The first modern coin-operating vending machine was used to dispense post cards and was introduced in England during the early 1880’s. Today almost everything can be sold at vending machines. The Japanese are renowned for having lots of vending machines for almost every need. Vending machines are popular all around the world and some sell something else than snacks and drinks.
Photo source: Nailmatic
1. Live Crab – China
In 2010 Shi Tuanjie, chairman of the Gaochun Double Lake Crab Company, installed a vending machine with live crabs at a main subway station in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. The crabs were kept at a temperature of 5-10° C to preserve them in a dormant state. It is not known why the next year Shi Tuanjie didn’t restock the Nanjing vending machine.
This year in September, the vending machine stocked with live crabs re-appeared on a street in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province. The owner, Mr Liu, who bought it from the original owner, declared he is very confident that the vending machine will boost his crab store’s brand.
2. Caviar – USA
Beverly Hills Caviar, a renowned luxury food concierge service in California, has opened three caviar vendingmachines to fulfill its clients’ needs. No matter whether we speak about a luxury gift (customers have the possibility to fully customize a caviar gift from the machines), or about a hopeless gourmand, the vending machines have a generous offer of the world’s finest selection of Caviar, Bottarga, Blinis, oils, Truffles, Escargot, gourmet salts, Mother of Pearl plates and spoons. The prices are also diverse, and can range from $50 to $5,000.
Photo source: Beverly Hills Caviar
3. Nail polish – France
The idea of selling nail polish through vending machines belongs to French entrepreneurs Boris Gratini and Lilian Monnier. The two wanted to get closer to the world of fashion through a quality product, made in France and easily accessible to the public. In November 2012, they launched the first prototype of the Nailmatic nail polish vending machine. Today the vending machines can be found in five locations around Paris. Customers have the opportunity to choose from 63 different shades of nail polish for €5 (or around $7) each.
4. Fold-up shoes – UK
High heels are sexy, but in many cases they cause pain. Back in 2008, Matt Horan was suffering along with his girlfriend every time they were returning from a fun night, because he was the one that had to give her a piggyback home. One of those nights he came up with the idea to sell soft shoes that can be rolled up to fit inside a purse. The most innovative part was actually the way of selling them, via vending machines located near clubs. Since then, Matt’s flats gained amazing popularity in UK, and conquered the US and Australian market. A pair of Rollasoles costs $20.
Photo source: Rollasole
5. Art – USA
Over 100 Art-o-mat® machines are spread all over USA. These vending machines were once used to sell cigarettes, but thanks to artist Clark Whittington today they have been converted to vend art. The first banned cigarette machine was used to sell 12 Clark’s paintings, in June 1997. Since then, around 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries have joined the Art-o-mat® project. The works sell for around $5.
What would you like to buy from a vending machine?
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