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April 21, 2022

The World’s Most Unusual Vending Machines


Did you know that there are close to 7 million vending machines in the United States today? That might sound like a lot, but the United States is so expansive, that if you don’t live in or near a big city you may not see a wide variety of vending machines. Even if you do live in a metropolitan area, you most likely see the typical, ordinary snack and soda machines. Many other countries around the world however, have many more creative uses for vending machines.

Japan definitely has the most out of-the-box ideas when it comes to vending machines. In its major cities you will find vending machines of all sorts on every block!  For example, in Tokyo, if you have a craving for live crabs, you can just pick some up from the closest vending machine! (If you’re reading this from the U.S. (and more specifically from the mid-atlantic region where Maryland crabs are plentiful), imagine an add-on option for a packet of Old Bay! Yum!) If you want an adult beverage to go with your crabs, just stop at the nearest beer vending machine to quench your thirst. In fact, in Japan, you can find vending machines selling just about anything, from diapers to women’s USED underwear.  One machine you may find particularly disconcerting is the puppy claw machine… yup you can buy a live puppy out of a machine! Yikes!

Another incredibly unique vending machine, found in Dubai is completely covered in gold. It’s protected by armed guards all day and night! It’s an ATM that allows you to purchase your choice of 24-karat gold coins and/or bars using cash or cashless options. They even provide a money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Something you can get in Europe but not in most of the United States is raw milk from a vending machine. (Only a few states in the US allow the sale of raw milk.)  All you have to do is fill up your own jug. You can think of it as the modern way of milking a cow!

In Italy you can buy your very own personal pizza right on the street, made from scratch! Yes that’s right, these aren’t plastic-covered frozen pizzas thrown into a microwave. Nor do you have to wait at a traditional pizzeria for a half hour for your fresh pizza pie. Instead, in just 3 minutes, this ingenious machine freshly creates and bakes the pizza of your choice. That’s about the same amount of time it would take to buy prepackaged snacks from a traditional vending machine.  

Speaking of fast, what’s faster than a fast food restaurant? A fast food vending machine! In Amsterdam FEBO is a popular chain that dispenses your food out of a vending machine. Some of the most popular items include croquettes stuffed with beef or veal. And everything cost less than $10. What a bargain!

In Singapore, you can find book vending machines. The owner and originator of this novel (pardon the pun) way of sharing literature was looking for a way to promote Singapore literature, stocking the machine primarily with work from local publishers and authors.  The vending machines offer a variety of different options, from children’s novels to graphic novels to poetry collections.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless as to what vending machines are capable of dispensing. Get creative and see what you can dream up.  We will be here to help! Optimal Station offers a wide variety of Stations to choose from, working closely with you to bring your original concept to reality! If you have a great idea and want to start a new business or want to level up your existing business, let our experience and expertise guide you.

Optimal Station is currently holding a contest on LinkedIn to give away a FREE VENDING MACHINE that ends on August 4th, 2020 at 6 pm.

The rules are easy and simple! Click here to enter.

  1. You must be following us on LinkedIn
  2. Like the original post
  3. Comment with what you would do with the vending machine

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