As the holidays approach, I feel a mixture of excitement and dread. For as much as I love the numerous social gatherings that accompany them, there is also a lot more on my to-do lists for the next month. It’s times like these that I crave 24-hour conveniences.
The Internet has certainly alleviated some stress by allowing me to shop at any time, day or night, from the comfort of my own home. But what about those cool boutiques that only sell their awesome products in the real world? I was in Chicago on the weekend and was thrilled to find that I can now indulge in my Sprinkles Cupcakes obsession whenever I want, thanks to their ingenious cupcake ATM. Simply make your selection on the touch screen, swipe a credit card, and pick up your individually boxed treat. Sweet!
Image: Stephen Fowler via blogTO
Then yesterday, a friend posted a story on Facebook about the The Monkey’s Paw in Toronto. Owner Stephen Fowler recently installed his custom-made Biblio-Mat, a machine that dispenses a random book in exchange for $2. It reminds me of those vending machines at the grocery store when I was I kid, the ones filled with plastic globes that each contained a small toy. I used to beg my mom for a quarter in hopes that my little prize would contain something fun. It may not be available outside of the store’s regular hours but it’s pretty darn cool.
North America has been slow to build vending machines for more than the standard sodas and candy bars. But in Japan, it seems that just about everything can be purchased from curbside machines.
Image: Farm & Agriculture
Have you ever stumbled home from your local watering hole after one too many beers, wishing you could have a greasy fry-up, only to come home to an egg-free fridge? No problem in Japan- just grab a dozen at the local vending machine (and make sure not to drop them in your drunken haze).
Image: Itsuo Inouye, Associated Press, via Chron
No one likes to have to bathe their dog but what if you can’t make it to the groomer during normal hours? Just drop by your neighbourhood pet washing centre and pop your pup in the machine, which bills itself as a “hydromassage cabin for washing and drying dogs and cats.” I don’t know about your furry friends but I figure that my cats would pee in every shoe I own as payback for this “spa treatment.”
And is there any bigger hassle in life than trying to negotiate with a car salesman for a new vehicle? If you want a smart car in Asia, you can just pick up one from a vending machine. But I hate to think how long it would take to put in all those quarters!
What products would you like to see sold in vending machines where you live?