quick snack. It first appeared in Brooklyn, New York.
(Image source: Pop-Up City)
Cupcakes. Satisfy your sudden midnight sweet tooth cravings with this heaven-sent machine by Sprinkles Cupcakes. The machines can be found in New York, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas.
(Image source: New York Post)
Burgers. It’s official, fast food cannot get any faster than this machine in the Netherlands. If you prefer having your burger being cooked though, you can try Japan’s burger vending machine.
(Image source: Complex)
Bananas. When this vending machine first came out in Japan, people went bananas over them. I’d go bananas if I see this machine too.
(Image source: Tofugu)
Eggs. This vending machine is found in the mountains of the Northern Hyogo Prefecture, Japan and is the perfect way to keep eggs fresh and readily available for the residents there, 24/7.
(Image source: Tofugu)
Salad. Healthy and goodness, in a salad, in a jar, in a vending machine. Not all vending machines dispenses fast food. While we’re on the subject…
(Image source: Daily Mail)
Caviar. Ain’t nobody got time to dress up, fight for reservations, and light candles for some fine gourmet dining no more. Want some roe? Just grab them from the machine and go. More commonly found in upper scale neighborhoods in LA.
(Image source: NBC News)
LEGO. Is there a reason why this is only found in Germany’s train stations? LEGO has some explaining to do.
(Image source: i am bored)
DIY Toys. A project built by development specialists Squibbles Ink and toy store Rotofugi, this DIY machine in Chicago allows you to make your own toy.
(Image source: PSFK)
Rice. Being the staple food of the Japanese people, this machine makes sense. Why isn’t this machine found in more rice-loving Asian countries?
(Image source: The Wiki Gullet Project)
Fantastic Delites. Love Fantastic Delites crackers? This guerrilla marketing tactic dispenses the snack for free, if you would do the things the machine tells you to do. Check out how the public reacted in this video.
(Image source: Coloribus)
Fresh Lettuce. Lettuce doesn’t get fresher than this, in this machine in Japan that is. Perhaps this will help encourage more people to eat their greens rather than falling back on processed foods… naah!
(Image source: Huffington Post)
Pet Food. In order to feed its stray dogs and cats population, Istanbul came up with this vending machine. You slot in an empty plastic water bottle and it’ll dispense food at the bottom for strays.
(Image source: EarthPorm)
Wine. If there are vending machines that dispenses beer, why not wine? Now everyone can get their booze, pronto. Pennslyvania first introduced this machine in America in 2010.
(Image source: Daily Mail)
Mashed potatoes. Singaporeans probably loved their tay-toes, mashed and available on the go. Why else would this machine exist?
(Image source: The Huffington Post)
Pies. Yes, you heard right. Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company’s vending machine at Cedar Creek, Texas dispenses entire honest-to-goodness Pecan pies.
(Image source: Team Hall & Nass)
Umbrellas. Never be caught out in sudden rain again. Just grab an umbrella from this machine and off you go to your next destination. This vending machine is placed around Hong Kong.
(Image source: Calvin-C)
Condoms. If you aren’t a fan of getting condoms from a supermarket aisle or a pharmacy, this is the perfect solution like this machine that resides outside an Italian pharmacy. Now, there is no reason why you can’t practice safe sex.
(Image source: Wikipedia)
Socks. This machine is a must have for all bowling alleys. And the socks should be as cute as these ones from South Korea. (P. S. We hate Mondays too!)
(Image source: DramaFever)
Shoes. You never know when the bottom of your sole may break under your constant jogs, so being able to just dump the old pair and grab a new pair from this Onitsuka Tiger machine in Carnaby Street, London is a great idea.
(Image source: Hypebeast)
Flip flops. Broke a heel? Overdressed for the beach? Just love walking around in flip flops? This Havaianas flip flop dispensing machine got you covered, in Australia, Europe and Indonesia.
(Image source: summersinhavaianas)
Jeans. If you are a fan of the Italian brand, this is great for getting an exact replacement of the jeans you love. I said exact because you can’t return purchased jeans once they’re out of the machine.
(Image source: Annytime)
Books. This is a bookstore masquerading as a vending machine – a novel idea indeed. If you are going to be stuck in the airport at the UK or Australia for a while, why not grab a book?
(Image source: Daily News)
Used Books. A great idea to promote reading, pick up a book from this machine in Canada or drop in one of your own. It’s better than leaving them on your mantelpiece, collecting dust.
(Image source: Oddee)
Skincare Products. If you can get it via the store or via the shopping network, why not from a vending machine, right? Keep a lookout for them at any American airport.
(Image source: Wikipedia)
Makeup. You might have come across a few of these in American airports, since Sephora introduced them in 2010. They are a boon for the female traveller in need of a touch-up.
(Image source: Imgarcade)
Baby Essentials. Forgetful parents who forget to pack their little one’s diapers (or any other essentials like pacifiers, baby wipes, lotion, powder, etc.) will consider this vending machine a lifesaver. This machine was spotted in Seaworld, Florida.
(Image source: Strangely Blogging)
Envelopes. Not a fan of sending emails? Go old school with envelopes in these vending machines found in Taiwan – stamps included!
(Image source: midori-japan)
Bicycle-For-Rent. Trust the bike-loving Dutch to come up with this very convenient means of transport. The machine allows you to rent the bike from one end and return it at another machine.
(Image source: Gizmodo)
Gold. Yes, this is a gold ATM, you know, a machine that dispenses gold instead of cash. The vending machine comes with security measures to prevent robbery, and money laundering. These extremely valuable machines can be found in New York, Las Vegas, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lisboa, Mendrisio, and Tirol.
(Image source: Gold to Go)
Last Minute Gifts. Found at the JFK airport in New York, this one is very handy for super-last minute shopping right before you board your flight. Grab items from branded sunglasses and scarfs to cameras and even Beats headphones.
(Image source: BK Vixen Gone MD)
Marijuana. Now before you all get excited over the possibility of smoking pot easily, you need one thing to purchase the weed in this machine: a doctor’s prescription. Also they are only available at certain states where medical marijuana is legal like California and Colorado as well as Canada.
(Image source: Vancouver 24 hrs)
Everything You Can Find In A Convenience Store. Because, why not?
(Image source: VendTrade)
What items do you find in the vending machines where you live? Tell us in the comments below.