From Pizzas to Girlfriends.
Vending machines are amazing when we are creative enough to utilise its unlimited potentials. But how far is too far? Let’s take a look at what the world has to offer.
[London] While we wish someday we could just buy Tiffany on a vending machine, it might be too high of a risk for luxury brands. Though we still have a taste of what luxury is like in a vending machine with Tiffany’s perfumes.
[Japan] Vending machines in Hiroshima are selling Margarita and Four-cheese pizzas to serve local movie buffs. In just a couple of minutes, you will have a hot tasty pizza with thick cardboard tray, utensils and slicers all at your disposal. Itadakimasu!
[US] A hair weave vending machine appeared in a station in DC. I guess one will need hair when one is short of some. While this might serve some real urgent needs, it might not be the most helpful as you can’t touch it before purchase.
4. Down Jackets
[US] A very handy purchase at the SFO airport when you forgot to bring the additional layer during chilly seasons. It will be a little difficult to drop one fully aired but when compressed, they surely are perfectly sized for vending machines. Roast it if you will, but it’s surely earning some coins according to news sources.
5. Tomorrow’s Pre-made Dinner
[Hong Kong] No we are not talking about Deliveroo or any food delivery. Chinese food, particularly Cantonese food, is all about freshness that’s why home-cooked meals always trump takeouts. In some vending machines in Hong Kong, you can order the dishes you want to cook tomorrow, and all the ingredients will be purchased, washed, cut and delivered to your doorstep, with recipes and all sauces and garnishes needed. Working overtime and still want fresh ingredients for your home cooked meal? No problemo.
6. Your Trash
[South Africa] No the machine isn’t giving you trash but instead, it eats yours. Woolworths introduced recycling vending machines in its outlets to minimise packaging waste. The machine takes coffee cups with barcodes, glass, tin containers, plastic bottles, and containers as well.
[China] While it might be slightly bigger than usual and the goodies don’t quite “drop” as quickly as one would imagine, car vending had happened in places like Shanghai and Guangzhou in China as well as DC in the US. We will probably need to wait for cruise vending for the industry to out-scale this.
8. Washing Machines
[Hong Kong] Not from a purchase but you actually could get a brand new washing machine from Whirlpool during a special event. Unfortunately, there was no amazing “drop” effect from the vending machine itself.
9. Canned Insects
[Japan] I have purposely not posted the original footage to avoid any disturbance for the less strong-hearted. Cooked insects (young bees and grasshoppers) are sold in cans in vending machines in Japan. Those exotic and unique vending products are not the cheapest to try either even if you are adventurous enough (USD$20 for the bees).
10. Girl Friends & Boy Friends
[Taiwan] Cute vending machines in Taiwan are selling personal items from cards, small gifts, scarves and even fully wrapped surprises, each accompanied with the sellers’ photos and contact details. The items might be an afterthought and the main drive would be the contact number to chance yourself with love. Note: though the intention to connect singles is there, the sellers’ relationship statuses remain unchecked.
Gritus — The Smart Vending Startup
Gritus aims to bridge brands and customers, as well as retail technology and the Smart City initiatives in Hong Kong. The startup was formed Feb 2017 and the first official permanent console was placed Sep 2017. The company now has over 30 employees, with over 150 consoles placed in prime locations in Hong Kong.